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Ongoing Graduate Student Project

Impact of urbanization on rocky intertidal shores

Human populations in coastal areas are growing rapidly, and with this population growth comes numerous impacts of urbanization. The impacts can alter the behavior, physiology, and success of coastal species. Bailey Marlow (PhD student) is using the invasive European green crab to examine the impacts of urbanization along the New England coast. This species is widely invasive and has established populations on coasts outside of its native range around the world. As a result, it has become a model organisms in marine ecological research. Bailey's work examines how the behavior, physiology, and health of individual animals varies along urbanization gradients.

Optimal responses to nonlethal injury

Animals often receive nonlethal injuries that do not kill them, but require energy investments for recovery. Energy allocated to recovery, such as limb regeneration, cannot be allocated to other processes, such as growth or reproduction. Evolution should shape physiological responses to optimize lifetime fitness within the context of an organism's life history. Laura Fletcher (MS student) is developing a dynamics state variable model based on the invasive Asian shore crab (on the US East Coast) to predict the relative allocation of energy following limb loss. Laura's model will make predictions that will then be tested by examining the response to limb loss throughout the invasive range of this species. This work will improve our understanding of the response of organisms to nonlethal injury, and will also develop tools in optimal bioenergetic modeling that can be applied to other questions and other systems.