J. Ben Lowen
Post-doctoral Fellow. Population ecology of invasive ascidians in Newfoundland. 2009-present
After receiving a B.Sc. Honours in Marine Biology at the University of Aberdeen (Scotland), and a M.Sc. in Aquaculture at the University of Stirling (Scotland), I went on to work as an aquatic ecological consultant for Stirling Aquaculture. I continued my graduate studies at Memorial University, where I completed a Ph.D. in Marine Ecology. During my doctoral research, I developed and tested a theoretical framework to determine how resource allocation trade-offs can explain the life-history patterns and, ultimately coexistence, of hybridizing congeners (Mytilus edulis and M. trossulus) competing for space and a shared resource. In addition to collaborating with graduate students K. Ma and G. Applin in the Deibel lab, my current post-doctoral research encompasses three themes:
i) Life history adaptations to thermal limits for growth and reproduction in a sub-arctic population of Botryllus schlosseri. B. schlosseri represents a useful model for testing theory as to how temperate ectotherms dispersing to colder environments, at the limits of their distributional range, can evolve to achieve reproductive success. The results of this work can also be applied to model the population demography of B. schlosseri in different thermal environments, and, as part of a mitigation strategy, determine when and where to target any mitigation effort.
ii) Inducible defensive responses in blue mussels following overgrowth by B. schlosseri. The findings constitute a novel interpretation as to how competitive interactions, by inducing defensive responses, can drive trophic interactions and thus play an important role in shaping community structure.
iii) Aggregation behavior of recently settled B. schlosseri in response to varying adult density- do B. schlosseri recruit's preferentially settle in areas of low or high colony density?