I am a biological oceanographer. My research interests are in the biology, ecology and evolution of planktonic organisms, particularly pelagic copepods and toxic dinoflagellates. Earlier in my career I investigated questions dealing with the role of planktonic organisms in biogeochemical cycles in the ocean, and the formation and fate of marine aggregates. Currently, my interests deal with questions of the evolutionary ecology of plankton. My proudest professional achievement is training of some excellent graduate students. I encourage my students to become critical thinkers, to work on important questions in the field and to publish their work in a timely manner.
Interaction of Grazers and Toxic Algae. Toxic algal blooms are proliferating worldwide, but we understand little of the consequences of such proliferation. We are currently interested in the evolution of grazer adaptation to phytoplankton neurotoxins produced by the dinoflagellate Alexandrium. We have experimentally demonstrated that populations of grazers that experience frequent blooms of toxic Alexandrium have a fitness advantage over those populations that do not frequently experience such blooms; we have developed methods to identify phenotypes of adaptation to toxic algae and measured costs and advantages of toxin adaptation. We are also actively working on the molecular mechanisms of grazer adaptation to the toxins produced by Alexandrium. New areas of research in the lab are: 1) Novel mechanisms of toxicity (reactive oxygen species) in Alexandrium. 2) Costs and advantages of toxin production in Alexandrium. 3) Grazer-induced toxicity in Alexandrium.
Recent Research Grants
Transgenerational phenotypic and genomic responses of marine copepods to the interactive effects of temperature and CO2. National Science Foundation.
Response of zooplankton to projected changes in temperature in Long Island Sound – NOAA, CT Sea Grant Program
Collaborative Research: Costs and advantages of a novel sodium channel mutation. – National Science Foundation
Chemical defenses in a toxic dinoflagellate: Mechanisms and constraints – National Science Foundation
Monitoring mesozooplankton and microzooplankton in Long Island Sound. – Environmental Protection Agency/CT DEEP
Jimmy deMayo – Ph.D. Student
Gihong Park – Ph.D. Student
Matthew Sasaki – Ph.D. Student
Former Students (alphabetically)
Christina Batoh – Ph.D. 2012
Zair Burris – Ph.D. 2014
Mari Butler – M.Sc. 1993
Lihua Chen – Ph.D. 2010
Sean Colin – Ph.D. 2002
Ben Cournoyer – M.Sc. 2013
David Detlor – M.Sc. 1998
Leah Feinberg – M.Sc. 1998
Michael Finiguerra – Ph.D. 2013
Michael Ford – M.Sc. 2000
Sheean Haley – M.Sc. 2002
Caroline A. Loglisci – M.Sc. 2007
Kimberly Philips – M.Sc. 1996
Amy Smith Siuda – Ph.D. 2007
Kam Tang – Ph.D. 2000
Xinsheng Zhang – Ph.D. 1997
Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (2015)
Sustaining Fellow, Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (2016)
Member of the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences (2009)
Member of the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering (2007)
National Science Foundation Ocean Sciences CAREER award (1995)
Augmentation award for science and engineering training (AASERT) from the Office of Naval Research (1994)
Recent Representative Publications
Rice, E., H.G. Dam and G. Stewart. 2014. Impact of climate change on estuarine zooplankton: Surface water warming in Long Island Sound is associated with changes in copepod size and community structure. Estuaries and Coasts. 38: 13-23.
Sent-Batoh, C., H.G. Dam, S.E. Shumway, G.H. Wikfors and C.D. Schlichting. 2015. Influence of predator-prey evolutionary history, chemical alarm-cues and feeding selection on induction of toxin production in a marine dinoflagellate. Limnol. Oceanogr. 60:318-328.
Finiguerra. M., D.E. Avery and H.G. Dam. 2015. Determining the advantages, costs, and trade-offs of a novel sodium channel mutation in the copepod Acartia hudsonica to Paralytic Shellfish Toxins (PST). PLoS ONE. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0130097
Chen. L, H. Zhang, M. Finiguerra,Y. Bobkov, C. Bouchard, , D. E. Avery, P. A. V. Anderson, S. Lin and H. G. Dam. 2015. A novel mutation from gene splicing of a voltage-gated sodium channel in a marine copepod and its potential effect on channel function. J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol. 469: 131-142.
Zhang, H., M. Finiguerra, H.G. Dam, Y. Huang, D. Xu, G. Liu, S. Lin. 2013. An improved method for achieving high-quality RNA for copepod gene transcriptomic studies. J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol. 446:57-66.