Ocean Ecology

A Study in Connectedness

Perhaps more than any other, ocean ecosystems are part of a global web of relationships that determine everything from where fish breed to how much oxygen the oceans produce. Our researchers in ocean ecology are exploring these ecosystems—examining entire communities of different species and the environments they live in. By melding biology, ecology, laboratory and field work, fluid mechanics, and mathematical models, this research is helping us understand the oceans as living systems.

A key focus is on microbial ecology. Microbes such as bacteria and microscopic plankton comprise the majority of life in the oceans, and our research brings to bear genetics and model species to explore the important roles these tiny creatures play in the oceans.

We are also exploring coastal ecosystems that provide important ecological services such as protection from waves and storms, marine habitats for fish, nutrient cycling, and water quality enhancement.