Larval Ecology, Benthic Community Resilience

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Lauren Mullineaux

Our lab investigates how larvae of benthic invertebrates disperse and recruit into marine communities.  We are interested in how these processes connect geographically separate populations and contribute to resilience in the face of natural and human disturbance. We work in a variety of patchy habitats, ranging from coastal bays to deep-sea hydrothermal vents, where larval dispersal may be the sole process connecting populations. Our approaches include coupled studies of circulation and larval ecology, manipulative benthic experimentation, laboratory study of larval behavior, and use of metacommunity models.  This coming summer, available projects for an undergraduate fellow include: (1) analyze the development of a deep-sea vent community following a catastrophic eruption on the East Pacific Rise; (2) conduct laboratory experiments on larval behavioral responses to environmental cues; or (3) initiate field experiments on the roles of larval dispersal and changing environmental conditions on coastal community assembly.

Mullineaux Lab