Leanne Elder, Ph.D
Mailing address: PO Box 208109, New Haven CT 06520-8109
Street address: 21 Sachem st, New Haven CT 06511
My research integrates physiology and paleo oceanography to understand responses to global change. While in the Hull lab I have been part of a team that developed methods for semi-3D digitization of microfossils used in the our brute-force community morphometrics technique (which includes high-throughput imaging and automated shape analysis of large sample sizes, see AutoMorph for more information). Through this work we are quantifying the contributions of macro evolutionary and ecological processes in the context of environmental change and community structure to determine drivers of morphometric change.
To anticipate how marine ecosystems will be affected by anthropogenic climate change requires an understanding of the physiological, ecological, and evolutionary mechanisms that determine biotic dynamics on long, geological time scales. I am interested in advancing our understanding of the physiology of foraminifera in the modern ocean and using this to improve interpretations of the fossil record. Specifically I am studying how body size is influenced by temperature and oxygenation and how those factors impact organismal metabolic rates. While in Pincelli Hull’s lab I have worked on benthic foraminifera from the Long Island Sound, and planktonic foraminifera in Bermuda. Work in Bermuda included establishing culturing protocols in collaboration with Gavin Foster’s lab (Southampton University).
I am also interested in museum collections and the importance of maintaining records of objects, as well as using collection material for research. I work closely with the Yale Peabody Museum’s divisions of Invertebrate Zoology and Invertebrate Paleontology. I use specimens from both divisions for my research as well as accessioning new specimens to each division. Work with these divisions includes adding entries to their collections management system (K-EMu).
I received my PhD from the University of Rhode Island in Dr. Brad Seibel’s lab. My dissertation incorporated physiological, biochemical and molecular techniques to measure the responses of marine invertebrates to naturally and anthropogenically induced environmental stress. I focused on hyperiid amphipods living in Oxygen Minimum Zones (OMZs). Like most zooplankton, hyperiid amphipods vertically migrate in a diel pattern; spending the day in deeper colder waters and migrating to the surface at night. Understanding how the current temperature and oxygen levels affect migrating zooplankton will help predict how increased ocean temperatures from global warming will impact their distribution, and ecology.