Christopher D. Wells

Christopher D. Wells
University at Buffalo, The State University of New York | SUNY Buffalo · Research Foundation

Doctor of Philosophy

About

24
Publications
5,618
Reads
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126
Citations
Citations since 2016
22 Research Items
124 Citations
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20162017201820192020202120220102030
20162017201820192020202120220102030
Additional affiliations
June 2019 - present
University at Buffalo, The State University of New York
Position
  • PostDoc Position
August 2014 - June 2019
University of Washington Seattle
Position
  • PhD Student
August 2014 - June 2019
University of Washington Seattle
Position
  • Research Assistant
Education
August 2014 - June 2020
August 2010 - August 2013
University of New Hampshire
Field of study
  • Zoology
August 2006 - December 2009
University of New Hampshire
Field of study
  • Marine and Freshwater Biology

Publications

Publications (24)
Chapter
Full-text available
Changes in the size structure of coral populations have major consequences for population dynamics and community function, yet many coral reef monitoring projects do not record this critical feature. Consequently, our understanding of current and future trajectories in coral size structure, and the demographic processes underlying these changes, is...
Article
Full-text available
Algal cover has increased and scleractinian coral cover has steadily declined over the past 40 years on Caribbean coral reefs, while octocoral abundance has increased at sites where abundances have been monitored. The effects of algal cover on recruitment may be a key component in these patterns, as upright octocoral recruits may escape competition...
Article
Full-text available
Benthic suspension feeders have significant impacts on plankton communities by depleting plankton or modifying the composition of the plankton through prey selectivity. Quantifying diets of planktivorous animals can be difficult because plankton are frequently microscopic, may lack diagnostic characters, and are digested at variable rates. With DNA...
Preprint
Full-text available
Caribbean octocorals have not suffered the decades long decline in abundance that has plagued reef-building scleractinian corals. Their success and the formation of octocoral forests has been attributed to their continuing recruitment to reef habitats. Assessing the processes controlling recruitment is essential to the understanding the success of...
Article
Full-text available
Despite the importance of historical data in quantifying shifting conditions, information legacies are being lost through oversight and retirement of researchers. We highlight the recovery of two long-term research sites in Caribbean octocoral forests and call for preservation of other legacy sites and associated data before these locations become...
Article
Full-text available
Patterns of population biology and community structure can be studied by looking closely at the ontogeny and reproductive biology of reef-building organisms. This knowledge is particularly important for Caribbean octocorals, which seem to be more resilient to long-term environmental change than scleractinian corals and provide some of the same ecol...
Article
Full-text available
Anthozoans exhibit great plasticity in their responses to stressful conditions, including decreasing individual size, detaching from the substratum and relocating , and releasing endosymbiotic microalgae. Another response to stress used by some colonial anthozoans is polyp bailout, in which the coenenchyme breaks down and individual polyps detach f...
Preprint
Full-text available
Benthic suspension feeders have significant impacts on plankton communities by depleting plankton or modifying composition of the plankton through prey selectivity. Quantifying diets of planktivorous animals can be difficult because plankton are frequently microscopic, may lack diagnostic characters, and are digested at variable rates. With DNA met...
Preprint
Full-text available
Anthozoans exhibit great plasticity in their responses to stressful conditions, including decreasing individual size, detaching from the substratum and relocating, and releasing endosymbiotic microalgae. Another response to stress used by some colonial anthozoans is polyp bailout, in which the coenenchyme breaks down and individual polyps detach fr...
Preprint
Full-text available
Algal cover has increased and scleractinian coral cover has steadily declined over the past 40 years on Caribbean coral reefs. In contrast, octocoral abundance has increased at those sites where octocoral abundances have been monitored. The effects of algal cover on recruitment may be a key component in these patterns, as upright octocoral recruits...
Preprint
Full-text available
Understanding the ontogeny and reproductive biology of reef-building organisms can shed light on patterns of population biology and community structure. This knowledge is particularly important for Caribbean octocorals, which seem to be more resilient to long-term environmental change than scleractinian corals and provide some of the same ecologica...
Article
Full-text available
Failed invasions can be a key component for understanding and controlling introduced populations because understanding mechanisms behind failures can improve effective controls. In 2000, the non-native sea anemone Sagartia elegans was first found in Salem, Massachusetts, and it recol-onized each summer. No individuals of S. elegans have been found...
Thesis
Full-text available
Hexacorallians are one of the most conspicuous and dominant suspension feeders in temperate and tropical environments. While temperate hexacorallians are particularly diverse in the northeast Pacific, little work has been done in examining their biology and ecology. Within this dissertation, I describe a novel method for marking soft-bodied inverte...
Article
Full-text available
The ability to recognize individuals and track growth over time is crucial to population dynamics research as well as studies of animal behavior. Invertebrates are particularly difficult to track as they often molt, have regenerative capabilities, or lack hard parts to attach markers. We tested, in laboratory and field studies, a new way of marking...
Article
Full-text available
The visual landscape of marine and terrestrial systems is changing as a result of anthropogenic factors. Often these shifts involve introduced species that are morphologically dissimilar to native species, creating a unique biogenic structure and habitat for associated species within the landscape. While community level changes as a result of intro...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Since 2000, five rapid assessment surveys have been conducted in New England. These surveys focus on recording species at marinas, which often are in close proximity to transportation vectors (i.e., recreational boats). Species are collected from floating docks and piers because these structures are accessible regardless of the tidal cycle. Another...

Network

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Projects

Projects (4)
Project
Our project has two overarching themes. First, we are extending a now 6 y time-series analyses of octocoral communities on St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands in order to characterize the pattern and pace of change in community structure. Second, we are conducting hypothesis-driven experiments focused on octocoral settlement that will uncover the mechanisms allowing octocorals to more effectively colonize substrata than scleractinian corals on present day reefs. Specifically, we are conducting mensurative and manipulative experiments addressing four hypotheses focusing on the roles of: (1) habitat complexity in distinguishing between octocoral and scleractinian recruitment niches, (2) the recruitment niche in mediating post-settlement success, (3) competition in algal turf and macroalgae in determining the success of octocoral and scleractian recruits, and (4) role of octocoral canopies in modulating the flux of particles and larvae to the seafloor beneath.