Broadly, I am interested in both the direct and indirect effects of climate change and climate variability on species distributions. More specifically, I examine how temperature regulates energetic budgets and how this can translate into changes in distribution as climate changes. Our lab studies the effect of local environmental factors including temperature, salinity, pH, and dissolved oxygen on species assemblages, individual species ranges, and the oxygen demand and energy budgets of species. Our lab also participates in field sampling in the Great South Bay and Mill Neck Creek estuarine ecosystems to characterize the pelagic and demersal species assemblages, specifically of predatory invertebrates and fish.
Currently, I am working with blue crabs (Callinectes sapidus) from Great South Bay in Long Island. Utilizing an automated respirometry package from Loligo Systems, I will analyze the effect of temperature and salinity on the oxygen consumption of resting juvenile blue crabs. These results will then be used to model the temperature-dependence of oxygen consumption and will subsequently be applied to the bioenergetic budget of blue crabs.
In the near future, I will be conducting overwintering experiments in the laboratory with C. sapidus. This line of research will contribute to a growing body of work that investigates the effects of winter temperature and duration on the survival of crabs. Understanding how environmental drivers determine the winter mortality rate of juvenile blue crabs contributes greatly to understanding the population dynamics of blue crabs in Great South Bay. This is especially true because this years’ juveniles will become the adults of the next years harvestable summer population, but only if they survive the winter.