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About Tamara Frank

The two major areas of research in my lab are visual ecology of deep-sea animals and crustacean micronekton ecology.  We are studying the adaptations of photoreceptors (eyes) to life style and environment.  In terms of lifestyle, results from studies carried out in the lab have shown that animals that are active carnivores, i.e. chase after prey, have faster eyes (working like a camera with a fast shutter speed) that are metabolically more expensive, in order to track their moving prey.  On the other hand, animals that are filter feeders have slower eyes that require less energy.  In addition, animals that live on the bottom (benthic) tend to have slower eyes than animals that live in the water column (pelagic), very likely due to the fact that they’re not moving as much, and some of their prey may be stationary as well.  In addition, we have also discovered that several species of pelagic and benthic crustaceans have visual pigments that are sensitive to ultraviolet light, which is most likely correlated with bioluminescence.  In terms of environment, we are studying how the visual systems of deep-sea pelagic and benthic shrimp and crabs are adapted, both optically and physiologically, to these extremely dim light environments. The work has also been expanded 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 at shallower depths and therefore brighter light environments than the deeper living adults, and somehow, their eyes have to compensate for these dramatically different light environments. These studies are conducted special temperature insulated, light-tight collectors deployed from opening/closing Tucker Trawls, submersibles and ROVs.  We were also 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.  Currently, we are quantifying the abundance and biomass of deep-sea crustaceans in the vicinity of the DeepWater Horizon oil spill, comparing data from samples collected one year after the spill with that collected 5-7 years after the spill.   

Positions

2016 - Present Professor, Nova Southeastern University Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography, Department of Marine and Environmental Science
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2004 - Present Faculty, Florida Atlantic University ‐ Doctoral Program in Integrative Biology
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2011 - 2016 Associate Professor, Nova Southeastern University
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2010 - 2011 Full Research Professor, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution, Inc
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2008 - 2010 Associate Research Professor, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution, Inc
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2000 - 2010 Affiliate Associate Professor, Florida Atlantic University ‐ Department of Biological Sciences
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1998 - 2008 Adjunct Associate Professor, Florida Institute of Technology - Melbourne ‐ Department of Biological Sciences
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1998 - 2008 Associate Scientist and Principal Investigator, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution, Inc
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2001 - 2007 Director, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution, Inc ‐ Department of Visual Ecology
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1994 - 1997 Assistant Scientist and Principal Investigator, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution, Inc
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Curriculum Vitae




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Education

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1992 - 1993 Postdoctoral Fellow, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution, Inc
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1989 - 1991 NIH Postdoctoral Traineeship, Hatfield Marine Science Center
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1988 - 1989 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

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