Rosenberg Institute Seminar Series - Gail Ashton

Wednesday, April 12, 2023
Event Time 03:40 p.m. - 04:40 p.m. PT
Location BCC and Zoom
Contact Email


Gail Ashton, Marine Biologist, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center

Experimenting around climate change: predicting the marine invertebrate response

Ocean warming associated with climate change is an inconvenient truth for the future. We are scrambling to keep ahead of warming in terms of our understanding of how communities will respond. Dr. Ashton will present results from two of her research projects which both used manipulations of marine invertebrate communities to inform our understanding of the likely influence of future ocean warming. The first study warmed invertebrates on the seafloor in Antarctica, considered to be among the fastest warming regions of the world’s ocean. The second convened over 60 collaborators to deploy a standardized experiment at locations spanning 115 degrees of latitude to investigate how the influence of predators on marine communities changes with latitude and/or temperature. She will discuss the benefits of using manipulation experiments to inform our understanding, along with their limitations. Through these studies she will illustrate her interests in marine biodiversity research alongside some of her extra-curricular experiences that continue to fuel this interest.

Dr. Gail Ashton is a research scientist with the Marine Invasions Laboratory of the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. She gained her accent from the UK, where she grew up, completed a BSc in Marine Biology at the University of Wales, Swansea, followed by a PhD in Marine Invasion Ecology at the Scottish Association for Marine Science, Oban. She is broadly interested in marine biodiversity, and studies the introductions of non-native invertebrate species as a tool to interrogate elements of community ecology. Dr. Ashton is a keen traveler and moonlights as an Undersea Specialist on cruise ships in cold places.