Karen Selph received her doctorate in Oceanography from the University of Hawaii in 1999 and has since been employed as a Specialist in the Department of Oceanography, primarily responsible for overseeing the school’s flow cytometry facility. In addition, Selph has participated in many sea-going projects, with over 1.5 years at sea, engaging in research all over the Pacific (North Pacific, Equatorial Pacific, near Hawaii, and off the coast of Costa Rica), the Southern Ocean, and the Arctic. Her primary area of research is the study of microzooplankton, the primary consumers of phytoplankton in the world’s oceans. These tiny organisms, only visible using microscopy, are responsible for most of the consumption of phytoplankton and are also important recyclers of nutrients back into the ocean environment, fueling much microbial growth. They are also important links in the ocean’s food webs, as food for larger organisms: indeed, most small consumers have a diet that includes these organisms, even if they may also consume phytoplankton.
Karen will be conducting experiments on this cruise to assess the rates of phytoplankton growth and mortality, as well as determining how many trophic levels there are between the phytoplankton and the smallest metazoan predators at ~35 µm in length. As a member of the department’s graduate faculty, she has helped mentor several graduate and undergraduate students, and will assist in the student training aspects of this cruise as well.