Edward J. Buskey
Professor/Interim Chair, Department of Marine Science
Behavior and sensory perception of zooplankton; bioluminescence of marine plankton; predator-prey interactions; photobehavior; role of zooplankton grazers in phytoplankton bloom dynamics, effects of crude oil and dispersants on marine zooplankton.
My research interests in marine science have focused on studies of the behavioral ecology of marine zooplankton, and how sensory perception mediates behavioral adaptations for locating food resources, avoiding predators and finding mates. Much of this research makes use of video microcinematography, high speed digital holography and automated video-computer methods for image and motion analysis. I am particularly interested in the role of photoreception in mediating potential predator-prey interactions within the plankton, including the role of bioluminescence in nocturnal predator-prey interactions, the role of vision in the feeding of larval fish on zooplankton and the role of sunlight in vertical migration of oceanic plankton to avoid visual predators. I am also interested in the role of planktonic grazers in harmful algal bloom dynamics; several ongoing studies are investigating the role of grazers in bloom dynamics of the toxic red tide dinoflagellate Karenia brevis with funding from the Gulf of Mexico.
Within the Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve my laboratory runs the System Wide Monitoring Program (SWMP) which measures water quality at six stations within the reserve at 15 minute intervals. We also monitor nutrient concentrations and monitor phytoplankton and zooplankton populations on a monthly basis.
I am leading a consortium of six research institutions to study how physical processes and chemical dispersants break up crude oil patches in the sea, and the impacts of this dispersed oil on the base of the marine food web (bacteria, phytoplankton and zooplankton).