Fall 2017 & 2016-2017 Global Change Fellow
Statement of purpose:
I am conducting my Ph.D. research in the lab of Dr. Astrid Schnetzer in the department of Marine, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. The aim of my research is to address marine planktonic community ecology questions using both molecular and traditional approaches. My research is meant to address major knowledge gaps on how marine microbes, key organisms for ecosystem productivity and energy transfer to higher trophic levels (e.g., fish and shellfish), are affected by anthropogenic stressors. Specifically, I am interested in how species abundance and trophic level interactions shape communities of phytoplankton. This research will further our understanding plankton food-web dynamics both spatially and temporally in light of a changing global ocean.
Description of research:
One aim of my dissertation project will be to examine how natural plankton assemblages restructure in response to changes in species assemblage and rising water temperature. My research will compare single stressors (i.e. temperature) and the effects of these stressors on phytoplankton growth and community structure. I will examine these species interactions through growth and grazing studies. This multi-dimensional experimental approach will provide novel insight into how the ecology and growth within complex and highly diverse plankton assemblages will be affected in North Carolina estuarine waters in the time of coastal degradation and global climate change. This project focuses on the SECSU themes 4: Ecological Research and 5: Coastal and Nearshore Marine Environments, which supports the scientific and societal impact of my research.
View a video developed by Gabrielle describing her research as a Global Change Fellow: