Changes in the Benthic Communities in the Gulf of Maine: Here Comes the Invasives!

  • 10/18/2012 | 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM
  • Location: Druckenmiller Hall, Room 020
  • Event Type: Seminar

Changes in the Benthic Communities in the Gulf of Maine: Here Comes the Invasives!
Larry Harris, Center for Marine Biology, Department of Zoology, University of New Hampshire

Research Emphasis
I was trained as an invertebrate zoologist with strong interests in life histories, behavior, and offensive and defensive strategies between members of associations. My research is most accurately described as quantitative and manipulative natural history. I am particularly interested in organisms and how they are adapted to their systems. This would be in contrast to a more theoretical approach that places primary emphasis on testing general models. Both are important-I just happen to like living animals first.
My primary focus is on the ecology of species-specific, predator-prey associations and the role of predation in early community succession. There are two groups of organisms that are my favorites for research, cnidarians and nudibranchs. Both of these are predators so I can look at predation at more than one level in the same association.
I am also continuing some long-term subtidal community studies using both fouling panels and benthic communities. The manipulations involve substrate angle, predator access and depth. Three separate studies have been underway since the late 1970s and are becoming increasingly valuable for observing long-term trends and investigating the roles of new invaders into the Gulf of Maine system.
In the last few years I have become increasingly interested in understanding how sustained species exploitation by man influences community structure. I am presently trying to use this knowledge to develop an integrated approach for enhancing recruitment and growth of sea urchins that might result in a sustainable fishery with healthy benthic communities.