Kevin Johnson, UCSB

Kevin Johnson plankton towing for pteropods in the Ross Sea, Antarctica

Graduate Student, University of California Santa Barbara, Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology

Bio: In 2012 I joined Gretchen Hofmann’s lab at the University of California, Santa Barbara with a focus on combining molecular techniques with physiological and morphological measurements to understand how marine organisms respond to ocean acidification and ocean warming. My interest in molecular biology began as an undergraduate at California State University, Monterey Bay where I studied biology and joined a research team investigating freshwater harmful algal blooms.  As a member of the Hofmann lab I have completed two Antarctic field seasons where I’ve focused on (1) understanding how the Antarctic pteropod Limacina helicina antarctica responds to the natural pH variability and (2) To understand the range of plasticity that pteropods have to deal with future ocean acidification conditions.

In my life outside of science I still find myself continually drawn to the marine environment.  My wife and I spend most of our free time surfing, sailing and diving around Southern California and the beautiful Channel Islands National Park. The diversity and sheer abundance of marine life in the Pacific Ocean continually astonishes me and drives my desire to know how it will respond to anthropogenic impacts like ocean acidification.

What I’m doing on this cruise: On this cruise, I will be collecting the pteropod Limacina helicina helicina across multiple transect lines in order to capture the in-situ molecular response of this species. My goal is to use this information to further understand how it will respond to ocean acidification along the Pacific Coast.