- Ecology and evolution of infectious marine diseases
- The microbiome in health and disease
- Habitat-forming species
- Spatial ecology
- Global change
- Shellfish fisheries
My research focuses on health and disease in marine ecosystems, with a particular emphasis on foundation species that build valuable habitats. Understanding the conditions that promote healthy populations of corals and oysters is important because these foundation species build reefs that support biodiversity, ecosystem services, and coastal economies. My primary interest is in identifying how changing environments affect host-parasite interactions in marine foundation species. For example, I study how parasitic infections and host immunity respond to warming oceans, metal pollution, co-infecting parasites, and fisheries management. I also explore how the host microbiome varies across spatial environmental gradients with the goal of determining how the microbiome contributes to different disease outcomes. In addition to studying marine host-parasite interactions, I am broadly interested in the question: How does the environment alter ecosystem function through effects on species interactions? Understanding ecosystem-level consequences of parasitism and other species interactions is an interdisciplinary pursuit. As a result, I welcome diverse collaborations and employ many tools, including field surveys, field and mesocosm experiments, histology, remote sensing, spatial analyses in GIS, molecular biology, and genetics. I apply the results of my research to ecological problems by engaging with community members, resource managers, and other interested stakeholders.
Follow on twitter @amtracy8