Rebecca Shipe

Assistant Researcher Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Tel: (310) 206-8409

Recent Courses

ENVIRON 14 - Ocean Environment
LIFESCI 1 - Evolution, Ecology, and Biodiversity
LIFESCI 1 - Evolution, Ecology, and Biodiversity

Research Interests

My primary research interests are the ecology and physiology of marine phytoplankton. The major focus of my work has been directed at determining the relationships between diatoms (Bacillariophyceae) and their environment, with specific attention to factors that control phytoplankton growth (from nutrient physiology to large scale climatic conditions such as ENSO cycles), and how these factors affect the contributions of phytoplankton to global matter budgets. In order to grow, diatoms require the element silicon, which is deposited in their cell walls. Knowledge of the cycling of silicon in marine systems is crucially important because diatoms are a dominant group of marine phytoplankton, which carry out a significant portion of primary production in eutrophic waters. They also contribute greatly to the export of organic matter from the surface oceans, with implications for the ability of the oceans to absorb atmospheric CO2. My work emphasizes the importance of species-specific processes and knowledge of the individual players in natural communities of plankton. I was able to develop a new microautoradiographic method that uses a radioactive isotope of silicon to study the localization of Si deposition in microplankton. This method can be used to study silica deposition in culture or in natural water samples and has many potential applications, including the study of species-specific Si production.

The techniques that I use include both laboratory work and cruises in both open ocean and coastal waters. I will also continue to work in the Southern California Bight region, which consists of several basins and is a natural laboratory for processes...In summary, I intend to continue to adopt a multidisciplinary approach that enables a more complete picture of the role of marine phytoplankton in biogeochemical cycles.

Recent Publications

Shipe, R.F. and Brzenzinski, M.A.. 2003. Siliceous plankton dominate primary and new productivity during the onset of El Nino conditions in the Santa Barbara Basin, California Journal of Marine Systems 42: 127-143.

Shipe, R.F., Passow, U., Pak, D., Graham, W., Brzezinski, M.A., Siegel, D.A., and Alldredge, A.L.. 2002. Effects of the 1997-98 El Nino on seasonal variations in suspended and sinking particles in the Santa Barbara basin Progress in Oceanography 54: 105-127.

Passow, U., Shipe, R.F., Pak. D., Brzezinski, M.A., and Alldredge, A.L.. 2000. Origin of TEP and their role in the sedimentation of particulate matter Continental Shelf Research 21: 327-346.

Shipe, R.F. and Brzezinski, M.A.. 2000. A time series study of silica production and flux in an eastern boundary region: Santa Barbara Basin, California Global Biogeochemical Cycles 15: 517-532 .

Shipe, R.F. and Brzezinski, M.A.. 1999. A study of Si deposition study in Rhizosolenia (Bacillariophyceae) mats using a novel ³²Si autoradiographic method Journal of Phycology 35: 995-1004.

Shipe, R.F., Brzezinski, M.A., Pilskaln, C. and Villareal, T.A.. 1999. Rhizosolenia mats: An overlooked source of silica production in the open sea Limnology and Oceanography 44: 1282-1292.

Villareal, T.A., Joseph, L., Brzezinski, M.A., Shipe, R.F., Lipschultz, F., and Altabet, M. A.. 1999. Biological and chemical characteristics of the giant diatom Ethmodiscus (Bacillariophyceae) in the Central North Pacific gyre Journal of Phycology 35: 896-902.