D i a n e  S t o e c k e r
Marine Scientist

I'm an Associate Professor at Horn Point Environmental Laboratory, which is part of the University of Maryland System. I co-teach the graduate course in Chemical and Biological Oceanography at the Univ. of Maryland and have 2 graduate students and a technican. One of my graduate students, Jeff Merrell, did research with me in Antarctica this year. My technician, Dan Gustafson, has been to Antarctica 3 times.

Although I teach, my job is primarily research. Most of my research has been on one-celled organisms (algae and protozoa) in the plankton. One-celled organisms are at the base of planktonic food webs. For a long time, I've been interested in one-celled organisms that are both "animals" and "plants", that eat other cells and are also photosynthetic, making their own food from water and carbon dioxide, using sunlight for energy. This mixed "plant-animal" life style is very common in the oceans. The algae that form red tides in Chesapeake Bay (mostly dinoflagellates) eat other cells! In the summer, my technician, one of my graduate students and summer students and I do research on feeding and growth of photosynthetic dinoflagellates that eat. We have one 4-5 day cruise a month on Chesapeake Bay and also grow the dinoflagellates and do research on them in the lab.

In the fall and winter (when it is spring and summer in Antarctica) I work on plankton and sea-ice algae in Antarctica. This fall was the third time I'd been to McMurdo. We brought back algae and protozoa from Antarctica and grow them in a freezer equipped with lights at -2 degrees C, so that we can do experiments with them while we are in Maryland.

Before coming to the Univ. of Maryland I was a research scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution where I worked on protozoa and algae in New England coastal waters, in the North Atlantic, in the Sargasso Sea, and in the equatorial Pacific. I moved to Maryland because I wanted more contact with students. Before going to Woods Hole, I got a Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolution from the SUNY at Stony Brook. I also have an MS from the University of Hawaii in Botany and BS in Botany from the University of New Hampshire. I worked as a waitress, a farm hand, a park ranger and an environmental consultant before getting my Ph.D. My motivation for getting a doctorate and working as a biological oceanographer/marine biologist is complex. I like science and the experimental method. I like traveling and working with colleagues from different countries. I've always loved nature and enjoy working with plants, animals and microorganisms. I like having the opportunity to go to sea and to work on the ice, to live and work in beautiful, remote natural environments. I also enjoy the satisfaction of discovering new things about the natural world, writing up my results and seeing them published and used by others, and of helping students develop as scientists.

In my spare time (not much) I work on my old house, raise poultry (for eggs and as pets---chickens, geese, guinea fowl and turkeys), have 2 cats and a dog and a garden, sail and draw.

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