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My research interests include exploring the synergistic effects of ocean acidification, rising ocean temperatures, and other anthropogenic stressors on marine invertebrates using genomic techniques.
One project underway examines pH fluctuations in the intertidal due to seasonal upwelling events and their effects on the in situ physiology of the purple urchin, Strongylocentrotus purpuratus. The southern half of the west coast of North America experiences seasonal upwellings. Anthropogenic inputs of CO2 have decreased the aragonite saturation state of coastal waters, causing undersaturated, acidic water to reach shallow-water communties during upwelling events.
In Winter 2010, I will examine the synergistic effects of ocean acidification and elevated water temperature on two important members of the coral reef ecosystem: the coral Pocillopora damicornis and the sea urchin Echinmetra mathaei. The objective of this study is to examine how these species will respond to low pH, low carbonate, elevated temperature conditions predicted for global oceans by 2100 in a anthropogenic climate change scenario. This study will be conducted at the Moorea Coral Reef Long Term Ecological Research (MCR LTER) site and at University of California Berkeley's Richard B. Gump South Pacific Research Station. Funding for this project is provided by a 2008-2009 MCR LTER mini-grant to EBR and GEH.
At Cornell University, where I earned a B.S. in Biology (Biochemistry), I conducted independent research on coral disease in Dr. Drew Harvell's lab. I examined the nutrient limitation and nitrogen source preference of Aspergillus sydowii, the pathogen causing aspergillosis in sea fan corals. I hope my doctoral research will contribute to a knowledge base for prevention of coral disease and the conservation of the coral reef ecosystem.
Rivest, EB, DM Baker, KL Rypien, and CD Harvell. 2010. Nitrogen source preference of Aspergillus sydowii, an infective agent associated with aspergillosis of sea fan corals. Limnol. Oceanogr. 55(1): 386-392.
Financial support for EBR is provided by a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.