Areas of Expertise
aquatic ecology, biology, coastal biology, algae, ecosystems
B.S. John Carroll University (1995)
M.S. Kent State University (1998)
Ph.D. Ohio University (2002)
My research interests fall into two main categories: aquatic ecology and systematics, both of which deal largely with algae. The algae are a polyphyletic assemblage that are the primary producers in most aquatic ecosystems. A great group of organisms, they serve as the basis of myriad aquatic ecosystems. Unfortunately, they have received a lot of publicity in the last decade as eutrophication has led to greater numbers of algal blooms, with concurrent deleterious ecosystem level problems.
My lab has undertaken several projects to understand and quantify how algal communities change in response to different environmental parameters. We are currently working to elucidate the role of nutrient loads in influencing the epiphytic algal community. Further, we are working on a collaborative project to examine the role of native riparian vegetation as a method of ameliorating nutrient loads into tributaries of the St. Johns River.
Second, my lab is very interested in cyanobacterial systematics (untangling evolutionary relationships). To that end we have a collected cyanobacterial strains from around the world and employ morphological (cell dimensions, divisions, ultra-structure, folding patterns of the 16-23S ITS regions), ecological and molecular (sequencing of the 16S rDNA gene, ITS regions) data sets to elucidate phylogenetic relationships.
We have also recently started several projects using cyanophages (viruses which infect cyanobacteria). We are examining the distribution and occurrence of freshwater cyanophages, what taxonomic groups are present during and after bloom events, the genetic make up of the phages, and how they impact the cyanobacterial community.
Thus, if you are interested in all things algal or aquatic, we may be the lab to contemplate…
Phycological Society of America (Program Director)
International Phycological Society
International Society for Microbial Ecology
American Society for Microbiology
Publications & Presentations
2015. Common cyanobacterial genera of lotic systems, in “The Biology of stream algae”. Bentham Science Publishers. (Book Currently in final revisions).
2015. Microbes and nestmate bodies digested in the buccal pellets of Borneo’s “exploding ants”. Biotropica (In review)
2014. Cyanobacterial diversity and distribution and the uncertainty linked to species concepts. Biodiversity and Conservation (In Press)
2014. Synechococcus genomics: 3 Billion years of global dominance. Molecular Ecology 23: 5538-5551
2014. A novel genus Ammassolinea gen. nov. (Cyanobacteria) isolated from sub-tropical epipelic habitats. Fottea 14:241-248.
2013. A novel cyanobacterium Phormidium etoshii sp. nov. (Oscillatoriales) from the Etosha Pan, Namibia, based on morphological, molecular and ecological features. Fottea 13:235-244.
2013. Extreme weather events influence the phytoplankton community structure in a large lowland subtropical lake (Lake Okeechobee, Florida, USA). Hydrobiologia 709:213-226.
2013. Response of phytoplankton communities of six reservoirs of the middle Missouri River (USA) to drought and a major flood event: importance of water residence time. Hydrobiologia 705:173-189.
2012. Characterization of Roseonema reptotaenium (Oscillatoriales, Cyanobacteria) gen. et sp. nov. isolated from Caribbean black band disease. Phycologia 51:489-499.
2011. Hurricane effects on the planktonic food web of a large subtropical lake. Journal of Plankton Research 33:1081-1094.
2011. A unique Pseudanabaenalean (Cyanobacteria) genus Nodosilinea gen. nov. based on morphological and molecular data. Journal of Phycology 47:1397-1412.