Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Michael Polito
Michael Polito's photoMichael Polito

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Research Interests

I am an ecologist studying marine and coastal communities inhabiting rapidly changing environments or that are under threat from anthropogenic influences. In my research I often combine stable isotopes, fatty acids, heavy metals and other dietary biomarkers with classical ecological approaches to explore both basic and applied questions surrounding species and community level responses to environmental stressors. While many of my projects focus on marine bird and mammal communities around Antarctica, the California coast and Cape Cod, my research approach and interests are broadly transferable across marine and coastal ecosystems.


2012 - Ph.D. Marine Biology - University of North Carolina Wilmington

2001 - B.S. Marine Biology - University of North Carolina Wilmington

Prospective Students

In addition to being a guest investogator at WHOI, I am an assistant professor in the  Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences (DOCS) at Louisiana State University (LSU). I am always on the lookout for potential graduate students for fall admission who are highly motivated, have a strong academic record, field and lab experience, and interests that match on-going work in my lab.  Areas of research include using stable isotopes to provide insights into the ecology of seabirds and marine mammals and examining the impacts of invasive species on island ecosystems. Outstanding candidates who are U.S. citizens can compete for LSU Board of Regents Fellowships (about $28K/year+tuition). Candidates who fit the prerequisites to apply for the graduate program in DOCS can fill out a pre-application form here and email me directly at

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