Understanding the response of zooplankton to changing ocean conditions requires detailed knowledge of their feeding biology, however, this knowledge has traditionally been extremely difficult to attain due to the challenges associated with identifying and quantifying zooplankton prey (e.g., small organism size, destruction of soft-bodied prey items in the gut, methods of limited taxonomic scope).
My research project revolves around cataloging and understanding biodiversity on the central coast of British Columbia. I run biodiversity surveys the Hakai Institute's Calvert Island Observatory that couples intensive collections and quantititative surveys of invertebrates and algae. In one year's time we have amassed a large dataset of ecological, taxonomic, and genetic data.
Alyssa is interested in the interactions between infected hosts and their communities, and the impact of temperature and ocean acidification on host-parasite interactions. For her postdoctoral research Alyssa is using the mussel-endolithic cyanobacteria system to evaluate the effects of multiple environmental stressors on host-parasite interactions over space and time using museum and private collections, field surveys and manipulative field experiments.