Rosenberg Institute Spring Seminar Series - Michelle Jungbluth


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May 11 at 3:40 p.m.  |  Zoom registration

Revealing the hidden diversity, abundance, and feeding interactions at the base of aquatic food webs

Michelle Jungbluth, Adjunct Professor, Estuary & Ocean Science Center, San Francisco State University

There are millions of microscopic organisms in a cup of water from our estuary, yet we struggle to understand what they are, what they are doing, and what would happen if they disappear. From the bacteria, to primary producers and small aquatic crustaceans and everything in between, the planktonic organisms that form the base of aquatic food webs aren’t just passively drifting particles, they have unique behaviors and environmental roles that make them very interesting and important members of our ecosystems. Join Dr. Jungbluth to learn about the how and why of her past and recent explorations into the world of plankton. She will talk about developing a novel technique to measure plankton abundance and biomass using just an animal’s DNA. She will explore the diversity of organisms in the bacteria, phytoplankton, and microzooplankton that are fueling food webs in the San Francisco Estuary through dietary DNA sequencing. Finally, she will share her recent discoveries about similarities and differences in the diets of larval fishes, many of which are less than a centimeter long, that have important implications for our understanding of how the estuarine food web is functioning today.

Dr. Michelle Jungbluth is Faculty Researcher at San Francisco State University’s Estuary and Ocean Science Center. She is an ecologist, naturalist, and oceanographer. In her career,she has primarily studied the biology and ecology of zooplankton -the animals that "drift" in the sea that form the critical base of aquatic food webs.Her expertise includes a combination of traditional and advanced molecular biological methods to characterize cryptic interactions in aquatic ecosystems. Dr. Jungbluth’s goal in her work, through revealing this world of the unknown,is tohelp us find more ways to prepare and prevent the changes that entire ecosystems will experience as a result of climate change.