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Gribble, Kristin Assistant Scientist, Josephine Bay Paul Center


Dr. Gribble is a molecular biologist broadly interested in the evolution, ecology and life history of marine and freshwater plankton. She combines her training in biological oceanography, evolution, and molecular biology to investigate how environment and genetics influence the phenotypic plasticity of life history strategy and morphology to allow adaptation to changes in environmental conditions and to determine evolutionary fitness. By understanding the outcomes induced by specific environmental conditions, the molecular genetic bases of phenotypic changes, and the evolutionary conservation of plasticity, Dr. Gribble’s research enables predictions about the results of changing environmental conditions at scales ranging from the individual to the ecosystem. Dr. Gribble has employed two main study systems in her work: marine dinoflagellates (single cell aquatic protists) and rotifers (microscopic invertebrates found in freshwater and estuarine ecosystems). She described the relationship between the molecular phylogeny and morphological taxonomy of an important and widespread genus of heterotrophic dinoflagellates, Protoperidinium, and described the group’s biogeography off the western coast of Ireland. Dr. Gribble provided the first description of the life history, including sexual and asexual reproduction, of two species of Protoperidinium. Recently, Dr. Gribble has collaborated with Dr. David B. Mark Welch at the Marine Biological Laboratory on studies of evolution, life history, and aging using monogonont rotifers. With a short lifespan, ease of culture, a large foundation of ecological data, and a suite of genetic tools, rotifers are a tractable system for investigating many basic biological questions, including the evolution of mate recognition and speciation, and as a model system to study the mechanisms and evolution of the biology of aging.

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