Welcome to the zooplankton ecology web site in the Program for Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. This site provides general information about zooplankton, a complex assemblage of microscopic animals in the water column of lakes, ponds, rivers, estuaries and the open ocean. Zooplankton plays a pivotal role in the aquatic food web, having the potential to affect water transparency, levels of suspended algae (phytoplankton), and the fishery. Many economically important fish depend on a diet of zooplankton during some stage in their life cycle. The main focus of this site is on the zooplankton of lakes and ponds, and includes information regarding taxonomy, biology, and ecology. Basic methods for sampling, counting, and evaluation of other ecological attributes also are provided, along with links to useful sites on the internet and selected photographs of freshwater species.
My research program is focused on the dynamics of freshwater zooplankton, on their role in transferring carbon and energy from phytoplankton, bacteria and protozoa to higher trophic levels in lake and river food webs, and on how the structure and function of plankton communities are affected by natural and anthropogenic stressors, including hurricanes, drought, toxic algae, fish predation, nutrients and anthropogenic pollutants.
Current research projects include an examination of factors that globally control zooplankton body size, through analysis of data that spans the regions from boreal Canada to subtropical Brazil; investigation of the role of fish predation in controlling zooplankton size, taxonomic structure and community function in the sub-tropics; and lethal, sub-lethal and community responses of zooplankton to cyanobacterial toxins.
In the spring semester of even numbered years, I teach a graduate course in Zooplankton Ecology. This is an experiential learning course for students with a solid background in ecology. Click on the link for 'Course' for more details.
Click on these links for more information: