Zachary Topor

PhD Student (August 2017 – Present)

B.S. Marine Science, University of Maine – 2016

Growing up in Connecticut, I decided that I was going to be a marine scientist, study the mystery of the ocean blue, and be outside. Thus far I have fulfilled my childhood goals, continually amazed and motivated by how much we have yet to learn about our oceans. Attending the University of Maine as an undergrad exposed me to many unique aspects of marine science. Learning all the ways that questions can be asked, answered, and debated spurned me towards the path of academia. Driven by my love of the outdoors, I’ve pursued many types of field work. I have experience in scientific diving (AAUS) for lobsters in Maine (UMaine), diving for cryptobenthic fish from Panama to Maine (Smithsonian Environmental Research Center), as well as large oceanic cruises to sample plankton (NOAA, ULL). All of my experiences have shaped the type of questions that I want to investigate.

Interactions between animals within their environment provides an intimate look into an organism’s ecology. I am interested in community ecology as it applies to the plankton in the context of climate change. Plankton are the intersection of oceanography and biology, and comprise an integral part of all marine systems. Understanding the affect of ocean climate change on plankton communities is the focus of my dissertation.

Curriculum Vitae

From Left: Aidyn Creson (Senior) and Zach Topor separate plankton specimens on a ZooScan.