Dept. of Biological Sciences

David S. Wethey

Professor of Biological Sciences and Marine Science
Ph.D., 1979,
University of Michigan
704 Earth and Water Sciences

Wethey Lab Home Page

Ecological Forecasting Page

Population and Community Ecology, Biogeography, and Rocky Intertidal Ecology

Dr. Wethey's research interests include biogeography, population dynamics, predator-prey and competitive interactions, conservation genetics, and the mechanisms by which organisms escape the physics of their habitats. He uses a combination of field and laboratory experiments and modeling to examine these processes. His work on population dynamics involves the application of difference and differential equation models to age structured populations, including barnacles, annelids, copepods, and fish. His work on predator-prey interactions has examined the influence of fluid dynamics on the transport of odor plumes used for prey detection by aquatic predators. His work on animal behavior has used non-invasive field and laboratory methods including medical ultrasound and low frequency pressure transients to detect activities of animals living within sediments. His work on biogeography has used field experiments and biophysical modeling to determine the mechanisms responsible for setting geographic limits of species. His field studies are currently being carried out on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of North America, the Pacific coast of Asia, and the Atlantic coast of Europe.

His current projects include

1.      field, remote sensing, modeling and forecasting studies of the mechanisms responsible for setting the geographic limits of intertidal barnacles, mussels, and infauna, with Drs. Jerry Hilbish, Brian Helmuth, Sarah Woodin, and Venkat Lakshmi (Funding: NASA, NOAA-Ecofore, NSF),

2.   field and laboratory studies of the subsurface activities of infaunal worms and clams, and their effects on porewater geochemistry, nutrient cycling, and bacterial populations with Drs Sarah Woodin (USC), Rick Lovell (USC), Lubos Polerecky (Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Bremen, Germany), Nils Volkenborn, and George Matsui (Funding: NSF)

Selected Publications:

Woodin, SA, TJ Hilbish, B Helmuth, SJ Jones, DS Wethey. 2013. Climate change, species distribution models, and physiological performance metrics: predicting when biogeographic models are likely to fail. Ecology and Evolution doi: 10.1002/ece3.680.

Volkenborn, N, C Meile, L Polerecky, CA Pilditch, A Norkko, J Norkko, JE Hewitt, SF Thrush, DS Wethey SA Woodin. 2013. Intermittent bioirrigation and oxygen dynamics in permeable sediments: An experimental and modeling study of three tellinid bivalves. Journal of Marine Research 70: 794-823.

Burnett, NP, R Seabra, M de Pirro, DS Wethey, SA Woodin, B Helmuth, ML Zippay, G Sara, C Monaco, FP Lima. 2013. An improved noninvasive method for measuring heartbeat of intertidal animals. Limnology and Oceanography: Methods 11: 91-100.

Lima, FP, DS Wethey. 2012. Three decades of high-resolution coastal sea surface temperatures reveal more than warming. Nature Communications 3:704.

Sousa LL, R Seabra, DS Wethey, R Xavier, N Queiroz, S Zenboudji, FP Lima. 2012. Fate of a climate-driven colonisation: Demography of newly established populations of the limpet Patella rustica Linnaeus, 1758, in northern Portugal. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology. 438:68-75.

Volkenborn, N, L Polerecky, DS Wethey, TH DeWitt, SA Woodin. 2012. Hydraulic activity of the ghost shrimp Neotrypaea californiensis induces oxic-anoxic oscillations around its burrows. Marine Ecology Progress Series 455:141-156.
Link to Videos Click here to download copies of the videos.
Supplementary information on porewater pressure dynamics

Woodin, SA, DS Wethey, JE Hewitt, SF Thrush. 2012. Small scale terrestrial clay deposits on intertidal sandflats: behavioral changes and productivity reduction. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 413:184-191.

Hilbish, TJ, FP Lima, PM Brannock, EK Fly, RL Rognstad, DS Wethey. 2012. Change and stasis in marine hybrid zones in response to climate warming. Journal of Biogeography 39:676-687.

Jones, SJ, AJ Southward, DS Wethey. 2012. Climate change and historical biogeography of the barnacle Semibalanus balanoides. Global Ecology and Biogeography 21:716-724.

Wethey, DS, LD Brin, B Helmuth, KAS Mislan. 2011. Predicting intertidal organism temperatures with modified land surface models. Ecological Modelling 222:3568-3576.

Mislan, KAS, DS Wethey. 2011. Gridded meteorological data as resource for mechanistic ecology in coastal environments. Ecological Applications 21:2678-2690.

Lima, FP, NP Burnett, B Helmuth, N Kish, K Aveni-Deforge, DS Wethey. 2011. Monitoring the intertidal environment with biomimetic devices. Biomimetic Based Applications, A George (editor). p 499-522. ISBN: 978-953-307-195-4, InTech.

