My dissertation research used a combination of in situ manipulative experiments, trophic biomarkers and environmental monitoring to understand the influence of autotrophic foundation species on benthic suspension-feeders under differing environmental conditions. In other words I studied oysters, and how they are affected by eelgrass under a changing environment (Lowe et al. In revision Estuaries and Coasts). This has led to interesting forays into other aspects of local ecosystems like drivers of pH variability (Lowe et al. In revision Scientific Reports), controls on food availability (Ruesink et al. in review PeerJ, Lowe et al. 2016), and interactions among non-target species. During my postdoc I am continuing the work to understand how ecosystem processes control pH variability in coastal systems, and how that relates to other aspects of the ecosystem. I am developing and testing a conceptual model for understanding pH variation across the aquatic continuum through comparative studies of ecological modulation of ocean acidification in the Mid-Atlantic, Panama and the Caribbean, and Antarctica.
Ongoing projects are investigating the interplay of nutritional condition and environmental stressors on native and non-native species of oysters (Ostrea lurida and Crassostrea gigas, respectively). I will combine measurements of environmental parameters including temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen and pH (Horwith and Lowe, in prep) with morphological and physiological (fatty acid composition) analyses of oyster performance. Stay tuned for updates!
See the collaborations page for other ongoing projects!