Research

MarineGEO – Smithsonian Institution

The Smithsonian’s MarineGEO project is the first global network focusing on long-term monitoring and experimentation of coastal biodiversity. We are currently working with partners in North and Central America, Oceania, and Asia to generate and open-access data set of long-term measurements and coordinated experiments aimed at uncovering processes that modify and are modified in turn by communities of marine organisms. We are currently developing a project called Ocean Bitemap that will describe global patterns of top-down control in many common marine habitats.


Seagrass Metacommunities – University of British Columbia

The assembly and persistence of ecological communities is a phenomenon that occurs across large spatial and temporal scales. However, the relative effects of regional versus local processes on community structure are not well understood in marine ecosystems. In order to understand how scale can alter processes that drive variation in community assembly it is necessary to determine patterns of diversity across multiple scales. Here, myself and members of the O’Connor Lab at University of British Columbia used invertebrate epifaunal communities in the foundation species Zostera marina to test:
  1. whether this marine community exhibits meadow-scale variability through time, and
  2. whether we can identify patterns of connectivity and diversity within and among meadows in the same region.
We found that seagrass epifaunal communities are variable in terms of their rarefied richness, alpha and beta diversity, and evenness among meadows. In addition, differences in these metrics were detected over the course of a summer season.

Kelp Subsidies and Sea Urchins – University of Washington

 

Do sea urchins migrate? Sea urchins in the San Juan Archipelago enjoy a bountiful supply of detrital kelp (their favorite food), that is delivered to them by strong tidal currents. Aging kelp is stripped from the live kelp thallus and blown across the benthos for consumption. It’s like home delivery for urchins. We wanted to know if the urchins of the San Juans moved from shallow waters to deeper waters, following the supply of kelp on a seasonal basis and how that might impact the surrounding community. To find the answer see our published work here in Marine Ecology.