There are two general research foci in our laboratory: (1) the molecular evolution of nitrogen assimilating enzymes in diverse lineages of marine and freshwater algae and (2) the regulation of nitrogen assimilation in marine algae and vascular plants. While the majority of our current physiological work is focused on the regulation of nitrogen assimilation in marine diatoms (unicellular algae that account for approximately 40% of the carbon fixed in the oceans), we are beginning to expand our work to other species of algae and marine vascular plants.
We use a combination molecular phylogenetic approaches to explore the evolution of nitrogen assimilating enzymes and regulatory pathways in several lineages of photosynthetic eukaryotes. In addition, our physiological studies use a broad range of techniques to explore how photosynthetic organisms respond to environmental stimuli, including changes in nutrient availability. As a result, our work provides many training and research opportunities for both undergraduates and graduate students. Please feel free to explore this site to learn more about our research program, outreach activities and opportunities for both undergraduate and graduate students.
Undergraduates who are interested in learning more about our research and opportunities in the lab are encouraged to talk with Prof. Robertson and other members of the lab. Students are encouraged to participate (but not required) in at least one courses taught by Prof. Robertson prior to joining the lab. For students interested in graduate studies, the Biology Department at Clark University offers both the Ph.D. and master’s degree, with support from teaching and research assistantships. Students with interests in algal physiology or molecular evolution are encouraged to explore the lab, departmental and university web pages and to contact Prof. Robertson with any questions.