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Brian Gaylord


Brian Gaylord, Bodega Marine Laboratory, Univeristy of California - Davis 

The Gaylord lab conducts interdisciplinary research at the interface of biomechanics and marine ecology. Although the problems we tackle include a broad suite of topics and span multiple disciplines, most have some connection to one or both of two core questions: How do organisms with different sizes, shapes, and life histories cope with and/or benefit from their physical surroundings? How do aspects of the physical environment affect organisms' distributions and population characteristics over space and time?
Within the context of these two basic questions, we often focus on organismal and ecological problems where progress has been thwarted due to challenges in understanding linkages between biology and fluid flow. For example, we have explored topics such as potential hydrodynamic controls on size and shape in marine organisms, functional consequences of particular seaweed and invertebrate body designs, processes driving physical disturbance in coastal habitats, the influence of ocean flows on species range boundaries, the mechanics of nearshore mixing and transport as they apply to propagule dispersal and population structure, and impacts of ocean acidification on disturbance ecology of key community members. In conducting this work, we typically employ some combination of field, laboratory, and theoretical approaches.
A relatively new area of research for our lab is directed at understanding consequences of ongoing changes in climate. Elevated levels of atmospheric CO2 are reducing ocean pH and altering the carbonate chemistry of seawater, a process termed “ocean acidification.” Calcifying organisms (those that produce calcium carbonate skeletons or shells) are at particular risk because their ability to synthesize and/or maintain calcium carbonate structures may decline as pH decreases. Studies of ocean acidification to date, however, have focused primarily on pelagic organisms or corals. Much less is known about consequences of ocean acidification for calcifying invertebrates that live in temperate coastal habitats. Our goal is to begin to isolate effects of altered saturation state on key shelled species that live along temperate shores of the west coast of North America, and which play disproportionately important roles in coastal benthic communities. We are undertaking this line of research in concert with colleagues at BML, the UC Davis main campus, and elsewhere (Bodega Ocean Acidification Research group); our lab is particularly interested in biomechanical attributes of structural importance that may be degraded under acidified conditions.
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