Report of Activities in Prior Appointment Period
16 September 1996-15 September 1997
Fiorenza Micheli
Postdoctoral Researcher


My research activities at NCEAS over the past year have consisted of:

1. working at my postdoctoral project "Joint effects of top-down and bottom-up forces on the structure and dynamics of estuarine and coastal marine communities: interactions between nutrient inputs and fisheries exploitation"

2. participating in the "Community Dynamics" working group (PIs: A. Ives and T. Frost).

Below I will briefly summarize activities and preliminary products for both projects.

1. Interactions between nutrient inputs and fisheries exploitation in estuarine and coastal marine communities:

I extracted data on phytoplankton and zooplankton responses to nutrient enrichment from mesocosm experiments reported in published papers. I used meta-analysis to compare the effects of nutrient enrichment on phytoplankton and zooplankton among experimental systems containing estuarine/coastal marine food webs of varying complexity. I presented preliminary results of this project to the NCEAS scientific advisory board in March 1997 and during an invited seminar at the Romberg Tiburon Center for Environmental Studies, in San Francisco, in May 1997. I will work on a manuscript based on this project during Fall 1997.

I have also been working on (a) a literature review of effects of nutrient enrichment on various components of estuarine and coastal marine communities, and (b) gathering time-series of phytoplankton, zooplankton, fish and macrobenthos abundance from various estuaries, enclosed seas and coastal marine systems to compile a dataset on temporal changes of food-web components occurring as a result of human activities (increased nutrient loading, fisheries exploitation, introduction of exotic species). This work is still in progress and will be my main focus during the next year.

2. Community Dynamics Working Group:

I participated in both meetings of Tony Ives and Tom Frost's working group on community dynamics of lake zooplankton (October 1996 and January 1997). My main activities consisted of collaborating with Kathy Cottingham in (a) assembling time series data of chemical and physical parameters and zooplankton from 28 lakes provided by 5 different research groups; (b) developing a paper on temporal variation in community composition of zooplankton from perturbed and unperturbed lakes, that I presented at the 1997 meeting of the Ecological Society of America. The dataset for the 28 lakes and relative metadata are posted on the NCEAS web site in the Community Dynamics Working Group "members-only" area. I will prepare a draft of the paper on temporal variation in community composition of lake zooplankton by the next working group meeting, in November 1997. A final paper, co-authored with Kathy Cottingham, Tom Frost, Janet Fischer, Jen Klug and possibly other working group participants will be submitted after the November meeting.


I spent part of the past year working at projects that I had initiated before coming to NCEAS. These activities consisted mostly of writing or revising papers (3 published, 1 in press, 1 submitted, and 3 in preparation), preparing a final report for a past grant and collaborating with L. Mullineaux (WHOI), C.H. Peterson (UNC-CH), and C. Fischer (Penn-State) in writing an NSF proposal to continue our work on hydrothermal vent benthic communities of the East-Pacific Rise. I presented results of my dissertation and postdoctoral work at UNC-CH during a seminar at UCSB (November 1996) and at the ASLO meeting (February 1997). Finally, I gave a guest lecture in an environmental science course at UCSB (May 1997).