Karen Chan


Research Summary

Many marine organisms have a dual phased life history which includes a mobile planktonic larval stage and a sedentary benthic adult stage.  As an ecologist, I am interested in how individual performance, both behavioral and physiological, of individual marine invertebrate larvae shapes population dynamics. In particular, I focus on how larvae interact with their physical environment under changing climate conditions.

My doctoral study focuses on behaviors and biomechanics of larvae because larvae use their ability to swim to navigate the water column, locate food, and avoid predation.  Using customized video motion analysis techniques, I quantified larval swimming behaviors under different environmental conditions, including temperature changes and acidification. I also developed hydrodynamic models to assess how changes in morphology would affect larval movement.

As a postdoctoral scholar at WHOI, I will work with Dr. Jesứs Pineda (Biology) and Dr. Houshuo Jiang (Applied Ocean Physics and Engineering) to assess the impact of ocean acidification on early life history stages of key coastal invertebrate species.

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