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Dr. Pauline Yu


As an Office of Polar Programs (OPP) postdoc, I am studying metabolic physiology (including lipid biochemistry, enzyme activity and respiration) of the Antarctic urchin Sterechinus neumayeri. During our 2010 field season, we assessed fertilization success and developmental success under ambient and IPCC scenario conditions. We have completed a series of lipid and respiration measurements, and will be proceeding with morphometric analyses and measurements of citrate synthase and Na+-/K+-ATPase activity assays (indices of metabolic activity and energetic homeostasis). Our 2011 field season will also include temperature manipulations of our system.

While at UCSB, I have also been active in experimenting with the larvae of purple urchin and the white urchin Lytechinus pictus, testing their resilience to higher levels of pCO2 characteristic of upwelling conditions. These higher levels of pCO2 (and consequently, lower pH) can exceed the levels of atmospheric CO2 predicted by the IPCC for 90 years in the future. We are also planning to strengthen our partnerships with mariculturists to investigate the physiology of bivalve larvae during stressful upwelling conditions.

As an integrative larval biologist with many interests, I am broadly interested in the intersection of ecology, physiology, development and genetics in marine invertebrates. I am interested in the practical applications of larval biology and integrative invertebrate zoology to aquaculture, invasive species management, and marine zoonoses. On a basic science level, larval biology has much to contribute to the understanding of benthic marine populations over time and space, life history evolution and plankton ecology.

I also have a background in microscopy, including scanning electron microscopy, and brightfield and epifluorescence microscopy for plant histology. My images have been featured on the cover of The Biological Bulletin, and in several papers on food technology.

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