Wethey, DS, SA Woodin, TJ Hilbish, SJ Jones, FP Lima, PM Brannock. 2011. Response of intertidal populations to climate: effects of extreme events versus long term change. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 400:132-144.

Seabra, R, DS Wethey, AM Santos, FP Lima. 2011. Side matters: microhabitat influence on intertidal heat stress over a large geographical scale. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 400:200-208

Matsui, GY, N Volkenborn, L Polerecky, U Henne, DS Wethey CR Lovell, SA Woodin. 2011. Mechanical imitation of bidirectional bioadvection in aquatic sediments. Limnology and Oceanography: Methods 9:84-96.

Jones, SJ, FP Lima, DS Wethey. 2010. Rising environmental temperatures and biogeography: poleward range contraction of the blue mussel, Mytilus edulis L., in the western Atlantic. Journal of Biogeography 37:2243-2259.

Woodin, SA, DS Wethey, N Volkenborn. 2010. Infaunal hydraulic ecosystem engineers: cast of characters and impacts. Integrative and Comparative Biology 50:176-187

Volkenborn, N, L Polerecky, DS Wethey, SA Woodin. 2010. Oscillatory porewater bioadvection in marine sediments induced by hydraulic activities of Arenicola marina. Limnology and Oceanography 55:1231-1247.
Web Video Appendix for paper
Video 1: Bioturbation activity of Arenicola marina.
Video 1:Oxygen dynamics in high permeability sediment induced by forward and reverse pumping by Arenicola.
Video 2: Oxygen dynamics in a low permeability sediment induced by Arenicola.
Video 3: Oxygen dynamics in intermediate permeability sediment induced by Arenicola.

Berke, SK, AR Mahon, FP Lima, KM Halanych, DS Wethey, SA Woodin. 2010. Range shifts and species diversity in marine ecosystem engineers: patterns and predictions for European sedimentary habitats. Global Ecology and Biogeography 19: 223-232.

Hilbish, TJ, PM Brannock, KR Jones, AB Smith, BN Bullock, DS Wethey. 2010 Historical changes in the distributions of invasive and endemic marine invertebrates are contrary to global warming predictions: the effects of decadal climate oscillations. Journal of Biogeography 37: 423-431.

Jones, SJ, N Mieszkowska, DS Wethey. 2009. Linking thermal tolerances and biogeography: Mytilus edulis (L.) at its southern limit on the east coast of the United States. Biological Bulletin 217: 73-85

Woodin, SA, DS Wethey. 2009. Arenicolid behaviors: similarity of Arenicola marina and Abarenicola pacifica. Zoosymposia 2: 437-445.

Lima, FP, DS Wethey. 2009. Robolimpets: measuring intertidal body temperatures using biomimetic loggers. Limnology and Oceanography: Methods 7:347-353

Brannock, PM, DS Wethey, TJ Hilbish. 2009. Extensive hybridization with minimal introgression in Mytilus galloprovincialis and M. trossulus in Hokkaido, Japan. Marine Ecology Progress Series 383:161-171.

Mislan, KAS, DS Wethey, B Helmuth. 2009. When to worry about the weather: role of tidal cycle in determining patterns of risk in intertidal ecosystems. Global Change Biology15:3056-3065.

Szathmary, PL, B Helmuth, DS Wethey. 2009. Climate change in the rocky intertidal zone: predicting and measuring the body temperature of a keystone predator. Marine Ecology Progress Series 374:43-56.

Wethey, DS, SA Woodin, N Volkenborn, K Reise. 2008. Porewater advection by hydraulic activities of lugworms, Arenicola marina: A field, laboratory and modeling study. Journal of Marine Research 66: 255-273.

Jenkins, SR, P Moore, MT Burrowes, DJ Garbary, SJ Hawkins, A Ingolfsson, KP Sebens, PVR Snelgrove, DS Wethey, SA Woodin. 2008. Comparative ecology of North Atlantic shores: do differences in players matter for process. Ecology 89(11) Supplement: S3-S23

Schmidt, PS, EA Serrao, GA Pearson, C Riginos, PD Rawson, TJ Hilbish, SH Brawley, GC Trussell, E Carrington, DS Wethey, JW Grahame, F Bonhomme, DM Rand. 2008. Ecological genetics in the North Atlantic: environmental gradients and adaptation at specific loci. Ecology 89(11) Supplement: S91-S107.

Wethey, DS, SA Woodin. 2008. Ecological hindcasting of biogeographic responses to climate change in the European intertidal zone. Hydrobiologia 606:139-151.

Finelli, CM, BS Helmuth, ND Pentcheff, DS Wethey. 2007. Intracolony variability in photosynthesis by corals is affected by water flow: role of oxygen flux. Marine Ecology Progress Series 349: 103-110.

