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Meet Great Lake Researcher Bob Heath

Dr. Bob Heath is an ecosystem ecologist at Kent State University currently conducting research in the Great Lakes. Over the past 35 years, his research has investigated the role of prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms in phosphorus dynamics of Great Lakes ecosystems. “This is important because the availability and distribution of phosphorus determines the amount of energy that can enter the food chain and the efficiency of energy flow from the planktonic base of the food chain to higher trophic levels,” says Heath.

Heath’s current focus is to compare the biodiversity, structure, and function of nearshore and offshore plankton communities in the Great Lakes. His expeditions on the Great Lakes have been conducted in collaboration with the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans aboard the 53-meter research vessel, Limnos and the USEPA 59-meter research vessel, RV Lake Guardian as part of the International Field Years on Lake Erie.

Current Projects

Field and laboratory tests of the Microbial Shunt Hypothesis of Phosphorus Availability in the Great Lakes

Effects of Zebra Mussels on Depth-integrated Phytoplankton Productivity

Effects of zebra mussels on benthic microbial processes: field and laboratory tests of the hypothesis that Dreissena polymorpha feeding activity increases benthic microbial processes.

Field & Lab Test of the Hypothesis that Zebra Mussels Release Phytoplankton from P-Limitation

Importance of the Microbial Food Web in C- Transfers Through the Base of the Food Web in Great Lakes Plankton Communities