I am a postdoctoral researcher. I am primarily interested in the food quality of algae and plants for creatures at the base of marine, estuarine, and lake food webs. I use fatty acid biomarkers, experiments, and models to infer which resources are critical for supporting creatures living aquatic habitats.
Why does this matter? Aquatic ecosystems host a diverse flora of phytoplankton, seaweeds, and seagrasses, which synthesize 'essential' fatty acids required by all heterotrophs. Zooplankton, fish, orcas, and even humans ultimately rely upon algae to supply these polyunsaturated omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids to the base of the food chain.