Our group is interested in understanding the functioning of aquatic ecosystems and how that functioning can be effected by man or can affect man. We focus much of our efforts investigating the organisms at the base of aquatic food webs, phytoplankton, and have been particularly focused on harmful algae. We investigate harmful algal blooms (HABs) caused by multiple classes of phytoplankton (cyanobacteria, dinoflagellates, diatoms, pelagophytes) in diverse ecosystems (e.g. estuaries, lakes, coastal ocean) using a multiple methods (field, laboratory, experimental, molecular). In many cases, we explore how gene presence and expression may facilitate the onset and demise of HAB events. We also explore how community diversity changes over the course of blooms. These molecular studies of HABs coupled with other approaches have collectively identified how nutrient regulation of growth, zooplankton grazing, viral lysis, allelopathy and grazing by bivalves influence the dynamics of HABs caused by genera such as Alexandrium, Aureococcus, Aureoumbra, Cochlodinium, Dinophysis, Microcystis, and Pseuodonitzschia.
A second research focus within our laboratory is climate change and coastal ocean acidification. The combustion of fossil fuels has enriched levels of CO2 in the world’s oceans and decreased ocean pH. The degradation of anthropogenically enriched organic matter levels in coastal ecosystems can have a similar effect on ocean chemistry today. The continuation of these processes can alter the growth, survival, and diversity of marine organisms. Within this realm, we have been engaged in studies that are investigating how future and current coastal ocean acidification effects the survival and performance of algae and larvae from bivalves and fish indigenous to North America. We further strive to understand how co-occurring stressors related to both climate change and shallow coastal ecosystems (hypoxia, thermal stress) affect the performance of marine animals.
A third area of interest of my lab group is the understanding the ecological functioning and trophic status of shallow marine ecosystems. We investigate how anthropogenic activities such as eutrophication and the depletion of fisheries may alter the natural biogeochemical and/or ecological functioning of coastal ecosystems. In many cases, we have explored the quantitative importance and impacts of various nitrogen loading pathways on primary producers or the interactions and feedbacks among nutrient delivery pathways, pelagic phytoplankton communities, benthic filter feeders, and benthic autotrophs such as seagrass. All of these studies have important societal impacts and relevance for the management of shallow, coastal ecosystems. Many of these project are part of the lab’s Long Island Coastal Conservation andResearch Alliance program and the Shinnecock Bay Restoration Program.
Current Lab Members
Dr. Christopher J. Gobler ~ Principal Investigator
Dr. Dianna Berry ~ Research Scientist
Dr. Theresa Hattenrath-Lehmann ~ Post-doctoral Scholar
Matt Harke ~ Ph.D. Candidate
Ryan Wallace ~ Ph.D. Candidate
Yoonja Kang ~ Ph.D. Candidate
Andrew Griffith ~ Ph.D. Candidate
Lucas Merlo - Graduate student
Alexandra Stevens ~ Graduate student
Craig Young ~ Graduate student
Jennifer Jankowiak ~ Graduate student
Isabelle Stinnette ~ Research Technician
Jen Goleski ~ Research Technician
Mark Lusty ~ Research Technician
Heidi Mittelsdorf ~ Research Technician
Eileen Goldsmith ~ Staff Assistant
Former Lab Members
Dr. Timothy Davis - Research Scientist, NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research laboratory
Dr. Yingzhong Tang - Professor, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Institute of Oceanology
Dr. Florian Koch - Postdoctoral Scholar, Alfred Wegener Institute, Bremen,Germany
Dr. M. Alejandra Marcoval - Research Scientist, Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata, Argentina
Dr. Stephanie Talmage Forsberg - Research Instructor, Hampton Bays High School
Dr. Chuck Wall - Postdorctoral Scholar, Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium
Link to my Google Scholar page with current publication and citation information
The Long Island Coastal Conservation and Research Alliance (LICCRA) was founded by Dr. Gobler and The Tamarind Fondation in 2003 to conduct research which will assist in protecting and restoring Long Island coastal ecosystems.
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