Seminar- Dr. Iris Anderson, Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Event Date: March 23, 2017
Event Time: 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Location: Shelby Auditorium

Iris C. Anderson
Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences
College of William & Mary
Department of Biological Sciences
Professor of Marine Science

Dr. Anderson's seminar will address the  'Carbon Budget of a Shallow Lagoonal Estuary: Transformations and Source-sink Dynamics'.

Dr. Anderson received her Masters from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and her Ph.D. from the Medical College of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University.  Her research interests include:

Coastal systems are increasingly stressed by inputs of nutrients from land, groundwater, the atmosphere, and ocean.  Symptoms of nutrification include hypoxic (dead) zones and blooms of phytoplankton, macroalgae, and harmful algae.  We expect that these stresses will be exacerbated as climate change results in increased temperatures, storminess, and sea level rise.  

Dr. Anderson's research asks, what can we do about nutrient enrichment; what do we expect in the future?  She studies the sources and fates of nutrients, primarily nitrogen and carbon, in riverine and estuarine systems, marshes, and in shallow coastal embayments.  The fates of nutrients are influenced by microbial community composition, chemical, biological and physical regulators including the chemical composition of the nutrients, light quality and quantity, temperature, sediment type, dissolved oxygen, sediment resuspension, water column stratification, and water residence time. She uses a wide variety of state-of-the-art sensors and stable isotope techniques in the field and laboratory.  

Examples of projects that she is involved with include a Defense Coastal Estuarine Research program (DCERP) funded by the Department of Defense along with colleagues at the University of North Carolina, University of Connecticut and the NOAA Beaufort lab to develop carbon budgets for the New River estuary in North Carolina and for the adjacent marsh systems. Development of a carbon budget is a highly interdisciplinary exercise.  She works closely with estuarine, marsh and microbial ecologists, geologists, and modelers.  She has also just completed several studies demonstrating the effects of oysters and clams on sediment and water quality.  Although oysters under some environmental conditions play an important role in removing particulates and nitrogen and thereby improving water quality, the same may not be true of clams.  

Environmental context is all important in determining their impact on ecosystem health.

Current Projects

  • Defense Coastal/Estuarine Research Program (DCERP): Climatic Drivers Regulating Benthic–Pelagic Carbon and Associated Nutrient Exchanges in the New River Estuary
  • NSF-LTER: Long-Term Ecological Research on Disturbance, Succession, and Ecosystem State Change at the Virginia Coast Reserve.