Katie A. Dobkowski

Visiting Assistant Professor of Biology





I am a a marine ecologist and kelp enthusiast. My research takes place in the intertidal and nearshore subtidal, focusing on population biology of the west coast’s bull kelp (Nereocystis luetkeana) as well as how marine communities all over the world respond to ocean change.

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

I have taught a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses in the past, including marine biology, marine ecology, marine conservation biology, general ecology, and introductory biology, as well as helped teach field courses at Friday Harbor Labs and the National Institute of Biology in Piran, Slovenia.

Selected 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