Areas of Expertise
Estuarine ecology, water quality, eutrophication, plankton, oysters, monitoring
Florida State University, Biology, BS, 2002
Florida State University, Science Education, BS, 2002
University of Florida, Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, MS, 2006
University of Florida, Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, PhD, 2010
Florida Atlantic University, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, Postdoctoral Associate, 2011-2013
Nikki Dix is the Research Coordinator at the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve (GTM NERR). Her research interests involve understanding how ecosystems respond to natural and anthropogenic change with the intent of informing natural resource management. For her graduate research, Nikki managed the nutrient component of the Research Reserve’s System-Wide Monitoring Program (SWMP) through a contract with the University of Florida. With support from a NOAA Graduate Research Fellowship, Nikki used SWMP data, laboratory-based experiments, and oyster reef sampling to investigate the impacts of hurricanes and eutrophication in the GTM estuary. Nikki then spent two years as a postdoctoral researcher at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute in Ft. Pierce, Florida investigating relationships between phytoplankton and zooplankton in the Indian River Lagoon.
As Research Coordinator at the GTM Research Reserve, Nikki establishes research priorities and oversees the monitoring program in the context of regional, state, and national objectives. Currently, the majority of research efforts are focused on monitoring abiotic (e.g., salinity, temperature, oxygen, rainfall, nutrients) and biotic (e.g., salt marsh vegetation, mangroves, plankton, oysters) parameters within the Reserve to understand how the ecosystem changes over space and time. Nikki also facilitates the research activities of visiting investigators and works to develop collaborations between, scientists, managers, educators, and the public. Some exciting research collaborations include examining the ability of oyster reefs to filter microscopic algae at an ecosystem scale; evaluating the success of oyster and salt marsh habitat restoration; and, determining potential ecosystem impacts of the northern migration of mangroves into salt marsh habitats.
Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation
Southeastern Estuarine Research Society, Member at large
National Shellfisheries Association
Grants and Contracts Awarded
National Estuarine Research Reserve System Science Collaborative Capacity Building Grant, Building capacity to address coastal management issues through collaboration, 2016
National Estuarine Research Reserve System Science Collaborative Research Grant, Re-engineering living shorelines to halt erosion and restore coastal habitat functioning in high-energy environments, 2016-2019
Florida “Save Our Seas” Specialty License Plate Program Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2011-2013
Publications & Presentations
Hart, J., E.J. Phlips, S. Badylak, N. Dix, K. Petrinec, A. Mathews, W. Green, and A. Srifa. 2015. Phytoplankton biomass and composition in a well-flushed, subtropical estuary: the contrasting effects of hydrology, nutrient loads and allochthonous influences. Marine Environmental Research, 112:9-20.
Badylak, S., E.J. Phlips, N. Dix, J. Hart, A. Srifa, D. Haunert, Z. He, J. Lockwood, P. Stofella, D. Sun, and Y. Yang. 2015. Phytoplankton dynamics in a subtropical tidal creek: influences of rainfall and water residence time on composition and biomass. Marine and Freshwater Research, http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/MF14325.
Dix, N. and M.D. Hanisak. 2015. Microzooplankton grazing experiments in the subtropical Indian River Lagoon, Florida challenge assumptions of the dilution technique. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 465:1-10.
Dix, N., E.J. Phlips, and P. Suscy. 2013. Factors controlling phytoplankton biomass in a subtropical coastal lagoon: relative scales of influence. Estuaries and Coasts, 36(5):981-996.
Riley, L.W., N. Dix, and E.J. Phlips. 2011. A New Attachment Device for Deployment of Monitoring Equipment in Estuaries and Other High Energy Environments. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 173:743.
Dix, N.G., E.J. Phlips, and R.A. Gleeson. 2008. Water quality changes in the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve, Florida, associated with four tropical storms. Journal of Coastal Research, 55(SI):26-37.
Phlips, E.J., S.M. Baker, K. Knickerbocker, K. Black, and N. Dix. 2008. Water column characteristics associated with a high density culture of the hard clam Mercenaria mercenaria in a shallow semi-restricted bay. Florida Scientist, 71(4):330-340.
Dix, N., E.J. Phlips, S. Baker, S. Badylak, L. Sturmer, and K. Hulen. 2010. What Do Clams Eat? Sea Grant Publication. http://shellfish.ifas.ufl.edu/clams_eat
Dix, N. How 2015 became "The Year of the Oyster" at the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve. Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation Biennial Conference, November 2015: Portland, OR.
Dix, N., E.J. Phlips, J. Steward, and W. Green. How does eutrophication affect oyster population structure in a highly flushed, subtropical estuary? National Shellfisheries Association Meeting, April 2014: Jacksonville, FL.
Dix, N., J. Lynn, and P. Marcum. Intertidal marsh vegetation monitoring in the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve. Southeastern Estuarine Research Society Meeting, February 2014: Savannah, GA.
Dix, N. and M.D. Hanisak. Microzooplankton grazing experiments using the dilution technique yield repeated positive slopes in a productive, subtropical lagoon. Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation Biennial Conference, November 2013: San Diego, CA.
Dix, N. How do Estuaries Respond to Change? Insights from Studies of Water Quality, Plankton, and Oysters on Florida’s East Coast. University of North Florida Biology Department Seminar, August 2013: Jacksonville, FL.
Dix, N. How do Florida Estuaries Respond to Change? Perspectives from the Bottom of the Food Web. Harbor Branch Ocean Science Lecture Series, July 2013: Ft. Pierce, FL.