Linda A. Deegan

Senior Scientist

Tel: 508-289-7487 | Fax: 508-457-154

Ph.D. Louisiana State University, 1985
M.S. University of New Hampshire, 1979
B.S. Northeastern University, 1976

Full CV

Research Statement

I am interested in the relationships between ecosystem dynamics and animal populations. As the trophic-dynamic model of whole ecosystems gained favor in the 1960's and 70's, the importance of animals in structuring ecosystems was neglected. New interest in the role of animals in ecosystems has been stimulated by work in community ecology that demonstrated that keystone species strongly influence community composition and work as "top-down" controls on productivity. We now know that grazing, predation and physical disturbance by animals can influence a host of processes at the ecosystem level. My research combines the ecosystem perspective of energy and nutrient flows with traditional population and community dynamics.

I find aquatic ecosystems to be particularly interesting because of their importance in connecting landscape elements through the flow of water and animals. I have examined problems ranging from the importance of fish in exporting nutrients and carbon from estuaries, to the effect of habitat degradation on fish community structure in coastal embayments, to the response of upper trophic levels to increased nutrients in arctic streams. I use a combination of approaches to address these questions ranging from surveys of fish abundance and species composition to traditional gut content analyses as well as state of the art techniques such as measuring of the natural abundance and flows of 15N tracers in food webs.

Recent Publications

Deegan, L. A. D. S. Johnson, R. S. Warren, B. J. Peterson, J. W. Fleeger, S. Fagherazzi, W. M. Wollheim. 2012. Coastal eutrophication as a driver of salt marsh loss. Nature 490:388-392. MBL Press Release.

Schmitz, O.J., P. A. Raymond, J. A. Estes, W. A. Kurz, G. W. Holtgrieve, M. E. Ritchie, D. E. Schindler, A. C. Spivak, R. W. Wilson, M. A. Bradford, V. Christensen, L. A. Deegan, V. Smetacek, M. J. Vanni, and C. C. Wilmers. 2013. Animating the Carbon Cycle. Ecosystems, In press. (Online early publication October 2013). MBL Press Release.

Neill, C., M. T. Coe, S. H. Riskin, A. V. Krusche, H. Elsenbeer, M. N. Macedo, R. McHorney, P. Lebebvre, E. A. Davidson, R. Scheffler, M. Figueira, S. Porder and L. A. Deegan. 2013. Small watershed responses to Amazon soybean cropland expansion and intensification. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B. 2013 368 20120425; doi:10.1098/rstb.2012.0425 (published online 22 April 2013)

Fagherazzi, S., D. M. FitzGerald, R. W. Fulweiler, Z. Hughes, P. L. Wiberg, K. J. McGlathery, J. T. Morris, T. J. Tolhurst, L. A. Deegan, D. S. JohnsonP. 2013. Ecogeomorphology of Salt Marshes. In: John F. Shroder (ed.) Treatise on Geomorphology, Volume 12, pp. 182-200. San Diego: Academic Press. ISBN 0080885225, 9780080885223

Peterson, B. J., W. B. Bowden, L. A. Deegan, A. D. Huryn, E. Shuett. 2013 (In press). Ecology of streams of the North Slope, Toolik Region. In: A Warming Arctic: Ecological consequences for Tundra, Streams and Lakes. Oxford University Press.

Associated People

David S. Johnson, MBL Assistant Research Scientist

Contact info:
Project Connections: TIDE and Plum Island LTER
I am community ecologist who works in coastal wetlands (salt marshes and mangroves) to understand how species interactions can affect ecosystem functioning. These questions are often viewed through the lens of human activities such as coastal nutrient enrichment, climate change and species invasions. And I absolutely adore any critter without a spine.
Something we can’t tell about you just by looking at your photo: I make a damn fine corn and clam chowder. I also publish non-fiction essays and articles about science and the human condition. I also publish nature photographs and fictional short stories.

James Nelson, MBL Assistant Research Scientist

Contact info:
Project Connections: TIDE, Plum Island LTER, Northeast Climate Science Consortium
I am most interested in the fish related components of marine ecosystems and use a wide variety of tools to conduct my research (e.g. stable isotopes, field work, and modeling). To date my research has addressed ecosystem subsidies, food web primary production sources, and the impact of nutrient pollution on fish production. Currently, I am an Assistant Research Scientist at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA where I spend my summers at the Plum Island Long Term Ecosystem Research site thigh deep in marsh mud capturing fish.
Something we can’t tell about you just by looking at your photo: I brew beer in my basement.

Graduate Students

Sarah Corman Crosby

Contact info:
Project connections: Ph.D. Graduate Student, Brown-MBL Program
Description: I am interested in how salt marsh plants will respond to rising temperatures, and more broadly in how global change will change the structure and function of these and other coastal ecosystems. Currently, I am studying how smooth cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora) allocates growth above and belowground, and why we see patterns in its flowering. I will use this information to help us better understand where salt marshes might be lost with increasing rates of sea level rise.
Something we can’t tell about you just by looking at your photo: I love fieldwork but loathe camping (a strange dichotomy), my dog was a dinosaur for Halloween, and pickles are one of my favorite foods.

Heidi Golden

Contact info:
Project connections: PhD candidate, University of Connecticut
Description: As an aquatic ecologist, I am interested in how aquatic animals interact with their environment and what factors influence movement, survival and persistence of aquatic populations. I began working with Arctic grayling (Thymallus arcticus) in 1990 and find the challenges this species faces fascinating. For example, imagine being frozen under ice for more than half the year! Arctic grayling also seasonally migrate great distances to spawn and feed during the spring and summer, but risk becoming trapped far from their overwintering site when droughts occur. Due to climate change and human development in the Arctic, this species faces increased disruption to their life cycle, which might in turn impact survival and persistence.
Something we can’t tell about you just by looking at your photo: I enjoy raising and tending Indian runner ducks, and even built a backyard pond for my three ducks to play in.

Research Staff

Cameron MacKenzie

Contact info:
Project connections: Fishscape project
Description: I am a population ecologist and have enjoyed working on a variety of marine and freshwater projects. I specialize in fisheries science because I am fascinated by biology in aquatic ecosystems, an alien domain that is very difficult to observe and yet is intimately linked with our terrestrial lives. My interests are computing and statistics, demography, fermenting sugar, and being in wilderness areas.

Other Affiliates

For other Associated People check out these web sites:
Saltmarsh Ecology - TIDE:
Tropical Landscape and Stream ecology:
Plum Island Long-term Ecological Research:
Arctic Long-term Ecological Research:

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Woods Hole, MA 02543-1015

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