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Dr. Robert Scheibling (Marine Benthic Ecologist)

Bob Scheibling received his Ph.D. in Oceanography from McGill University in 1980. He served as an Adjunct Professor at the University of South Florida in Tampa, and then as a Fisheries Scientist in New Zealand, before coming to Dalhousie University in 1982. He has been a full Professor in the Biology Department since 1992. Dr. Scheibling's research is directed towards understanding biological interactions and physical processes that determine the structure and dynamics of marine benthic populations and communities. His work addresses fundamental issues in theoretical ecology as well as applied aspects of invertebrate fisheries and aquaculture.

Dr. Scheibling's major area of research over the past 20 years has been the ecology of the rocky subtidal ecosystem off Nova Scotia. This system alternates between two community states, kelp beds and coralline-algal barrens, depending upon the abundance of grazing sea urchins. Using observational and experimental approaches, he and his graduate students examine processes that regulate the dynamics of urchin populations, including reproduction and spawning, larval dispersal and settlement, predation, and disease. In recent years, they have documented a massive disruption of this ecosystem by two alien species. The first, an encrusting bryozoan (Membranipora membranacea), has defoliated kelp beds and thus facilitated the spread of the second, an invasive green alga (Codium fragile). Current research is focussed on interactions between these aliens and the native community, and on the impact of these invasions on the structure, function and biodiversity of the coastal ecosystem.

Key words: benthic, ecology, invasive species, population dynamics, sea urchins

For more information, please email Bob Scheibling, visit his website or contact him at the address below.

Dr. Robert Scheibling
Department of Biology
Dalhousie University
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Canada B3H 4J1
Telephone: (902) 494-2296
Fax: (902) 494-3736

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