Katie Dobkowski – Marine Ecology

Dr. Katie Dobkowski

As global conditions change, nearshore marine environments are also shifting, forcing organisms to alter where or how they live in response to fluctuations in ocean chemistry and temperature. Understanding changes in distribution and abundance is especially important for foundation species, such as seaweed or seagrass, as well as benthic organisms that occupy space and create habitat. My research uses a combination of field and laboratory experiments to examine how species interactions influence nearshore environments (Dobkowski 2017; Dobkowski et al. in revision); I seek to facilitate undergraduate involvement in research by allowing students to ask their own questions under a broader project goal.

Global climate change is likely to influence not only abiotic conditions in the oceans, such as pH, temperature, and salinity, but also species distribution, abundance, and interactions. While research on the effect of single stressors provides a good starting point, evidence suggests that understanding the influence of multiple stressors will provide greater insight into how species will respond to future climate change.

The questions I will address are:

1.     How do multiple stressors influence successful life stage transitions in sugar kelp (Saccharina latissima)?

2.     How has recruitment and persistence of intertidal organisms changed with shifting environmental conditions?

Link to my website: kdobkowski.wordpress.com

Recent Publications

Dobkowski, K.A. 2017. The role of kelp crabs as consumers in bull kelp forests—evidence from laboratory feeding trials and field enclosures. PeerJ 5:e3372; DOI 10.7717/peerj.3372

Dobkowski, K.A., Kobelt, J., Brentin S.*, Van Alstyne K.L., Dethier, M.N. 2017. Picky Pugettia: a tale of two kelps. Marine Biology 164: 210; doi.org/10.1007/s00227-017-3244-4

* indicates undergraduate coauthor

Mentored Undergraduate Projects

2017 –  Sabrina Breton – Kelp diet preferences of the Northern kelp crab (Pugettia producta)

2016 – K. Darby Flanagan – Life or death in the Salish Sea: The impact of biotic factors on the lifecycle of Nereocystis luetkeana (co-mentor with Dr. Megan Dethier)

2016 – Winslow Lewis – Analysis of the developmental success of Nereocystis luetkeana at varying temperature

2016 – Gina Rudsill – Examining feeding patterns of three crab species in the Salish Sea: comparisons between herbivorous and detritivorous preference

2016 – Nadia Ahmed – Seasonal impacts on the breakage of Nereocystis luetkeana: a break in time

2016 – Juliette Birkner – How does Nereocystis size impact point of failure?