Debora Iglesias-Rodriguez


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I investigate the population structure and dynamics of phytoplankton populations in the context of environmental change. A special research focus of my lab has been the coccolithophore species Emiliania huxleyi, which is central to the Earth’s precipitation of calcium carbonate, the most important carbon reservoir in our planet. We study the genetic, functional and ecological diversity of coccolithophores in the SBC to improve our representation of populations in the modern ocean, and to build robust predictions in future climate scenarios. Our work has paid special attention to the effect of ocean acidification on the growth and calcification of coccolithophores, and more recently to the impact of oil spills on the physiology of phytoplankton, including neurotoxin production by diatoms. The NSF-funded flow cytometry facility enables monitoring the population structure and isolating phytoplankton cells from natural populations, and the NSF-funded titration system is used in our lab to determine seawater alkalinity using LTER and PnBs monthly sampling. My team conducts molecular, physiological and biogeochemical analysis both in the lab and in the field.

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