Undergraduates Calvin Munson ('19) and Maya Greenhill ('20) gave their first talks on their thesis research projects at the Charles Darwin Foundation. These talks presented preliminary research from the past two months of field work examining local to regional controls on sea floor productivity. At the regional scale, Calvin's work examines how the abundance of algae and invertebrates changes along gradients of upwelling in the Galápagos subtidal, in addition to how the diversity of herbivorous fishes affects ecosystem functioning in the form of resource utilization. At local scales, Maya's research is on damselfish territories as a major source of algal productivity on the rocky reef, focusing on species-specific differences in agal composition, depth zonation, and defense capacity that indicate complementarity in providing this important ecosystem function. Professor Jon Witman put these studies into context, summarizing and updating on how repeated El Niño/ La Niña cycles are shaping marine communities of benthic invertebrates and reef fish over 20 years of long term monitoring.
IN THE FIELD
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