Jennifer Burnaford, Ph.D. Oregon State University
Assistant Professor of Biological Science
Personal Web Site: coming soon
As a marine community ecologist, I study species interactions in the intertidal zone of rocky and sandy shores. My research program has two main foci: 1) evaluating the effects of low-tide abiotic conditions on species interactions and community structure, and 2) determining how species interactions shape the community impacts of invasive species in intertidal systems.
At low tide, the marine animals and algae in the intertidal zone are exposed to terrestrial conditions. As the tides go out, these organisms experience rapidly changing temperatures, increased light levels (both PAR and UVR) and a variety of other environmental factors that can affect an organismÕs performance. My students and I combine field and laboratory studies to investigate the effects of low-tide exposure on the physiology of target species and the interactions between competitors, predators, and prey. Because of the diversity of organisms in the intertidal zone, there are many options for student research on this topic. Studies conducted by some of my recent students include: an investigation of the effects of UV radiation on habitat choice in the sea star Pisaster ochraceus, an investigation of the effects of low-tide temperatures on the metabolic rate of Pisaster ochraceus, and studies of feeding preferences and spatial patterns of herbivory by molluscan herbivores on rocky benches.
I am also interested in understanding how interactions between native and invasive species affect the establishment and persistence of the invasive species in intertidal systems. Currently I am addressing this topic on sandy shores in the Pacific Northwest, focusing on a system in which native crabs (in the genus Pinnixa) steal food from an invasive clam (the purple varnish clam Nuttallia obscurata). Pea crabs such as Pinnixa live inside the mantle cavity of their bivalve hosts and steal food off of the hostÕs gills. My work in this system has focused on determining the pattern of pea-crab infection at different sites, quantifying the effects of the crabs on the clam, and examining the importance of the clam to pea crab populations.
Burnaford, J. L., and M. Vasquez. 2008. Solar radiation plays a role in habitat selection by the sea star Pisaster ochraceus. Marine Ecology Progress Series368:177-187.
Hofmann, G. E., J. L. Burnaford, and K. T. Fielman. 2005. Genomics-fueled approaches to current challenges in marine ecology. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 20:305-311.
Burnaford, J. L. 2004. Habitat modification and refuge from sublethal stress drive a marine plant-herbivore association. Ecology 85:2837-2849.
Menge, B. A., B. A. Daley, J. Lubchenco, E. Sanford, E. P. Dahlhoff, P. M. Halpin, G. Hudson, and J. L. Burnaford. 1999. Top-down and bottom-up regulation of New Zealand rocky intertidal communities. Ecological Monographs 69:297-330.