My research focuses on a variety of problems in biological oceanography and zooplankton ecology, particularly those related to how climate-driven environmental change interacts with biological processes to control zooplankton biogeography, diversity, community structure, and abundance. Interactions between the environment and zooplankton population structure, behavior (e.g., diel vertical migration), and growth ultimately control ecosystems including fish and other upper trophic level organisms. I work on these interdisciplinary projects using a combination of field collections, laboratory experiments, satellite data and collaboration with modelers.
Current research projects:
- Impacts of ocean acidification on early life stages of crustacean zooplankton. click here for more info.
- Collaborating with NOAA/NWFSC (P. McElhany and S. Busch) to measure the interacting effects of pH, temperature, and oxygen levels (hypoxia) on the distribution and development of zooplankton and the resultant impacts on trophic webs.
- Read about Karissa Lear's JISAO undergraduate internship project and watch a short video on her work! Karissa's page
- Consequences of hypoxia to food web linkages in a pelagic marine ecosystem
- In collaboration with T. Essington, J. Horne, and S. Parker-Stetter (UW School of Fisheries), we are starting a new NSF-funded project to examine the effect of hypoxia on species composition, distributions, and predator-prey interactions between zooplankton and fish by combining acoustics and direct (net) sampling with bioenergetic modeling of energy flow. We will link observed distributional and compositional shifts in mesozooplankton and fish to pelagic food web energy flux. click here for the project summary from the NSF proposal
- Seasonal and interannual variability in zooplankton community composition in the Strait of Juan de Fuca / Puget Sound ecosystem:
- Using a time series of sampling that has been conducted by the UW PRISM group and the Washington Department of Ecology, I am examining the primary environmental factors that correlate with changes in species composition of zooplankton in the Strait of Juan de Fuca/Puget Sound ecosystem. click here for a talk presented at the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (for presenter notes, scroll over top left corner of most slides)
- Climate effects on zooplankton community composition and biomass in the northern California Current System.
- Funded by NSF through the US GLOBEC program, a multi-disciplinary group of PIs and international collaborators (in Canada, Japan, and Chile) are studying climate influences on large-scale and regional ecosystem variability around the Pacific Ocean basin using a combination of circulation models, time series of in situ observations, and remote sensing. click here for more info
- Modifying the molt-rate method of estimating stage-specific copepod growth rates.
- Collaborating with Andrew Hirst (University of London) to develop and test a realistic method to measure copepod growth in the field. In summer 2010, we developed the new method and used it to measure stage C5 Calanus pacificus growth in Puget Sound. Manuscript in preparation for MEPS (Hirst, Keister, and 7 others).
Recently completed projects:
- Effects of near-bottom hypoxia on distribution and abundance of fish and zooplankton: implications for predator-prey interactions and the energy flow from zooplankton to fish.
- In collaboration with John Horne, Sandy Parker-Stetter (UW School of Fisheries), and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), we conducted field surveys of fish and zooplankton using acoustics, zooplankton net tows, and purse seining in Lower Hood Canal, Puget Sound to examine the effect of chronic low dissolved oxygen concentrations on species composition and distributions of organisms. Manuscript coming soon! click here for a poster presented at the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference
- Effects of Washington continental shelf methane bubble plumes on aggregation and vertical distribution of euphausiids.
- Using a combination of acoustics, ROV cameras, and zooplankton nets to study aggregations of euphausiids observed around bubble plumes. Manuscript on bubble movement published in Geosphere by undergraduate researcher Marie Salmi (congratulations Marie!).
- Effects of mesoscale circulation on cross-shelf distribution of zooplankton and carbon cycling in the California Current System.