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Emily Carrington's research program, in its broadest sense, investigates the physiological ecology of marine organisms. She is particularly interested in the functional design of organisms that inhabit physically demanding environments, such as wave-swept rocky shores, where thermal, osmotic, and hydrodynamic conditions can be extreme. Her research involves both plants and animals and spans many levels of biological organization, from the mechanics of biological materials, to the persistence of populations, to the characterization of the physical environment and how it influences biological processes. A recent focus in her laboratory has been the effects of ocean warming and acidification on mussels, snails and seaweeds.