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My research focuses on the interactions between invasive and native marine species. Currently, I am exploring how epibiosis by invasives impacts native species, including the latter's physiology and ecology. I am also interested in the long-term impacts and evolutionary implications of invasion.
August 2014 - June 2019
- Professor (Assistant)
- Courses Taught: General Biology Lecture (101 and 102) and Lab (102), Invasive Species, and Community Ecology. Supervised 2 Senior-Year Experience projects.
September 2010 - June 2014
- Professor (Assistant)
- Courses Taught: Ecology Lecture and Lab, General Biology I and II Lecture and Lab, Invertebrate Biology Lecture and Lab, Research and Writing for Biologists Supervised 5 students in research projects on invasive species ecology.
June 2007 - August 2007
- Visiting Scientist (NSF EAPSI Fellow)
- • Measured effects of tunicate overgrowth on Perna canaliculus mussels • Photographed and characterized larval stages of Didemnum vexillum from preserved samples
Mytilus edulis (Blue Mussel) is an ecologically important species in the Gulf of Maine. However, many introduced species that have a direct negative impact on the Blue Mussel have entered this system, some as predators (e.g., Carcinus maenas [Green Crab]) and others as aggressive epibionts (e.g., Didemnum vexillum [Carpet Sea Squirt]). Didem-num ve...
Didemnum vexillum, an invasive colonial ascidian, has colonized natural and artificial substrates in Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island (USA) since 2000, when it was first discovered in Newport Harbor. A survey of the bay in 2005 found D. vexillum at several coastal sites in the southern portion of the bay, dominating substrata by the end of its reprod...
Blue mussels (Mytilus edulis) are important keystone species that have been declining in the Gulf of Maine. This could be attributed to a variety of complex factors such as indirect effects due to invasion by epibionts, which remains unexplored mathematically. Based on classical optimal foraging theory (OFT) and anti-fouling defense mechanisms of m...
Learning ecology requires training in data management and analysis. Because of its transparent and flexible nature, R is increasingly used for data management and analysis in the field of ecology. Consequently, job postings targeting candidates with a bachelor's degree and a required knowledge of R have increased over the past ten years. In this pa...
Auker, L. A., and Oviatt, C. A. 2008. Factors influencing the recruitment and abundance of Didemnum in Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island. – ICES Journal of Marine Science, 65: 765–769.The non-indigenous colonial tunicate Didemnum sp. A has been observed in Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island, since 2000. We compared weekly recruitment of the species and en...
Studies on non-native epibionts typically focus on the organismal-level impacts of epibiosis on basibionts, rather than community-level impacts of this relationship. The purpose of our study was to evaluate if non-native basibionts in general facilitate invasions through epibiosis in Maine compared to native basibiont species. We collected 64 basib...
Ecology requires training in data management and analysis. In this paper, we present data from the last 10 years demonstrating the increase in the use of R, an open-source programming environment, in ecology and its prevalence as a required skill in job descriptions. Because of its transparent and flexible nature, R is increasingly used for data ma...
Epibiosis is the overgrowth of one species by another species, and many aquatic invaders act as epibionts due to limited available space in marine and freshwater habitats. Such examples include the zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha), the lacy bryozoan (Membranipora membranacea), and a number of ascidian species, including the highly invasive carpe...
Blue mussels (Mytilus edulis) are an important keystone species that have been declining in the Gulf of Maine. This could be attributed to a variety of complex factors such as indirect effects due to invasion by epibionts, which remains unexplored mathematically. Based on classical optimal foraging theory and anti-fouling defense mechanisms of muss...
idemnum vexillum is an invasive colonial ascidian in the Gulf of Maine that readily colonizes hard substrates. These substrates include hard-shelled substrates, including the common blue mussel Mytilus edulis. Preliminary observations and short-term studies showed potential effects of epibiosis (or, overgrowth) on M. edulis growth, specifically lip...
Didemnum vexillum is an invasive tunicate that has been observed overgrowing several species of sessile marine animals, including the common blue mussel Mytilus edulis. It is clear that the overgrowth negatively affects the retrieval and processing of farmed mussels. However, it is not known specifically what aspects of mussel biology and ecology a...
An invasive tunicate (Figure 1), referred to presently as Didemnum sp. (the organism has not yet been identified to species), has been observed in Narragansett Bay since 2000, when it was found at Coasters Harbor Island in Newport during a rapid assessment survey (Pederson et al. 2001). These tunicates, also called ascidians, have been observed at...
An invasive colonial tunicate Didemnum sp. was observed in Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island, beginning in 2000. Preliminary observations, which showed tunicate colonies overgrowing mussel (Mytilus edulis) beds and restricting the ability of individual mussels to open their valves, prompted this study. The study had four goals: 1) to measure percent c...
Juvenile tautogs Tautoga onitis were collected from shallow-water nursery areas along the Connecticut coast of Long Island Sound from June through September of 2000, 2001, and 2003. A total of 164 juveniles (8.9–165 mm standard length) were collected using several different methods. The digestive tracts of 152 (92.68%) juveniles each contained at l...
Hi! Our digitally controlled muffle furnace is currently under repair and so we are relying on an old standby, a Fisher Isotherm Muffle Furnace 184A. Does anyone have tips on identifying the temperature setting on the numerical dials? Today, the oven was set at a "medium" setting (dial was turned up halfway) and when I returned to check on it a few hours later, the oven was at max temperature (1100 degrees C). I only need to ash some samples at 450 degrees C.
Anyone with experience with this particular model, I would appreciate any tips. Hoping to get the newer, digital furnace online again soon!
Hi all - I am looking for a preserved zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) to use as a model for 3-D printing for an experiment on epibiosis and burrowing. I'd be happy to simply borrow one or purchase from a researcher.
Due to the increasing use of the R programming environment in the field of ecology, an increasing number of positions available to newly graduated ecology and conservation majors are requiring skills in using R. We are interested in assessing and comparing our own efforts in teaching R in our advanced ecology courses to provide guidelines and advice for other higher educators, as there is currently minimal literature in the pedagogical applications of R in ecology.
- To model the effect of epibionts on predator-prey dynamics and populations - To empirically determine the impact of an predator-deterring epibiont on prey size preference of a common marine crab.