How do seasonal changes and human activities impact eelgrass meadows?
Eelgrass (Zostera marina) is a marine flowering plant that grows throughout the northern hemisphere. It can be found along the west coast of North America from Baja California to Alaska. Eelgrass provides many important ecosystem services, including coastal storm protection, nutrient cycling, carbon sequestration, and fish habitat. Unfortunately, eelgrass meadows are threatened by a variety of human activities, such as climate change, coastal development, and pollution, and wasting disease which can negatively affect how the ecosystem functions. I strive to understand how human activities will alter eelgrass food web communities over time and how we can mediate those effects through establishing coastal protection.
I am interested in the effect of human impacts on eelgrass community structure and function. As a PhD student, I want to investigate how coastal development, temperature warming, and eelgrass wasting disease alter these communities by addressing the following questions:
1. What drives seasonal changes in epifaunal eelgrass communities?
2. How do human activities alter eelgrass ecosystem functions and community structure?
3. What drives eelgrass microbial colonization? How do microbial communities vary spatially?
4. What role do microbes play in eelgrass wasting disease?
Effects of food web interactions and climate on pCO2 in San Diego reservoirs
The combustion of fossil fuels releases carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. As an ecologist interested in global change, I wanted to determine the role of fresh water food web interactions and temperature on carbon storage.
My master’s thesis focused on how seasonal variation of food web dynamics regulated carbon dioxide flux in three Southern Californian reservoirs (Lakes Poway, Miramar, and Murray). My research was published in PLoS ONE.