I am an ecologist, naturalist, and marine biologist interested in the diversity of zooplankton and in the phenomena occurring at the base of the food web.
In my career as a scientist I have focused on a variety of studies of zooplankton - the animals that drift in the sea.
|Microscope work at sea, common for any zooplankton ecologist|
My technical expertise is primarily in DNA barcoding, quantitative PCR-based methods, and next-generation sequencing. I have also dabbled in DNA barcoding of deep-sea larval invertebrates - a location where we know almost nothing about organism diversity and even less about larval ecology.
I am currently wrapping up a project using DNA metabarcoding or community eDNA sequencing to study the larval diet of a threatened species of fish in the San Francisco Estuary - the longfin smelt (Spirinchus thaleichthyes). This fish is one of many struggling fishes in the San Francisco Estuary ecosystem and my work will help us to understand what food resources they need to survive and whether food is what is limiting their populations.
We have a NEW bioRxiv pre-print available on my larval diet metabarcoding work! doi: 10.1101/2020.10.18.344440
I am also interested in the cryptic interactions that occur in marine plankton (Millette et al.,2018 Limnology and Oceanography Letters)
As well as what goes on in places like the deep sea.
Kersten et al., 2019 "Larval assemblages over the abyssal plain in the Pacific are highly diverse, novel, and spatially patchy" https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.7691
In order to study copepod populations at a finer scale, I have further developed a DNA-based method that allows me to estimate animal abundance using a combination of size-based separation and quantification of species-specific DNA (Jungbluth et al., 2013 Marine Biology doi: 10.1007/s00227-013-2300-y).
I have also dabbled in diet studies marine copepods and their offspring (Jungbluth et al., 2017 Marine Ecology Progress Series, doi: 10.3354/meps12139)
and am now using high-throughput DNA sequencing to investigate the phytoplankton and microzooplankton food that supports copepods in the San Francisco Estuary.
Check out my Publications for more info on my past work
Twitter: @ShellyFish311Tweets by @DrShellyJ
2018-present, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Biology, San Francisco State University, Estuary & Ocean Science Center
2017-2019, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, San Francisco State University, Estuary & Ocean Science Center
2016, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Hawaii Pacific University
2016 PhD Oceanography, University of Hawaii
2012 MS Oceanography, University of Hawaii
2007 BS Biology, University of Wisconsin
Selected Awards and Honors
Delta Science Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, NOAA-Sea Grant California, May 2017-May 2019
Invited to speak during the closing session of the 6th international ICES/PICES Zooplankton Production Symposium, Bergen, Norway, May 2016
Awarded funding to hold a professional development workshop: Improvisation for Scientists, Honolulu, HI, April 2015
Outstanding Student Presentation Award, 2014 Ocean Sciences Conference, Honolulu, HI, February 2014
Teaching & Mentorship
Mentor and Committee Member Graduate student M.S. Thesis Project, 2018-present
Research mentor, STAR Stem Teacher and Researcher program at SFSU, 2019
Research mentor, NSF REU-BREED program at SFSU, 2019
Guest lecturer, MSCI 709: Case studies in the San Francisco Estuary, San Francisco State University, Estuary & Ocean Science Center, 2019
Introduction to Oceanography, Lead Teaching Assistant, University of Hawaii at Manoa
Mentor for graduates and undergraduates in the laboratory
One of the perks of being a scientist is attending conferences and being invited to present about my work! I have been lucky enough to present in locations like Honolulu, San Francisco, New Orleans, Bergen Norway, and Naples Italy!
Check out my Full CV for more details!
