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Evelyn
Lessard
University of Washington
lessard.jpg

I am an Associate Professor in the School of Oceanography at the University of Washington. I did my undergraduate studies at Middlebury College, where an inspiring professor first sparked my interest in the tiniest marine organisms. I earned my MS in Microbiology and PhD in Oceanography from the University of Rhode Island, where I studied the ecology of heterotrophic dinoflagellates, an important group of protist grazers. I was a Research Scientist at the University of Maryland Horn Point Environmental Laboratories prior to the coming to the University of Washington.

My research focus is on the roles of microzooplankton as trophic intermediaries between primary producers and higher trophic levels. I've studied the grazing impact of heterotrophic protists on phytoplankton, including harmful species, and their importance as food for upper trophic level organisms in diverse ecosystems including the Sargasso Sea, Antarctica, Gulf of Alaska, the Bering Sea and most recently studying in the upwelling coastal region off the WA and OR coasts. I have a strong interest in effectively representing and parameterizing lower trophic level interactions and rate processes in ecosystem models.

In the BEST-BSIERP program, I am working with colleague Rodger Harvey to measure feeding rates, and effects of prey type (heterotrophic and phototrophic protists, zooplankton) and nutritional quality (lipids) on growth rates of krill under varying environmental conditions. Krill are critical prey for top predators in the Bering Sea, and therefore it is important to gain a better understanding the 'bottom up' factors which may affect their responses to climate-driven changes in the environment.