plasticity is the ability of an individual to alter its phenotype in
response to the environment.
focus on inducible offenses, which are features of organisms that are
phenotypically plastic and enhance competitive ability or the ability to
find, capture or consume prey.
have shown that snails in the genus Lacuna
change tooth shape in response to cues from their diet and the
environment. My interests
span all levels, from the functional morphology of traits, the
ecological consequences of traits, and the evolutionary patterns of
these traits among closely related species.
Currently we are: (1) Developing and testing models of the costs
and benefits of inducible, reversible morphologies, and the consequences
of linked responses, including behavior, (2) Measuring factors
considered important in these models including: lag time to induction,
frequency of habitat variability, differential costs and benefits in
terms of growth, and life-time fecundity associated with the function of
different morphologies in different environments, (3) Determining the
functional consequences of phenotypically plastic feeding apparatus
morphology in gastropods, and (4) Assessing evolutionary patterns of
form and variability in a phylogenetic context within the gastropod
family Littorinidae as well as among other families of gastropods.
general, functional ecology considers organismal traits (e.g,
morphology, physiology, behavior) as mechanistic drivers of evolutionary
and ecological patterns and processes.
We study the functional morphology of feeding apparatus of
gastropods, mechanical properties of phenotypic features, and most
recently, the role of thermal ecology in affecting the direct and
indirect impact of non-native oysters that are invading the shores of
the San Juan Archipleago in
work on a wide range of aquatic invaders, both freshwater and marine,
including the zebra mussel, Asiatic clam, Eurasian watermilfoil, marine
aquaculture escapees, as well as organisms introduced through aquarium
and ornamental trade and related activities.
We use a variety of species and approaches to develop general
tools and understanding of biological invasion, its ecological controls
and consequences, as well as applying this information to control
introduction, spread and minimize ecological impacts of invasive
My current work
focuses on links between hydrodynamics and the spread and control of
these aquatic invaders, the potential for metapopulation dynamics to be
exploited for control (zebra mussels and the Pacific oyster, Crassostrea gigas), system-specific differences in impacts and
characteristics of invaders (zebra mussels, Dreissena
polymorpa, quagga mussels, Dreissena
bugensis, the golden mussel, Limnoperna
fortuni, Asiatic clam, Corbicula
fluminea) impacts of invaders in marine reserves and protected areas
(C. gigas and other invaders).
have continuing collaborations with international scientists, especially
those from the Former Soviet Union.
Considerable research was conducted on important invaders,
including the zebra mussel, for over a hundred years that is not
available to western scientists who do not read Russian or have access
to Soviet scientific journals.
goal has been to increase international communication and collaboration,
make this vast literature available to western scientists, and exchange
information, ideas and develop joint research ventures with Former
am also studying the spread of invaders in marine reserves and
sanctuaries, and how reserve design may facilitate or minimize the
spread of likely invaders.
spread of the non-native oyster Crassostrea gigas to marine
reserves in the
and Conservation Ecology
are working with the Long Island Chapter of The Nature Conservancy on a
project to restore hard clam, Mercenaria
mercenaria, populations in
are also working on the impacts of invasion, larval dispersal and
colonization in marine reserves, focusing on Pacific coast marine
reserves, especially those in the