Kerry Whittaker – Marine Ecology

Dr. Kerry Whittaker

Dr. Kerry Whittaker

Kerry A. Whittaker




Carnegie Science Hall, Room 345B

Visiting Assistant Professor 2015-2017

Professor Whittaker’s research interests focus on the ecological, physical, and evolutionary processes that generate and maintain diversity in the ocean. She focuses on the vast molecular and functional diversity of marine phytoplankton, particularly diatoms.  Using molecular approaches, her work explores global structure of and gene flow among phytoplankton populations over time.  She is particularly interested in the relative influence of dispersal and environmental selection on the evolution of marine phytoplankton, as single cells constantly drifting with the tides and currents.  Marine phytoplankton play an important role in regulating Earth’s climate through the fixation of carbon, and as a vital step in the biological carbon pump.  By identifying those factors influencing phytoplankton population structure, diversity, and evolution, Professor Whittaker hopes to better understand their potential for adaptation in a rapidly changing ocean.

Professor Whittaker’s courses will include Marine Ecology (Biology 313)  and Marine Biology (Bi/Ge 113).