Marine Zooplankton Ecology Laboratory

University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Seeking to understand how climate affects zooplankton
& their role in marine food webs across ecological scales

Research Focus

The Robinson Marine Zooplankton Ecology Lab focuses on coastal biological oceanography. We seek to understand how marine zooplankton populations respond to climate-related and anthropogenic perturbations, with an emphasis on gelatinous plankton predators (i.e. jellyfish). Specifically, how variability in biophysical features operating at a range of spatio-temporal scales affect abundance, distribution, and mediate predator-prey interactions.

Wanderers of the Drifting World
Image credit: Christian Sardet, Plankton: Wonders of the Drifting World. University of Chicago Press

Key questions include:

What is the long-term response of zooplankton production to climate forcing?

What are the biophysical drivers of fine-scale variation (i.e. ‘patchiness’) in zooplankton abundance? Do the effects of drivers vary with large-scale climate forcing?

How does climate-driven variation in plankton production affect food web energy transfer to  upper level consumers (e.g., planktivorous fish) in coastal marine ecosystems?

To address questions related to this topic, I use a combination of experimental lab work, field studies, and modeling (including spatial analysis and food web modeling). I am particularly interested in applying novel technologies and approaches like plankton imaging systems and data science to marine ecology.

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