Effects of Biological-Physical Interactions on Gene Flow in Marine Planktonic Populations

EPA Grant Number: U915629
Title: Effects of Biological-Physical Interactions on Gene Flow in Marine Planktonic Populations
Investigators: Goetze, Erica
Institution: Scripps Institution of Oceanography , University of California - San Diego
EPA Project Officer: Michaud, Jayne
Project Period: September 1, 1999 through September 1, 2002
Project Amount: $87,520
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (1999) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Academic Fellowships , Ecological Indicators/Assessment/Restoration , Fellowship - Ecology and Ecosystems


The central objective of this research project is to determine the relative importance of physical, oceanographic, and biological factors, as well as their interactions, in controlling the extent of gene flow between populations of pelagic marine organisms.


The central questions of this research are: (1) What biological characteristics are important in determining the magnitude of gene flow between populations of holoplanktonic organisms? (2) What are the temporal and spatial scales over which gene flow occurs in marine planktonic environments? and (3) How does temporal and spatial variability in advection and diffusion act to control homogeneity of population genetic structure? A coupled biological-physical ocean modeling approach will be used to examine the research questions. Stochastic differential equations and kinematic models will be explored for characterization of the physical component. The biological processes to be coupled with the physical model include characteristics of the vertical distribution of organisms in the water column (including diel vertical migration, ontogenetic migration, and seasonal changes in depth distribution), parameters controlling physiological tolerance to environmental conditions (temperature, salinity, food availability), and reproductive biology (generation time, asexual and sexual reproductive behaviors). Sensitivity analyses will explore what range of parameter values critically affect the extent of gene flow.

Expected Results:

The investigators hope to identify particular biological characteristics that act either singly or in conjunction with the flow field, to critically alter the magnitude and direction of dispersal.

Supplemental Keywords:

marine, Copepoda, Eucalanidae, speciation, biodiversity, RFA, Scientific Discipline, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Aquatic Ecosystems & Estuarine Research, Oceanography, Aquatic Ecosystem, Ecology and Ecosystems, gene flow, marine biology, kinetic models, aquatic ecosystems, plankton, biological physical interactions, biological indicators

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2000
  • 2001
  • Final