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Christopher J. Gobler


Ph.D., 1999, Stony Brook University

Coastal ecosystem ecology, climate change, harmful algal blooms, phytoplankton, ocean acidification, effects of multiple stressors on coastal marine resources, aquatic biogeochemistry

Gobler Laboratory page



Research Interests

Research conducted by my lab group focuses on plankton ecology. We are broadly interested in factors which promote phytoplankton growth (organic and inorganic nutrients), as well as factors which are responsible for algal mortality (zooplankton, viruses, filter-feeding bivalves) in diverse aquatic ecosystems including estuaries, the Great Lakes, and the North Atlantic Ocean. A primary focus of my lab within the field of plankton ecology has been the study of harmful algal blooms (HABs), having investigated blooms of brown tide (Aureococcus), cyanobacteria (Microcystis, Anabaena, Synechococcus), dinoflagellates (Cochlodinium, Alexandrium, Gymnodinium, Prorocentrum), and raphidophytes (Heterosigma) both locally and around the US. Our research is largely field-oriented and utilizes traditional, molecular, and experimental techniques to contrast the dynamics and ecological niche of HAB species with those of co-occurring non-harmful species.

Another research focus within my laboratory is on the ecological functioning and trophic status of estuaries. Estuaries represent some of the most productive, biodiverse, and important ecosystems on earth. However, with half of the US population, 90% of New York State counties, and 100% of Long Island townships being located on coastal water ways, a series of environmental problems have arisen in these systems in recent decades. My lab group is engaged in research aimed toward understanding how anthropogenic activities such as eutrophication, overharvesting of fisheries, and salt marsh / shoreline modification may alter the natural biogeochemical and/or ecological functioning of estuarine ecosystems.

A final area of interest of my lab is how phytoplankton influence biogeochemical cycles of organic carbon, nutrients, and trace metals in aquatic ecosystems. Photosynthetic fixation of elements into cellular material by phytoplankton is the primary source of organic matter to the world’s oceans. The synthesis and subsequent processing of this organic matter can have a substantial impact on nutrient cycles, microbial food webs, trace metal availability, the global carbon cycle and global warming. As such, our research in this area is focused on documenting and quantifying biogeochemical processes associated with the production and release of various elements and organic matter by phytoplankton.


Complete Publications List on Google Scholar

Vax to Flax 2016

The 2016 Vax to Flax Run was held on Saturday April 30th on a beautiful sunny day. The race course followed the Vax-to-Vax format (seen on the right) where the race starts at SoMAS and travels clockwise around Circle Drive to return back to SoMAS. Seven faculty and post docs raced against eleven students. As has been the recent tradition, the faculty times overall beat the student times.

SoMAS Professor Christopher Gobler wins national honor

From Stony Brook researcher Christopher Gobler wins national honor (Newsday, April 26, 2016) by Rachel Uda The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is honoring Stony Brook University Professor Christopher Gobler for his research on Long Island’s water quality...

SoMAS Alumni Reunite at 2016 Ocean Sciences Meeting in New Orleans

SoMAS faculty and alumni attending the 2016 Ocean Sciences Meeting in New Orleans gathered for an alumni reunion. Professors Gordon Taylor and Mary Scranton organized the event and invited SoMAS alumni present at the conference to reunite.  Other SoMAS faculty in...

Gobler Lab Set To Launch Georgica Pond Research Project

Toxic algae blooms are among the most serious health risks in East Hampton pond From Lauren Sheprow at the Stony Brook Newsroom EAST HAMPTON, N.Y., May 20, 2015 – Stony Brook University has partnered with a group of homeowners from the Georgica Pond community,...

Flax to Vax 2015

The Annual SoMAS tradition that puts Students against Faculty took place on Saturday, April 25th. The course this year followed the same path as last year, starting at SoMAS (former home of the Vax computer system) and circling around campus around Circle Drive to...

Turning Brown Tide Blue – Clams for Clams Event July 11, 2014

On Friday, July 11th the Stony Brook Foundation will be hosting a cocktail reception at the picturesque Marine Sciences Center located at the Stony Brook University’s Southampton campus. The event is to raise funds as well as public awareness toward the many problems facing Shinnecock Bay and what Stony Brook University scientists are doing to combat them.

Faculty defeat students in 20-something Annual Flax-to-Vax Road Race

By Chris Gobler Since ~1990, SoMAS (formerly MSRC) has gone through an annual, spring rite of passage: The Flax-to-Vax road race. Through the years, it has been Flax-to-Vax, Vax-to-Flax, and this year, Vax-to-Vax, but it has always been fun. Participation has waned in...
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