I am a postdoctoral researcher, primarily interested in trophic relationships between algae and 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.