What are my research interests?

In the Pose A Question post a reader asked…

What are your (research) interests? I personally tend to find some of the more exotic deep sea communities interesting– hydrothermal vent communities, whale falls, and life at the poles.

The simplest answer to this is the diversity and body size of deep-sea animals. My research often focuses on soft-bottom communities typical of most of the deep sea, but currently is moving toward seamounts. As such, my research often tends toward more general ecological and evolutionary questions that affect all organisms not just those in the deep.

What limits the maximum size an invertebrate can obtain?

What controls the number and composition of species in area?

How do these change through time and space and relate to gradients in environmental and biological factors?

As a graduate student I worked on how the environment through its control of body size and shell shape, influences biodiversity of deep-sea gastropods. In my first post-doctoral fellowship explored how large-scale deep-sea ecological/evolutionary processes mirrored those found in other systems. And in my current post-doctoral position at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, I am utilizing remote operated vehicles, combined with in situ manipulative experiments, to examine how local scale processes in food availability drive community assemblage and the effects of canyon dynamics on these processes.

You can visit my homepage for more on my research and pdf’s of my papers.

Dr. M (1801 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Executive Director of the Lousiana University Marine Consortium. He has conducted deep-sea research for 20 years and published over 50 papers in the area. He has participated in and led dozens of oceanographic expeditions taken him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses on how energy drives the biology of marine invertebrates from individuals to ecosystems, specifically, seeking to uncover how organisms are adapted to different levels of carbon availability, i.e. food, and how this determines the kinds and number of species in different parts of the oceans. Additionally, Craig is obsessed with the size of things. Sometimes this translated into actually scientific research. Craig’s research has been featured on National Public Radio, Discovery Channel, Fox News, National Geographic and ABC News. In addition to his scientific research, Craig also advocates the need for scientists to connect with the public and is the founder and chief editor of the acclaimed Deep-Sea News (http://deepseanews.com/), a popular ocean-themed blog that has won numerous awards. His writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web.