Exhibit Leader California Academy of Sciences Women in Science Night, 2019
Exhibit Leader School of Ocean Earth Science and Technology Open House outreach event- Zooplankton: Microscopic Ocean Drifters, 2013, 2015, 2017
Officer Professional Development and Training Program, 2015-2016
Chair Science Communicators ‘Ohana, 2014-2015
President Na Kama Kai oceanography graduate student organization, 2014-2015
Member Mentoring Network, 2014-2015
Organizer Student committee member representative of The Oceanography Society, for the 2014 Ocean Sciences Meeting, 2013-2014
Vice President Na Kama Kai Oceanography graduate student organization, 2013-2014
Founder and regular contributor, Real Science at SOEST Blog, 2013-2016
Member of: Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography, The Oceanography Society, World Association of Copepodologists, American Microscopical Society, The Crustacean Society, Graduate Women in Science, American Association for Advancement of Science
Reviewer for: Marine Biology, Journal of Plankton Research, Bioinvasions Records
I am continuing my work on exciting projects as a Researcher at the San Francisco State University Estuary & Ocean Science Center with Dr. Wim Kimmerer. Our current project will utilize my experience in zooplankton ecology, plankton identification, and molecular biological methods to reveal the prey that are important to copepods in the San Francisco Estuary using next-generation sequencing techniques. Stay tuned, I will be very active in the San Francisco Estuary research community over the next few years - and hopefully beyond!
I am continuing to investigate foodweb interactions of larval and juvenile fishes in the San Francisco Estuary using high-throughput DNA sequencing, primarily DNA metabarcoding. We currently (Oct 2020) have a pre-print available where you can read about the results from the larval longfin smelt and Pacific herring diet study!
Link to bioRxiv pre-print, soon to be submitted for peer-review.
In the Oceanography department at UH Manoa I studied the role of copepod nauplii in marine ecosystems, including their response to storm events in Kane'ohe Bay, Hawaii. My work will give us a better understanding of how important nauplii are as grazers of algae and whether they can have an impact on their prey populations(See Pubs & Presentations - Jungbluth et al 2017 MEPS). Using a novel DNA-based technique that I developed during my master's degree (See Pubs & Presentations- Jungbluth et al. 2013), I could estimate the abundance or biomass of nauplii by species. This was not possible in a diverse ecosystem when armed with only a microscope and no species-specific larval-identifying characteristics.
I also have worked with Dr. Eric Vetter at Hawaii Pacific University on a short-term, collaborative project describing the molecular-taxonomic diversity of larval invertebrate species present near the abyssal seafloor. My work on that project was published in PeerJ:
Kersten, O., Vetter, E. W., Jungbluth, M. J., Smith, C. R., & Goetze, E. (2019). Larval assemblages over the abyssal plain in the Pacific are highly diverse and spatially patchy. PeerJ, 7:e7691, 36. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.7691
A large portion of my dissertation focused on plankton dynamics in a large, productive subtropical embayment on Oahu, Hawaii, so I have spent a lot of time on a 12-foot Boston Whaler, rain or shine, collecting my precious zooplankton to look at what lies below the surface. But I also love ship-based research, and have been lucky enough to spend over 80 days at sea on 5 different ships with scientists from many countries getting to contribute to studies on zooplankton around the worlds oceans. Thankfully I do NOT get seasick!
Oceanographic Expeditions and Field Work
R/V Questuary, USGS Arcoplites, and USGS Munson - Longfin smelt 24-h sampling series for juvenile fishes in San Pablo Bay, 2 nights, chief scientist of night operations, 2017
NOAA Oscar Elton Sette - Leeward Oahu Pelagic Ecosystem Characterization, 10 days at sea, 2017
RRS James Clark Ross – Naupliar studies across the Atlantic (and the equator!), North to South, 46 days at sea, 2014
R/V Falkor – Naupliar grazing in the open ocean, Station ALOHA North of Oahu, HI, and the Molokai channel, 6 days at sea, 2014
R/V Kilo Moana -Zooplankton and mesopelagic fish diet studies, Station ALOHA, 6 days at sea, 2011
R/V Kilo Moana - Student cruise, West Oahu, 2 days at sea, 2011
R/V Atlantis – ROV JASON-II cruise volunteer, Juan de Fuca Ridge, 18 days at sea, 2010
Field sampling time series, Kaneohe Bay, HI, over 75 days of coastal work, 2010-2013
Coastal Plankton Ecology
Photos of my Research and Science Adventures
Under construction! Apologies for any wonky-ness.
