Hans G. Dam

(Ph.D., SUNY Stony Brook) Professor of Marine Sciences

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.

To learn more about me, see my CV.  For news about my lab’s activities, visit our Facebook page


Current Research Projects:

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.

Thermal & Hypercapnia Adaptation in Zooplankton. A formidable challenge to ocean scientists is to understand and predict the response of the biota to global change.We are currently working on understanding copepod adaptation to a green house world (high temperature and high carbon dioxide). For this purpose,  we study: 1) Within population variation to determine the potential for adaptation to increased temperature. 2) Among population differences to examine local adaptation to temperature and the mechanisms underlying it. 3) The effects of Interactions of elevated temperature and carbon dioxide on transgenerational plasticity of copepod life history traits.    
Oceanography and Management  of Long Island Sound. Long Island Sound is one of  the most urbanized estuaries in the world and faces multidimensional environmental management issues. I helped found the Long Island Sound Integrated Coastal Observing System (LISICOS) and keep an interest in water quality management for the Sound. In collaboration with G. McManus and the CT Dept. Energy  and Environmental Protection, we currently have a zooplankton monitoring program in place. Our interests is to understand how eutrophication and climate change affect zooplankton populations and communities.    

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

Current Students

Jimmy deMayo – Ph.D. Student

Ewaldo Leitao – 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

Gihong Park – Ph.D. 2018

Kimberly Philips – M.Sc. 1996

Amy Smith Siuda – Ph.D. 2007

Kam Tang – Ph.D. 2000

Xinsheng Zhang – Ph.D. 1997

Research Staff

Lydia Norton

Courses Taught

Graduate Courses: 
MARN 5010. Biological Oceanography

Honors Received

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

Click here to see my publication record (Googgle Scholar)

Click here to download my papers in Research Gate

Dam, H.G. Evolutionary adaptation of marine zooplankton to global change. 2013. Ann. Rev. Mar. Sci.  5: 349-370.

Dam, H.G. and H. Baumann. In press. Climate, zooplankton and fisheries. In: The Impacts of Climate Change on Fisheries and Aquaculture. B. Philips and M. Perez-Ramirez, Eds. Wiley. 

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.

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