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Professor of Biology
Department of Biology
18111 Nordhoff Street
Northridge, CA 91330-8303
Ph.D. Biology, University of Georgia, 1984
My research interests are focused on the ecology of marine benthic communities. Specifically, I am interested in the coupling between physical aspects of the environment (primarily light and water flow) and the physiology of algae, and in interactions between herbivores and algae, and how these processes cascade upward to the community level. This is part of a larger comparison between coral reef and kelp forest communities.
Currently I am working on a research project that is examining the role of hydrodynamics in controlling the rates of metabolism of coral reef algal communities in Hawaii. My students and I take a combined laboratory and field approach to test hypotheses about mass-transfer limitation of reef algae across spatial scales. We use a variety of sophisticated instrumentation to measure water flow at a variety of spatial scales and estimate rates of organismal metabolism in flumes.
We have addressed similar questions in kelp forest environments at Santa Catalina Island. Another major research thrust in my lab is associated with the NSF LTER coral reef site in Moorea, French Polynesia. As one of 4 PIs on this project, I am involved in quantifying long-term changes in coral reef community structure and function. Additionally, we are interested in how coral reef metabolism is driven by both large- and small-scale hydrodynamic processes and how this also might influence distributions and abundances of reef organisms and trophic dynamics. While my interests are focused on algal-dominated communities, several students in my laboratory have conducted research on benthic invertebrates living in intertidal, kelp forest, and coral reef environments.
Adam, T.C., R.J. Schmitt, S.J. Holbrook, A.J. Brooks, P.J. Edmunds, R.C. Carpenter, and G. Bernardi. 2011 Herbivory, connectivity, and ecosystem resilience: response of a coral reef to a large-scale perturbation. PLoS One 6: 8. 08.
Ferrier, G.A. and R.C. Carpenter. 2009. Subtidal benthic heterogeneity: flow environment modification and impacts on marine algal community structure and morphology. Biological Bulletin 217: 2. 115-129.
Carpenter, R.C. and S.L. Williams. 2007. Mass transfer limitation of photosynthesis of coral algal turf communities. Marine Biology 151:435-450.
Carpenter, R.C. and P.J. Edmunds. 2006. Local and regional recovery of Diadema promotes recruitment of juvenile corals. Ecology Letters 9:271-280.
Gamino-Padilla, J.L. and R.C. Carpenter. 2007. Seasonal acclimitization of Asparagopsis taxiformis from different biogeographic regions. Limnology and Oceanography 52:833-842.
Gamino-Padilla, J.L. and R.C. Carpenter. 2007. Thermal ecophysiology of Laurencia pacifica and Laurencia nidifica (Ceramiales) from tropical and warm-temperate regions. Journal of Phycology 43:686-692.
Haring, R.N. and R.C. Carpenter. 2007. The effects of light and water flow on the thallus morphology ofPachydictyon coriaceum (Phaeophyta), Marine Biology 151:243-255.