Dan Okamoto, PhD

Graduate Opportunity


Graduate Opportunity in Kelp Forest Ecology & Abalone Population Dynamics in Haida Gwaii, British Columbia with Florida State University & Gwaii Haanas Parks Canada

The Department of Biological Sciences at Florida State University invites applications for one or more PhD level graduate student to study kelp forest ecology in the Gwaii Haanas National Marine Conservation Area and Haida Heritage Site in Haida Gwaii, British Columbia with Dr. Dan Okamoto.

Required qualifications: Applicants should have experience in SCUBA based research (AAUS, CAUS or equivalent) a background in, or aptitude for, statistics and mathematical modeling, and experience in marine ecology or fisheries science.  A master’s degree or equivalent experience is preferred.

About the opportunity

Near extirpation of sea otters nearly two centuries ago allowed sea urchins to proliferate in northern British Columbia, leading to dramatic kelp forest declines in the region. These kelp forests provide shelter and food for endangered northern abalone, rockfish and other species.  We are studying the effects of this trophic cascade on dynamics of northern abalone, sea urchins and associated kelp forest species.  This work includes large-scale, experimental removals of sea urchins to evaluate how the kelp forest ecosystem responds and quantify shifts in survival, growth and diet of abalone and other species following competitive release.  The project integrates SCUBA-based kelp forest monitoring, mark-recapture studies, stable isotope analysis, recruitment monitoring and mathematical modeling of population and community dynamics.

The student(s) will be expected to lead their own studies in addition to participating in the larger project.  Activities include field and lab work as well as statistical and mathematical modeling of dynamics of sea urchins, kelp, abalone and other species.

For prospective students: