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phytoplankton ecophysiology, harmful algal blooms, dinoflagellate resting cysts, phenology, and Bio-optical sensors


I am a Postdoctoral Investigator at the University of California, Santa Cruz working with Dr. Raphael Kudela. A new research area is identifying suites of physical, chemical, and biological factors on tidal to interannual scales that can promote development of harmful algal blooms in the San Francisco Bay. A key aspect of this work is use of an autonomous underwater microscope (Imaging Flow Cytobot, IFCB) that can identify phytoplankton in real-time. This high-temporal resolution IFCB time-series is paired with targeted laboratory experiments to investigate drivers of bloom development under scenarios of short- and long-term change.

An ongoing research area is how cysts of Alexandrium, and other dinoflagellates, use temperature cues to ensure that dormancy-breaking and germination occur only during seasons that are favorable for the formation of large blooms. This research is in collaboration with Dr. Donald Anderson and Dr. Michael Brosnahan at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.


"Ready, Set, Bloom! Red Tides at Cape Cod National Seashore" is one of the 12-part webisode series Outside Science (inside parks) which focuses on science in the National Parks. In collaboration with Colorado State University, the National Park Service releases a new episode each month in 2016 that highlights the many ways young people are getting involved. 

Filmed and edited by Weston Dockter.


Fischer, A.D., Brosnahan, M.L., and Anderson, D.M.: Cold exposure controls the duration of dormancy in cysts of the toxic dinoflagellate Alexandrium catenella. In revision, Protist.

Brosnahan, M.L., Ralston, D.K., Fischer, A.D., Solow, A.R., and Anderson, D.M.: Bloom termination of the toxic dinoflagellate Alexandrium catenella: vertical migration behavior, sediment infiltration, and benthic cyst yield. Accepted, Limnology & Oceanography.

Fischer, A.D. (2017) Alexandrium catenella cyst dynamics in a coastal embayment: temperature dependence of dormancy, germination, and bloom initiation. (Doctoral dissertation).

Fischer, A.D., Moberg, E.A., Alexander, H.A., Brownlee, E.F., Hunter-Cevera, K.R., Pitz, K.J., Rosengard, S.Z., Sosik, H.M. (2014). Sixty Years of Sverdrup: A Retrospective of Progress in the Study of Phytoplankton Blooms. Oceanography, 27: 222-235.




Postdoctoral Investigator, University of California, Santa Cruz:

Guest Investigator, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution: