We study environmental physiology of organisms to achieve two basic goals: (1) to explore the physiological linkages between environmental change (such as climate change) and ecosystem responses (such as shifting populations or alteration in species interactions), and (2) to learn more about the basic physiological mechanisms that organisms use in responding to their environments.
The main organisms that we study are coastal marine invertebrates including porcelain crabs in the genus Petrolisthes, but also other organisms such as corals and coccolithophores. The main research tools that we apply are in vivo physiological measurements, such as cardiac activity and metabolic rate, and molecular measurements at biochemical (e.g., enzymatic properties) and molecular levels (e.g., transcriptome profiling using cDNA microarrays). For our microarray studies, we generated a large set of EST sequences for Petrolisthes resulting in the most comprehensive functional genomics resource for any crab and the third largest for any crustacean.
Projects currently underway in our laboratory involve an examination of correlated changes in thermal phenotype and gene expression during thermal acclimation, acclimatization, and stress responses in porcelain crabs, functional genomics of porcelain crabs including construction of our microarray and sequence database PCAD, thermal biology of corals that survive extreme conditions in a Samoan lagoon, metabolic responses to environmental salinity change in an invasive clam in San Francisco Bay, and physiological and genomic responses of unicellular calcifying algae called coccolithophores to ocean acidification predicted by year 2100.
To learn more, please visit our laboratory website at http://online.sfsu.edu/~stillmaj