Marine and Fresh Water Biology Faculty Research
Donald E. Axinn Distinguished Professor in Ecology and Conservation
I am interested in the ecology, evolution, and conservation biology of vertebrates, mostly reptiles and mammals. Most of the species I study are either introduced species or rare species, thus population control (either up or down) is important to me. And because a lot of my field work takes place in the urban and suburban habitats of New York City and Long Island, you could call it Urban Ecology. Currently, my major research projects involve diamondback terrapins at Jamaica Bay, wood turtles in northern New Jersey, the coyote invasion of Long Island and its community ecology implications, the ecology of Lyme Disease, and interesting new ways to census vertebrates.
Professor and Chair
For much of my academic career I have researched how chemosensory stimuli drives behaviors in decapod crustaceans including crabs and lobsters. More recently my lab has been researching how animals without a central nervous system (starfish) are capable of performing directed behaviors such as righting behavior. We have also been studying the distribution of native and invasive crayfish on Long Island with a goal of understanding behavioral and ecological interactions between invasive and native species. Finally I am interested in the behavioral and ecology of brook trout on Long Island. This species were the only native salmonids on Long Island until they virtually disappeared from the area in the last century. In recent years there have been efforts to reintroduce the species. I have received a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to study the movements of juvenile brook trout in a habitat that hosts one of the few spawning populations on Long Island.
I'm interested in the link between genetic variation and protein function from an evolutionary perspective. My research focuses on molecular and biochemical adaptations of marine invertebrates to environmental stress, including hypoxia and immune challenge. Our studies of bay scallops are focused on determining how genetic variation relates to biochemical and ultimately physiological differences in energy metabolism, including whether certain genetic variants confer greater survival during hypoxia or during burst swimming. In addition, we are interested in discovering mechanisms of innate immune defense in bivalve molluscs, which are susceptible numerous diseases. Finally, my lab collaborates with other Biology faculty on conservation and ecological genetics projects that use molecular markers to characterize genetic variation.
Assistant Professor and Graduate Director
My research goals are to understand the ecological and physiological constraints that underlie animal behavior. From an ecological perspective, I explore behavioral paradigms to provide functional explanations for behavior to reveal evolutionary patterns across taxa. From a physiological perspective, I manipulate and quantify hormones underlying these behaviors to explore hormone function in the context of adaptive behavior. I utilize both laboratory and field studies to explore the ecological context of behavior in fish and other aquatic systems. My field and ecology work has also included local systems like horseshoe crabs including their spawning habits and habitat, and effects of local toxicity. My integrative approach in behavior, neurophysiology, and ecology and the use of taxa with various mating systems, both in the lab and field, provides research opportunities for students with a wide variety of interests and career goals.
Research in my lab is focused on exploring the biology of marine invertebrates. I am particularly interested in symbioses between crustacean hosts and their associates (including parasitic isopods, barnacles, and polychaete worms). In addition, my students and I investigate parasitic flatworms (trematodes) and their impacts on marine hosts. My research spans field work and taxonomic studies in order to expand our knowledge of the biodiversity and natural history of these parasite groups.
Faculty Research: All Biology Faculty