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About David H. Shull

Background Information: David Shull received degrees in oceanography from the University of Washington (B.S.) and the University of Connecticut (M.S.), and a degree in environmental science from the University of Massachusetts Boston (Ph.D., 2000). Afterward, he was a research associate at the University of Maine's Darling Marine Center and an assistant professor of biology at Gordon College before coming to Western in 2004. Dr. Shull studies invertebrate communities in estuaries and continental shelf sediments. He is particularly interested in the roles that benthic organisms play in the function of coastal ecosystems. He has studied the effects of benthic organisms on the fate of contaminants in coastal waters, the role of deposit feeders in the initiation of harmful algal blooms (red tide), and the effects of tube-building organisms on concentrations of methyl mercury in sediments. Currently he is studying how benthic organisms affect nutrient cycling in the shelf sediments of the Bering Sea and the interaction between eelgrass (Zostera spp.) and hydrogen sulfide in sediment pore water.
Research Interests: I study marine bottom-dwelling (benthic) invertebrates and how their activities influence chemical, physical, and biological processes at the sea floor. I first became interested in benthic organisms while digging up various worms, clams, shrimp and other unusual creatures inhabiting mud flats exposed at low tide in front of his grandparent's home on Vashon Island in Puget Sound, Washington.
Although the vast majority of the earth's solid surface is covered in marine mud and benthic organisms thus inhabit the largest habitat on the earth's solid surface, there is much to be learned about the ecological and functional roles these bottom dwellers play in the ocean. An important theme in my research is "bioturbation", the effects of benthic organism feeding, burrowing, and burrow ventilation on marine sediment properties. I have studied benthic communities in Puget Sound, Boston Harbor, the North Atlantic, and the Bering Sea. My current research focus is on eelgrass in Puget Sound and how it influences and is influenced by sediment pore-water hydrogen sulfide.


Present Faculty Member, Western Washington University Western Expert
Present Professor, Environmental Sciences, Western Washington University Huxley College of the Environment

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Contact Information

Department of Environmental Sciences
Huxley College of the Environment
Western Washington University
Bellingham, WA 98225-9181
Office: 360-650-3690
Fax: 360-650-7284


Articles (12)

Contributions to Books (1)

Presentations (2)