Phytoplankton Ecology Research Lab (PERL)
Our research focuses on physiological responses of phytoplankton to fluctuations in environmental factors like light, nutrients, and temperature and how, ultimately, variations in small-scale processes translate into larger scale effects on ecosystems. We are specifically interested in phytoplankton growth rates, including the underlying processes of photosynthesis and nutrient uptake and incorporation. We examine how changes in growth rate may result in changes in phytoplankton community composition, including the development of phytoplankton blooms (including harmful algal blooms) and how these influence aquatic food webs. For our research, we use a variety of tools, including algal cultures, small volume microcosms, field studies and numerical modeling.