Get to know the people of the Lake Baikal Dimensions of Biodiversity project:
Dr. Stephanie Hampton is a plankton biologist and Deputy Director at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS), UC Santa Barbara. Dr. Hampton mainly works on statistical analysis of the long-term plankton data set.
Dr. Chris Klausmeier is an associate professor of plant biology at Michigan State University who uses mathematical models to understand plankton ecology and evolution.
Dr. Elena Litchman is an associate professor of zoology at Michigan State University. She uses experiments, field sampling, and modeling to explore how the interplay between biotic and abiotic drivers structure phytoplankton communities.
Dr. Marianne Moore, a biology professor at Wellesley College, has conducted research with her students on the behavior and distribution of plankton and fish in L. Baikal since 2001. She still finds the lake to be a biologist’s wet dream!
Dr. Edward Theriot is the Jane and Roland Blumberg Centennial Professor of Molecular Evolution at the University of Texas at Austin as well as the director of the Texas Natural Science Center. His research deals with molecular systematics and phylogenetics of diatoms.
Dr. Lev Yampolsky is an associate professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at East Tennessee State University. His work will involve population genetics and heat tolerance of Lake Baikal zooplankton.
Dr. Lyubov Izmest’eva is a limnologist with expertise in phytoplankton ecology, who led the Scientific Research Institute of Biology at Irkutsk State University. She co-edited the well-known book Lake Baikal: Evolution & Biodiversity (1998), and she has extensive experience working on Lakes Baikal, Nyasa (Tanzania), Khovsgol (Mongolia), and reservoirs (Irkutsk, Bratsk, Ust-Ilimsk) of the Angara River in Siberia. Dr. Izmest’eva and her late mother Olga Kozhova have maintained the the Lake Baikal long-term research program that Dr. Izmest’eva’s grandfather Mikhail Kozhov began in 1945. (Read more)
Dr. Eugene Silow is a Principal Research Fellow of the Scientific Research Institute of Biology and the UNESCO Chair of Water Resources at Irkutsk State University. He is an aquatic ecologist with expertise in theoretical modeling and experimental limnology. He has conducted in-situ mesocosm experiments in Lake Baikal enabling him to parameterize a model exploring how contaminants affect the structure and function of the Baikal plankton community, work published in a variety of international journals including Ecological Modeling and Ecological Indicators.
(Info coming soon)
Dr. Steve Katz is a marine scientist at NOAA’s Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. His expertise ranges from biomechanics to time series analysis and fisheries biology. Dr. Katz has been collaborating with this Baikal team since 2008 when he became interested in the large-scale climate signals present in the long-term Baikal data.
Dr. Derek Gray is an aquatic ecologist interested in studying the effects of environmental change on plankton communities in freshwater habitats. For this project, he will use the unique 60-year data set to determine the main environmental drivers of zooplankton community dynamics and evaluate whether endemic species are likely to be replaced by common cosmopolitan species.
Dr. Ted Ozersky is a postdoctoral fellow at Wellesley College. He is interested in how abiotic factors shape biological communities and how, in turn, community structure affects the flow of material and energy through aquatic ecosystems. Dr. Ozersky is working with the zooplankton of Lake Baikal to determine how a changing climate will affect community structure and diversity of the zooplankton in this unique lake.
Dr. Sabine Wollrab is a theoretical ecologist interested in food web dynamics and community structure and how they are influenced by environmental stressors. In this project one aim is to develop a model that enables mechanistic insight into plankton dynamics of Lake Baikal. This shall help in the ultimate goal, the development of a trait-based model to forecast how the community of Lake Baikal will be affected by climate warming and what to expect about how endemic versus cosmopolitan species are able to adapt to warmer temperatures.
Larry Bowman, Jr. was previously a graduate student in Dr. Lev Yampolsky’s lab at East Tennessee State University. He is currently a Ph.D. student studying plankton population genetics with Dr. David Post at Yale University. He is interested in both the genotypic and phenotypic responses of populations to changes in local environment. He uses various molecular techniques to quantify expression and differentiation among subpopulation lineages. He is motivated by intraspecific diversity, eco-evolutionary feedbacks, and population dynamics in zooplankton.
Mariska Brady is a Ph.D. student studying diatom evolution with Dr. Edward Theriot at the University of Texas at Austin. She is interested in diatom phylogeography, specifically how genetic variation is partitioned within and among closely related species that exhibit different distributions from narrow to widespread.
Teofil Nakov is a graduate student in Dr. Theriot’s lab at The University of Texas at Austin. He studies diatom evolution using phylogenetic trees. Including inferring evolutionary histories of species and populations, and using these phylogenies to ask questions about the evolution of traits.
Danny O’Donnell is a graduate student at Michigan State University, advised by Dr. Litchman. Danny studies trait-based community ecology of phytoplankton, with an emphasis on rapid evolution and eco-evolutionary feedbacks. He is particularly interested in effects of temperature, nutrients, and grazer cues on the evolution of phytoplankton traits involved in competition and defense.
Paul Wilburn is a PhD student in Dr. Litchman’s lab at Michigan State University. His research explores how metabolic constraints on plasticity and evolvability drive spatial and temporal heterogeneity of diverse phytoplankton taxa. Paul has a background in biochemistry and molecular biology and joined the Baikal Dimensions team after four years in the algae biotechnology industry.
Katie Wright recently graduated from Wellesley College with a degree in Biology, and is excited to join the team as Dr. Moore’s research assistant. Her previous research experience involved investigating population dynamics in black sea bass at Rutgers University.
Matthew Osmond is a research assistant with Drs. Chris Klausmeier and Elena Litchman at the Kellogg Biological Station, Michigan State University. He is developing mathematical models to investigate the potential evolutionary response of Lake Baikal’s plankton community to warming temperatures.
Kirill Shchapov, a 2011 graduate of ISU, works with Drs. Zhenya Silow and Lyubov Izmest’eva on chlorophyll seasonal and inter-annual dynamics in the south basin of Lake Baikal. As a recipient of a Howard Hughes Summer Research Fellowship, he investigated effects of ultra-violet radiation on zooplankton vertical migration in New England lakes with Dr. Marianne Moore in 2011. Kirill has assisted our team with our research and outreach at Baikal and is currently on a yearlong exchange at Michigan State University.
Kara Woo has a background in environmental science and Russian language and is the project’s information manager. In addition to ensuring that data for the project are managed responsibly, she assists with project logistics, translation, and maintenance of the blog.