ES rocks marine science conference!

Hi, ES folks –

            ES students Brittany Jones and Mitchell Jones presented their ES 460 results at the 41st annual Benthic Ecology Conference, the largest international conference on seafloor ecology.  Mitchell beat out hundreds of graduate students to win 3rd prize in the student poster competition!  Yee-ha!

            Recent ES alums Sara Coleman (now a grad student at the Marine Science Program at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) and Theresa Davenport (College of William and Mary’s Virginia Institute of Marine Science) also presented the results of their on-going graduate research.

            For details see below.

            ES rocks! – John

Here are the titles of their presentations:

Brittany Jones, Mitchell Jones, and John Commito

“Go with the Flow: Biogenic Structure Types Alter Bedload Transport and Dispersal Dynamics of Macrofauna and Meiofauna in Maine Mussel Beds.”

This project examined the effects of structural seafloor “roughness elements” on small-scale hydrodynamic processes in the Gulf of Maine.  The authors showed that mussel bed topography significantly alters flux rates of sediment and invertebrate animals, with implications for carbon sequestration and the maintenance of seafloor biodiversity.

Mitchell Jones, Brittany Jones, and John Commito

"Mussel Beds Are Mostly…Mud and Shells, not Mussels!  Ecosystem Engineer Cover Types Alter Sediment, Macrofauna, and Meiofauna in Maine, USA."

The research characterized the spatial distribution of mussel bed biogenic structure — live mussels, empty shells, and fragmented shell material.  It demonstrated significant impacts of this augmented habitat complexity on sediment characteristics and the biodiversity of seafloor organisms that inhabit the Gulf of Maine coastal zone.

Sara Coleman, Joel F. Fodrie, and Niels Lindquist  “Interactive Effects of a Bioeroder and Predators on Eastern Oyster Mortality.”

The researchers demonstrated that oysters infested with a sponge species that bores into their shells causes significant weakening, which makes the commercially valuable oysters susceptible to higher rates of predation by crabs.   

Theresa M. Davenport and Rochelle D. Seitz

“Impacts of Shoreline Development on Near-Shore Communities of Chesapeake Bay: Before and After.”

The authors demonstrated that altering the shoreline with seawalls and other “hard” structures has significant negative impacts on coastal habitats and the organisms that live in them.

John A. Commito


Environmental Studies Department

Gettysburg College

Gettysburg, PA 17325 USA


Phone:    717-337-6030

Fax:        717-337-8550