Worried about global change and the environment?

Want to learn something useful and make a difference?


If you answered yes to these questions, the Baines lab in the Department of Ecology and Evolution is interested in talking to you! We study how organisms and biological communities interact with cycles of important nutrient and pollutant elements, including nitrogen, carbon and heavy metals.  Our work involves laboratory experiments, cutting edge technology and a chance to get out into the sun, rain and snow!

Three projects we are currently working on:

How does the elemental composition of planktonic organisms affect nutrient cycles and food webs in lakes and the oceans? clip

Microscopic organisms floating in water play an important role in the global carbon cycle, the movement of contaminants up food chains and the productivity of fisheries.  We use cutting edge microscopic techniques to study how organisms differ in their elemental content, and how these differences affect the storage of atmospheric carbon dioxide in the oceans, and the productivity of fisheries.


How will invasive plants affect removal of pollutants from surface waters?

By dumping fertilizer on land, humans have increased the amount of nitrogen entering ecological systems by 100% or more.  When this nitrogen reaches coastal areas, it can promote harmful algal blooms and produce deep water “dead-zones.”  Wetlands are important in nitrogen removal, but are changing dramatically due to invasive species, habitat degradation and sea-level changes. We study the consequences of such changes for nitrogen removal.


Does organic matter dissolved in water enable the invasive zebra mussel to transform ecosystems?

Zebra mussels can avoid starvation by utilizing the abundant organic matter that is dissolved in surface waters.  We are trying to understand how zebra mussels use DOM, the ecosystem level impacts of this ability, and the potential for other organisms to do the same.  This work will employ very advanced techniques for the analysis of dissolved organic matter as well as modeling.


If you are interested in getting involved with ongoing research in the Baines lab, please send a statement of interest, an unofficial transcript and a resume to: Dr. Stephen Baines, Assistant Professor, Department of Ecology and Evolution, (631) 632-1092, sbaines AT ms.cc.sunysb.edu