Dr. Daniel Sher
Department of Marine Biology
Our lab studies marine chemical ecology – the way aquatic organisms communicate through chemistry, the chemicals that mediate these interactions, and the way these interactions and chemicals affect entire ecosystems. This is a fascinating field of research that combines ecology, limnology/oceanography, biochemistry, molecular and cellular biology, physics and computational biology. In addition, studying these interactions often brings with it the discovery of novel chemical compounds which have biotechnological, pharmacological or medical uses – antibiotics, for example, are often synthesized by microorganisms in order to fight other microbes. Some of the questions we are interested in are: Do marine bacteria communicate using chemical signals? What are the roles of toxins in jellyfish, sea anemones, coral and hydra? How do marine invertebrates protect themselves against pathogens? Can understanding such interactions help us model marine communities and predict how they will change in a changing world?