Elizabeth Bryson

Dr. Elizabeth Bryson, PhD

My research focuses on latitudinal differences in Gulf of Maine (GOM) rocky shore communities.  Over the past 50 years, southern GOM rocky shore communities have been extensively studied and have provided the foundation for several overarching theories in community ecology (in particular, the Menge-Sutherland model of community organization).  However, northern GOM communities have received considerably less attention despite obvious differences in the distributions and abundances of dominant rocky shore species.  Thus, by examining these systems and understanding how dynamics vary across latitudes, I hope to better inform conventional theories of community organization.  Specifically my research seeks to:

  • Document latitudinal differences in rocky shore assemblages and successional patterns
  • Examine how differences in abiotic factors such as temperature and light availability contribute to these latitudinal patterns
  • Determine how latitudinal changes in bottom-up processes, including seasonal cycles of nutrient availability and phytoplankton concentrations, influence the recruitment and growth of rocky shore organisms
  • Investigate potential differences in the strength of species interactions (competition, herbivory, predation, etc) between northern and southern rocky shores
  • Apply the knowledge gained to classic theoretical models of community organization

Sunrise in the northern Gulf of Maine

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