A major focus of our research is to study the physiology and performance of marine organisms in response to both present-day environmental conditions and to conditions expected for ocean conditions in the future. One of our key research strategies is to co-locate sensors with biology. Using pH sensors across biogeographic ranges, we are able to capture the pH exposure of local populations and study differences in pH tolerance and adaptation.
Epigenetic mechanisms can regulate plasticity, impacting how an organism interacts with its environment. We are using ecological epigenetics to investigate potential mechanisms for response to rapid environmental change. We use gene expression studies to explore the physiological response or marine invertebrates to environmental stressors and have attempted to bridge this approach to making contributions in conservation physiology. Research projects in this area are conducted on organisms from the California coast to coral reefs to Antarctica.
As a means of supporting and encouraging sustainable aquaculture practices, we have been working with mussel hatcheries. We are interested in how future ocean conditions will impact these important commercial fisheries organisms. In addition, we have projects that study the red urchin, a local species that is the source of uni.
The Hofmann lab has been doing research in McMurdo Station Antarctica since 2001. The first generation of Bravo 134 studied the thermal physiology and cold adaptation of Antarctic fish. The last two projects explore the impacts of ocean acidification in calcification-dependent marine invertebrates, the sea urchin Sterechinus neumayeri and the shelled pteropod, Limacina helicina antarctica.