|Microscope ID of zooplankton on the R/V Sette|
|Filtering size-fractionated copepods on the R/V Sette||A seahorse we saw in a plankton collection off West Oahu on the R/V Sette|
|Scenic views from Sea, off West Oahu, on the R/V Sette|
|View of San Pablo Bay from a small research vessel||Tools of the trade: A 500 µm and a 150 µm net for collection of plankton and micronekton||Spring samples tend to have a lot of suspended sediment in them in the San Francisco Estuary|
|Field work selfie, in San Pablo Bay||Amazing shot of the net being submerged for sampling from the R/V Falkor, go pro attached to the tow line|
|Me picking nauplii at the microscope at sea||Working in the live lab on the R/V Falkor||R/V Falkor|
|10 m MOCNESS net - it is truly a beast to wrangle and collects lots of really exciting samples from different depths of interest|
|My first oceanographic research cruise ever - on the R/V Atlantis, 2010||My territory - Kaneohe bay, Oahu, Hawaii. Where I spent my dissertation studies.|
|THE most beautiful sunrise I've ever seen: Somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean on the RRS James Clark Ross, 2014||We are LITERALLY at the equator, on the Atlantic, at this moment!||RRS James Clark Ross, a British Antarctic Survey vessel, an icebreaker!|
|Rough seas on the JCR|
|Crossing the line.||Tools of the trade.||Group on deck to admire our first sight of land, the Falkland Islands, after 46 days at sea|
Sea Life Images
This is just a small subsample of the creatures I love to see and often take photos of while at sea! Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or want to know more!
|Spoils of San Francisco Estuary sampling for fish larvae, you can see them! (2017)||Larval squid of many sizes (aww)||Billfish larvae from offshore Oahu, Hawaii|
|Barreleye fish from Falkor cruise, offshore Oahu, Hawaii||Vellela vellela, AMT cruise||Pteropod.|
|Flying fish on Atlantic Ocean (photo: Ian Brown)||Pelagic polychaete worm, Atlantic Ocean, 2014|
|Mesopelagic fish||Heteropod (a type of mollusk)||Annelid worm? This one is a mystery! Atlantic Ocean 2014|
Communicating our work to a broad audience, including the general public, policymakers, and scientific peers, is critical to making progress in the fast-paced world we live in.
That is why colleagues and I in Hawaii created the Science Communicators 'Ohana, a Registered Independent Organization at UH Mānoa, created for scientists to get together and explore effective methods for communicating our science with each other and the public.
Through workshops organized with the 'Ohana, we have provided the University of Hawaii community with opportunities to improve their non-scientific writing, oral presentation, public speaking, and "elevator pitches". This was important to me before the 'Ohana; A collaborator and I decided we, as early career scientists and stewards of our Earth, really needed an outlet for the students to practice outreach writing, so we created a Real Science at SOEST Blog . The blog, recently renamed to align with the Science Communicators 'Ohana, was created as a platform through which graduate scientists in the University at Manoa could improve their communication skills.
Outreach Event Photos
I'm sharing some photos of biannual outreach event held at UH Manoa, School of Ocean Earth Science and Technology called the SOEST Open House. In 2013, Katherine Hanson and I joined forces to create an collaborative exhibit between the zooplankton labs of Dr. Erica Goetze and Dr. Petra Lenz.
Since then I have led the exhibit in 2013, 2015 and 2017, and it is always popular amongst the students. For purposes of privacy I have not included photos of the room FILLED with curious and excited kids from all across Hawaii - trust me that it is always a success!
|SOEST Open House 2013||SOEST Open House 2015||2015|
|SOEST Open House 2017 - gets better and better every year!|
|Chalkboard before the madness...||Chalkboard after! Kids love drawing "plankton" on the chalkboard|
|A fun addition to our exhibit this year. Holy chum bucket!|