Chemical Ecology of Marine Plants and Seaweeds
My lab studies natural products produced by marine plants, seaweeds, and microscopic symbiotic algae. We are especially interested the contribution of these unusual chemicals to the formation of harmful "green tide" seaweed blooms and the effects that that these chemicals have on the environment. We have discovered that many of these unusual chemicals serve as “signals” that mediate interactions among the plants and seaweeds that produce them and other organisms, such as herbivores, competitors, and symbionts. Often, the production of these chemicals is either triggered or reduced by adverse or altered environmental conditions such as drying during low tide, high temperatures, high levels of light or UV radiation, changes in the availability of nutrients, or injury by animals.