Food Webs

Coral reefs are characterized by incredible biodiversity. Using stable isotopes to identify the sources of nutrients used by coral reef organisms, I study how individual species partition the nutrients that are available within these habitats. In particular, I study how microbial symbionts influence host (sponges, octocorals, and hard corals) resource use in order to better understand the processes that support the coexistence of organisms within these ecosystems.

I also investigate harmful algal blooms (HABs) within the Indian River Lagoon of central Florida. In particular, I am interested in the role that epibenthic or epifaunal suspension feeders like bivalves and barnacles play in "top down" control of these blooms. Many of these organisms are capable of removing large amounts of organic matter from the water each day by filter feeding, but it is still unclear whether they are capable of removing HAB cells and also if these organisms are present in high enough abundnaces to make a difference.

Photographs taken by George Stoyle Photography, myself, or colleagues