Megan Black is a plankton ecologist interested in the interactions between organisms and their environment and the processes that select one organism over another. Among the large cast of characters that are able to play the functional role of primary producer in the marine environment, there are often relatively few species that are dominant at a time. Physical parameters such as temperature, light intensity and duration, water salinity, nutrient availability and turbulence all play a role in the selection process, as does predation, chance, inter-specific competition, and virus load. My long term interest is to determine the selection parameters necessary to predict the relevant conditions likely to result in particular plankton species.
My dissertation research is to describe the genetic variability inherent in the harmful bloom-forming alga, Heterosigma akashiwo, and furthermore predict the functional implications of those genetic changes. I then apply this genetic framework to examine variability within Salish Sea blooms to determine Heterosigma bloom diversity.
Sea Semester, Westward-127
Colorado College, B.A. Biology
University of the Ryukyus, M.Sc. Coral Reef Ecology