The most alarming of all man’s assaults upon the environment is the contamination of air, earth, rivers, and sea with dangerous and even lethal materials. This pollution is for the most part irrecoverable; the chain of evil it initiates not only in the world that must support life, but in living tissues is for the most part irreversible. In this now universal contamination of the environment, chemicals are the sinister and little-recognized partners of radiation in changing the very nature of the world-the very nature of life.
— Rachel Carson

 

Chemical contaminants, resulting from severe anthropogenic inputs, pose a growing threat to coastal and estuarine ecosystems worldwide. These contaminants can act as “information-disruptors,” by altering important species interactions. One critical pathway by which contaminants influence community dynamics exists in the relationship between herbivores and their prey. Specifically, my research examines the ability of the prevalent contaminant copper to interfere with how herbivores perceive and respond to their chemically defended seaweed prey. Modifications of these pivotal relationships can result in substantial implications regarding survivorship, distribution, and overall community structure. As marine ecosystems are increasingly threatened by human disturbances, studies examining such interactions and their consequences within the context of emergent environmental stressors are imperative. 

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Publications

 

Warneke, A.M. and Long, J.D. 2015. Copper contamination impairs herbivore initiation of seaweed inducible defenses and decreases their effectiveness. PLoS One. 10(8): e0135395. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0135395 {PDF}

 

Hovel, K.A., Warneke, A.M., Virtue, S., & Sanchez, A. 2016. Mesopredator foraging success in eelgrass (Zostera marina): relative effects of epiphytes, shoot density, and prey abundance. JEMBE. 474: 142-147. Doi: 10.1016/j.jembe.2015.10.014 {PDF}

 

Bik H.H., Dove A.D.M., Goldstein M.C., Helm R., MacPherson R., Martini K., Warneke A.M., & McClain C. 2015. Ten Simple Rules for Effective Online Outreach. PLoS Comput Biol. 11(4): e1003906. doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1003906 {PDF}

 

Staaterman, E.R.,Gallagher A.J., Reichenbach Z.C., Bhandiwad A.A., Gravinese P.M., Moeller P.M.,  Shantz A.A., Shiffman D.S., Toth L.T., & Warneke A.M. 2014. Lights, camera, science: The utility and growing popularity of film festivals at scientific meetings. Ideas in Ecology and Evolution 7: 11-16. {PDF}