I joined the Hofmann lab in 2016 with an interest in the mechanisms marine invertebrates utilize in response to environmental stress. Understanding these mechanisms may be increasingly important when predicting the effect climate change (ocean acidification and warming) will have on the abundance and diversity of future populations. As the early life stages of marine invertebrates are particularly vulnerable to these stressors, I approach my research questions focused on the early developmental and larval timepoints of the invertebrate life cycle.
My research specifically explores the interplay between adaptation and acclimation (via phenotypic plasticity) in a changing environment using the ecologically relevant purple urchin species, Strongylocentrotus purpuratus. I am currently investigating DNA methylation patterns and abundance within sea urchin larvae to elucidate the role of epigenetic inheritance as a mechanism of transgenerational plasticity. I also plan to use these techniques in order to determine whether different populations of locally adapted S. purpuratus vary in their reliance on these epigenetic mechanisms when confronted with ocean acidification and temperature stress.
Carlson, M.C.G., McCary, N.D., Leach, T.S., and Rocap, G. (2016) Pseudo-nitzschia Challenged with Co-occurring Viral Communities Display Diverse Infection Phenotypes. Front. Microbiol. 7:527. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2016.00527
Hofmann, G.E., Wong, J.M., Bachhuber, S., Sugano, C.S., Leach, T.S., Johnson, K.M., and Hoshijima, U. Transgenerational effects in purple sea urchins, Strongylocentrotus purpuratus: Conditioning of adults to variable pCO2 and temperature alters features of the progeny. In preparation.