Marine Ecology and Conservation
Our program emphasizes testing and refining general ecological theory and concepts in marine systems with the goal that answers will: (1) make important contributions to our understanding of ecological patterns and processes in marine ecosystems, and (2) be applied to sustainable management of natural resources and coastal communities. Examples of ecological theory and concepts tested include: (i) functional response framework for predicting predator-prey dynamics, (ii) optimization theory for predicting animal movement, (iii) metapopulation dynamics to assess population source/sink habitats, (iv) landscape ecological concepts to conserve and restore habitat, and (v) biocomplexity theory to understand resilient systems.
We use a combination of field observations, field and laboratory experiments, computer simulation modeling, and geochemical tracer and molecular tools to test assumptions and develop a mechanistic understanding of animal behavior, population connectivity and ecosystem dynamics.
Study systems range from tropical to temperate, and shallow estuarine to deep-sea. Study species range from marine and freshwater fish to macro-invertebrates, especially crabs, lobster and bivalves.
Research spans the disciplines of biology, ecology, physics, economics, mathematics, statistics, and chemistry. Graduates become future leaders in academia, research and management.
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Oyster metapopulation Dynamics
Oyster restoration in Pamlico Sound
Impact of sport divers on spiny lobster
Endangered Estuaries: Blue Crabs