Michelle Jungbluth


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Adjunct Assistant Professor of Biology
Biological Oceanography and Molecular Biology
(415) 435-7127



I am interested in resolving the stories of intense biological warfare occurring at the base of aquatic food webs between predators and their prey. Since the balance of any aquatic environment is at the whim of human influence, it is important to know how predator-prey interactions vary when prey assemblages change. Much of the work I do involves designing and applying molecular assays to investigate the diets of hard-to-study organisms like copepods, designing and applying assays for novel applications like estimating plankton abundance or biomass, and using high-throughput DNA sequencing to study plankton diet and species diversity and distribution. Recent work applied next-generation DNA sequencing techniques to reveal the invisible contributors to the diets of larval fishes in the San Francisco Estuary, with a specific interest in the feeding habits of the longfin smelt, an historically important but now threatened forage fish in the Estuary. I used molecular techniques to investigate how the larval fish diet differs across different habitats within the Estuary, how feeding habits change over development, and how the diet of the longfin smelt compares to that of co-occurring fishes. I am trained as a biological oceanographer who has done extensive work with microscopic crustaceans, in DNA barcoding individual zooplankton, and in applying novel molecular techniques to answer important aquatic ecological questions.


Selected publications

Jungbluth, M.J., Burns, J., Grimaldo, L., Katla, A., and Kimmerer, W. (In Press, 2021) Feeding habits and novel prey of larval fishes in the northern San Francisco Estuary. eDNA. Preprint doi: 10.1101/2020.10.18.344440

Jungbluth, M.J., Lee, C., Patel, C., Ignoffo, T., and Kimmerer, W. (2020). Production of the copepod Pseudodiaptomus forbesi is not enhanced by ingestion of the diatom Aulacoseira granulata during a bloom. Estuaries and Coasts. doi: 10.1007/s12237-020-00843-9 Online Access: https://rdcu.be/b8lUk

Kersten, O., Vetter, E.W., Jungbluth, M.J., Smith, C. R., & Goetze, E. (2019). Larval assemblages over the abyssal plain in the Pacific are highly diverse and spatially patchy. PeerJ, 36. doi: 10.7717/peerj.7691

Millette, N.C., Grosse, J., Johnson, W.M., Jungbluth, M.J., and Suter, E. 2018. Hidden in plain sight: The importance of cryptic interactions in marine plankton. Limnology and Oceanography Letters. 3: 341-356. doi: 10.1002/lol2.10084 (Open Access)

Selph, K.E., Goetze, E., Jungbluth, M.J., Lenz, P.H., and Kolker, G. 2018. Microbial food web connections and rates in a subtropical embayment. Marine Ecology Progress Series. 590: 19-34. doi: 10.3354/meps12432

Jungbluth, M.J., Selph, K.E., Lenz, P.H., & Goetze, E. 2017. Species-specific grazing and significant trophic impacts by two species of copepod nauplii, Parvocalanus crassirostris and Bestiolina similis. Marine Ecology Progress Series. 572: 57-76. doi:10.3354/meps12139

Roncalli, V., Jungbluth, M.J., Lenz, P.H., 2016. Glutathione S-Transferase regulation in Calanus finmarchicus feeding on the toxic dinoflagellate Alexandrium fundyense. PLoS ONE. 11: e0159563.

Jungbluth, M.J, Goetze, E, & Lenz, P.H. 2013. Measuring copepod naupliar abundance in a subtropical bay using quantitative PCR. Marine Biology. 160: 3125-3141. doi: 10.1007/s00227-013-2300-y

Jungbluth, M.J., & Lenz, P.H. 2013. Copepod diversity in a subtropical bay based on a fragment of the mitochondrial COI gene. Journal of Plankton Research. 35: 630-643. doi: 10.1093/plankt/fbt015