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About Tamara Frank

The two major areas of research in Dr. Frank's lab are zooplankton/nekton ecology and the visual ecology of marine animals. Her lab is utilizing new and traditional technologies to examine plankton biodiversity, particularly over coral and other hard bottom communities, to determine if a correlation exists between plankton abundance and coral/hard bottom ecosystem health. As plankton are food sources for many species of commercially important fish, shrimp, crab, squid, and all of these groups have planktonic larval stages, getting baseline assessments of abundance and diversity are essential databases against which environmental perturbations can be monitored. In addition, Dr. Frank's lab is involved in a Census of Marine Life project (Mar-Eco), quantifying the abundance and distribution of deep-sea pelagic and benthic crustaceans around the Charlie Gibbs Fracture Zone at the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The other major research area involves studying the adaptation of photoreceptors to environment. Previous and current studies examined how the visual systems of pelagic and benthic shrimp and crabs are adapted, both optically and physiologically, to these extremely dim light enviornments. They are also expanding their work to include how animals adapt ontogenetically, or with life history stage, to vastly different light environments. In the deep-sea, the larval and juvenile stages are found in much shallower and brighter light environments than the deeper living adults, and somehow, their eyes have to compensate for these dramatically different light environments. These studies require special temperature insulated, light-tight collectors deployed from opening/closing Tucker Trawls, submersibles and ROVs. In addition, off our own coasts, juvenile stages of many shark species are found in the turbid Inidan River Lagoon, while adults are found in clearer ocean water, again possibly requiring a shift in photosensitivity with life history stage, and the lab is currently determining whether such a shift is apparent between juvenile and adult bull sharks. Dr. Frank's lab is also studying how habitat and prey preferences are also reflected in visual physiology, i.e. do fish that selectively prey on slow moving bottom dwelling animals that may be very effectively camouflaged against the sediment, have eyes with slower "shutter speeds" for greater contrast sensitivity, compared to fish that actively chase their prety through the water column.

Positions

2011 Present Associate Professor, Nova Southeastern University
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Education

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19921993 Postdoctoral Fellow, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution, Inc
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19891991 NIH Postdoctoral Traineeship, Hatfield Marine Science Center
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19881989 Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Connecticut ‐ Health Center
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1987 Ph.D. Aquatic Biology, University of California, Santa Barbara
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1985 M.A. Aquatic Biology, University of California, Santa Barbara
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1980 B.S. Marine Biology, California State University
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Contact Information

954-262-3637

Email:


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