Rebecca Shipe

Adjunct Associate Professor 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.

SELECTED Publications

Shipe, R. F. and Brzezinski, M.A. (1999) A study of Si deposition synchrony 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 andOceanography.44(5):1282–1292.

Shipe, R. F. and Brzezinski, M.A. (2001) A time-series study of silica production and flux in an eastern boundary region: Santa Barbara Basin, California. Global Biogeochemical Cycles 15:517-531.

Shipe, R. F., Passow, U., Brzezinski, M.A., Graham, M.A., Pak, D.K. Siegel, D.A. andAlldredge, A. L. (2002) Effects of the 1997-98 El Niño on seasonal variations in suspended and sinking particles in the Santa Barbara Basin.Progress in Oceanography.54:105-127.

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

Shipe, R.F., Curtaz, J.,Capone, D. G. and Carpenter, E. J. (2006)Diatom biomass and productivity in oceanic and plume-influenced waters of the western tropical Atlantic Ocean, Deep Sea Research I. 53:1320-1334.

Shipe R.F., Carpenter E.J., Govil S. and Capone D.G. (2007) Limitation of phytoplankton production by Si and N in the western Atlantic Ocean. Marine Ecology Progress Series 338:33-45.

Subramaniam, A., Yager, P.L., Carpenter, E. J., Mahaffey, C., Bjorkman, K., Cooley, S., Kustka, A.B., Montoya, J.P., Sanudo-Wilhelmy, S., Shipe, R. and Capone, D.G. (2008) Amazon River enhances diazotrophy and carbon sequestration in the Tropical North Atlantic Ocean, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, 105:10460-10465.

Shipe, R.F., A. Leinweber, and N. Gruber (2008) Abiotic controls of potentially harmful algal blooms in Santa Monica Bay, California. Continental Shelf Research, 28:2584-2593.

Corcoran, A.A., Reifel, K.M., Jones, B.H. and Shipe, R.F. (2010) Spatiotemporal development of physical, chemical and biological characteristics of stormwater plumes in Santa Monica Bay, California (USA) Journal of Sea Research, 63:129-142.

Corcoran, A. A. and Shipe, R.F. (2011) Inshore-offshore and vertical patterns of phytoplankton biomass and community composition in Santa Monica Bay, CA (USA), Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 94: 24-35.

Leblanc, K., Arístegui, J., Armand, L., Assmy, P., Beker, B., Bode, A., Breton, E., Cornet, V., Gibson, J., Gosselin, M.P., Kopczynska, E., Marshall, H., Peloquin, J., Piontkovski, S., Poulton, A.J., Quéguiner, B., Schiebel, R., Shipe, R., Stefels, J., van Leeuwe, M.A., Varela, M., Widdicombe, C., and Yallop, M.(2012) A global diatom database – abundance, biovolume and biomass in the world ocean. Earth System Science Data, 4:149-165.

Reifel, K.M, Corcoram, A.A., Cash, C., Shipe, R.F. and Jones, B.H. (2013) Effects of a Surfacing Effluent Plume on a Coastal Phytoplankton Community.Continental Shelf Research 60: 38-50.