Research: Marine populations and communities in the deep sea.
My general interest lies in the extrinsic controls on the development of marine communities and specific characteristics that enable survivorship of population in extreme habitats. I collaborate widely across many disciplines from geophysics to molecular biology. We collect data through deep ocean expeditions using remotely operated vehicles and through other types of advanced technologies:
The primary area of research is the ecology of unusual deep-water ecosystems such as hydrothermal vents and subsea volcanoes. Past work has included exploration of Juan de Fuca Ridge and description of major ecological features of community structure. We continue to use elements of this system to understand community maintenance and responses to extreme events. Over the last 25 years, the lab has discovered over 75 new species that have led to publications by systematists.
More recent work includes the role of western Pacific volcanic arc systems in the diversity and adaptations of vent animals. Our study systems have included mussels in acid waters, dense populations of new flatfish species, and shrimp inhabiting an erupting volcano.
Data collection comes through sampling in difficult environments to interpret population characteristics or community composition and biogeography. Collaborations with molecular researchers has supported several population genetics and phylogenetic studies on hydrothermal vent animals.
Over the last decade, I developed the cabled observatory VENUS, that supports arrays of instruments in Saanich Inlet and Strait of Georgia in the Salish Sea. The observatory serves research around the world including our lab where we focus on organism responses to hypoxia and pelagic-benthic interactions.
Teaching: Marine Ecology. Each year I offer a course in ecological principles using marine benthic systems as examples. With ocean ecosystems under increasing threats from human activities, we also address ocean issues and ecological approaches.