Phytoplankton Ecology

The Phytoplankton Ecology lab is a research unit of the Department of Biological Sciences at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William and Mary.

Our research interests are in phytoplankton ecology and biogeochemistry, and the processes that link the two. Much of our current focus is on the Southern Ocean and Ross Sea, and how environmental factors influence the production and photosynthesis of phytoplankton. Specifically, we are interested in how iron and irradiance influence the growth and production of phytoplankton, and will be participating in a project that uses in situ enrichment with iron and assesses the fluxes of carbon at various time scales. We are also interested in the patterns of nutrient removal (i.e., “net community production”) in the Ross Sea, and are investigating the interannual variations of NCP (and what factors contribute to these differences). We hope to expand these projects to work within the lower Chesapeake Bay in the near future.

Current Research
  • Effects of iron on phytoplankton-bacterial interactions 
  • Comparative modeling and data analysis for the Ross Sea and West Antarctic Peninsula
  • Interannual variations in the Antarctic- Ross Sea (IVARS): Nutrients and Seasonal Production
  • The Role of Dissolved Organic Carbon in Sequestering Carbon under Conditions of Oceanic Iron Fertilization
  • Collaborative Oceanographic Experiments within CLIMA
Contact Us
Phytoplankton Ecology, c/o Walker Smith
Virginia Institute of Marine Science
P.O. Box 1346, Gloucester Pt., VA  23062-1346, USA
Telephone:  804-684-7709;  FAX:  804-684-7293