My research focuses on the confluence of ecosystem energetics and benthic community ecology, specifically, the effects of ecosystem engineers (like benthic macrophytes, or sessile invertebrates) on local community dynamics. My dissertation research uses a combination of in situ manipulative experiments and biomarkers to try to understand the influence of eelgrass on benthic suspension feeders under a range of conditions. I tend towards place-based ecology, which often leads into interesting forays in other aspects of local ecosystems like drivers of pH variability, controls on food availability, and interactions among non-target species (like people).
Ongoing projects are investigating the interplay of nutritional condition with environmental stressors to 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 with morphological and physiological (fatty acid composition) analyses of oyster performance. One factor being investigated is the effect of habitat-modifying macrophytes (eelgrass, Zostera marina, specifically) on the environmental elements determining the health of these oysters. Stay tuned for updates!
See the collaborations page for other ongoing projects!