The Biogeochemistry Team investigates the interaction between biogeochemistry and the structures and dynamics of aquatic ecosystems. This is done by working to understand the factors that regulate the cycling of nutrients and the growth of phytoplankton in the water column of coastal marine environments. Comparative approaches are used and we also seek to understand how the structures and dynamics of aquatic systems may vary or remain largely conserved across broad gradients in geographical or environmental settings.
The primary objectives of the Ecophysiological Team are to determine the suborganismal mechanisms that underlie the ecological responses of intertidal species to their physical and biological environments. Factors of interest include (nutritional status, temperature effects, wave exposure and predator-prey interactions). We utilize molecular and physiological tools, such as the growth and the stress responses, quantified using the RNA:DNA ratio and heat shock protein (Hsp) responses, respectively. For example, experiments are being carried out both in the field and the laboratory to compare the physiological growth rates of mussels (Mytilus californianus and M. trossulus) exposed to different levels of food availability (chlorophyll- a). Additionally we are looking at the response of both predator (Pisaster ochraceus) and prey species (M. californianus) to heat stress at different zones in the intertidal.