Michael Fox

I am interested in the ecology of foundation species (e.g. kelps, corals), or species whose presence can define an entire ecosystem. Specifically, I am interested in the effects of both natural and anthropogenic disturbances on these species and their associated communities. As a student in the Phycology lab I have designed a research project that integrates large scale changes in oceanographic climate with small scale changes in physiology that regulate recovery from disturbance in giant kelp, Macrocystis pyrifera.

The exceptional morphologic and physiologic plasticity within Macrocystis has allowed it to become the most globally successful kelp species. Despite extensive knowledge of Macrocystis biology few studies have examined the physiological mechanisms for recovery from disturbance within this species. Climate models suggest an intensification of North Pacific winter storms and a concomitant increase in significant wave heights, both of which are sources of  considerable biomass loss and mortality within Macrocystis populations in California. By understanding the physiologic responses of Macrocystis to climate driven disturbance we will be able to more accurately forecast how these critically important ecosystems will respond to future climate change.

 My research utilizes natural variations in the oceanographic climate of central California and a series of subtidal experiments to investigate the effects of biomass loss on the growth and resource physiology of Macrocystis pyrifera







Contact info:

Mike Fox
Phycology Lab
Moss Landing Marine Laboratories
8272 Moss Landing Rd
Moss Landing, CA 95039
Office: (831) 771-4421
Cell: (619) 922-4310
Fax: (831) 632-4403