John R. Dolan
I work at the Observatoire Océanologique de Villefranche- a field campus of the Universite de Paris VI which houses 3 research-teaching units, co-administered by the Centre National de Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and the Universite de Paris VI: Geology, Developmental Biology, and Oceanography. The oceanography laboratory, Laboratoire de Océanographie de Villefranche (LOV) is presently composed of 3 large research 'teams'. Previously, my group was the Marine Microbial Ecology Group, after 26 years of excellence, absorbed inexplicably into a large group 'Biodiversity & Biogeochemistry'.
My research subjects are organisms of the microzooplankton. These microscopic animals of the plankton feed on bacteria and small algae and are in turn the prey of larger zooplankton such as copepods, larval fish, etc. Microzooplankton are then the first link in aquatic food chains. I've worked in lakes, estuaries, and a variety of marine systems ranging from tropical lagoons to upwelling systems and Antarctica. My speciality is ciliate microzooplankton. I began by working on problems of ciliate ontongeny and systematics with G. A. Antipa (San Francisco State University) and turned to ecosystem ecology with D.W. Coats (Smithsonian Institution) and E. B. Small (University of Maryland).
I have studied natural populations of ciliate microzooplankton in the Chesapeake Bay, across the Mediterranean Sea, and both the SW and SE Pacific Ocean as well Polar waters. A particular interest of mine is physiology (for example growth and feeding) in typical marine ciliates, freshwater nanoflagellates, as well as mixotrophic ciliates and nanoflagellates. I've looked at diel patterns, digestion, and selective feeding in micro and nano zooplankton.
Current Research Focus -> Biodiversity in the Plankton AQUAPARADOX
My research efforts today center on the complex question, simply put, of "Why are there so many species of microzooplankton (there can be dozens in a liter of seawater) and are they doing different things?"
I focus on tintinnid ciliates (like the one on your left- a cell in a shell). They come in an astounding diversity of sizes, shapes and basic architecture (check out "Photos" or the image collection deposited in the ASLO Image library). I've established a functional relationship between lorica morphology and feeding ecology. I'm interested in the links between genetic, morphological, and physiological biodiversity.
Check out the book 'The Biology and Ecology of Tintinnid Ciliates: Models for Marine Plankton'.