Richmond, CE, DS Wethey, SA Woodin. 2007. Climate change and increased environmental variability: Demographic responses in an estuarine harpacticoid copepod. Ecological Modelling. 209:189-202.

Gilman, SE, DS Wethey, B Helmuth. 2006. Variation in the sensitivity of organismal body temperature to climate change over local and geographic scales.  PNAS 103: 9560-9565.

Finelli, CM, BST Helmuth, ND Pentcheff, DS Wethey. 2006.  Water flow influences oxygen transport and photosynthetic efficiency in corals.  Coral Reefs 25: 47:57.

Wethey, DS and SA Woodin. 2005. Infaunal hydraulics generate porewater pressure signals. Biological Bulletin 209: 139-145.

Schneider, KR, DS Wethey, BS Helmuth and TJ Hilbish. 2005. Implications of movement behavior on mussel dislodgement: exogenous selection in a Mytilus spp. hybrid zone. Marine Biology 146: 333-343.

Finelli, CM and DS Wethey. 2003. Behavior of oyster (Crassostrea virginica) larvae in flume boundary layer flows. Marine Biology. 143: 703-711.

McCraith, BJ, LR Gardner, DS Wethey, and WS Moore. 2003. The effect of fiddler crab burrowing on sediment mixing and radionuclide profiles along a topographic gradient in a southeastern salt marsh. Journal of Marine Research 61: 359-390.

Viscido, SV and DS Wethey. 2002. Quantitative analysis of fiddler crab flock movement: evidence for "selfish herd" behavior. Animal Behaviour 63: 735-741.

Viscido, SV, M. Miller and DS Wethey.2002. The dilemma of the selfish herd: the search for a realistic movement rule. Journal of Theoretical Biology 217:183-194.

DS Wethey. 2002. Microclimate, competition, and biogeography: the barnacle Chthamalus fragilis in New England. Integrative and Comparative Biology. 42: 872-880

Viscido, SV, M Miller and DS Wethey. 2001. The response of a selfish herd to an attack from outside the group perimeter. Journal of Theoretical Biology 208: 315-328.

Wethey, DS, SM Lindsay, SA Woodin and RL Marinelli 2001. Population Consequences of Intermediate Disturbance: Enhancement of Recruitment by Browsing Predation. pp 141-157 in JY Aller, SA Woodin and RC Aller (editors). Organism-Sediment Interactions. University of South Carolina Press, Columbia, SC

Finelli, CM, ND Pentcheff, RK Zimmer-Faust and DS Wethey. 2000. Physical constraints on ecological processes: A field test of odor-mediated foraging. Ecology 81: 784-797.

Grove, MW, CM Finelli, DS Wethey and SA Woodin. 2000. The effects of symbiotic crabs on the pumping activity and growth rates of Chaetopterus variopedatus. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 246: 31-52.

Diaz, M, DS Wethey, J Bulak and B Ely. 2000. Effect of harvest and effective population size on genetic diversity in a striped bass population. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 129: 1367-1372.

Denny, MW and DS Wethey. 2000. Physical processes that generate patterns in marine communities. pp. 1-37 in MD Bertness, SD Gaines and ME Hay (editors). Marine Community Ecology. Sinauer Associates, Sunderland Mass.

Finelli, CM and DS Wethey. 1999. Settlement in Balanomorph barnacles: the interaction of physics and settlement cues. pp. 275-292 in MF Thompson and R Nagabushanam (editors) Barnacles: The Biofoulers. Regency Publications, New Delhi.

Finelli, CM, ND Pentcheff, RK Zimmer-Faust and DS Wethey. 1999. Odor transport in turbulent flows: constraints on animal navigation. Limnology and Oceanography 44: 1056-1071.

Agler, H, A Ahearn, A Kitchell, N Lopanik, H Miller, M Miller, and DS Wethey. 1997. Resource competition in algae: a class project in mathematical biology. Maple Tech 4: 78-85.

Walters, LJ and DS Wethey. 1996. Safe spots in marine habitats: daily settlement and survival of sessile invertebrates on subtidal topographically complex hard substrata. Marine Ecology Progress Series 137:161-171.

Lindsay, SM, DS Wethey and SA Woodin. 1996. Modeling interactions of browsing predation, infaunal activity and recruitment in marine sedimentary systems. American Naturalist 148: 684-699.

Tamburri, M, CM Finelli, DS Wethey and RK Zimmer-Faust. 1996. Chemical induction of larval settlement behavior in flow. Biological Bulletin 191:367-373.

Bulak, JS, DS Wethey and MG White. 1995. An evaluation of management options for a reproducing striped bass, Morone saxatilis, population in the Santee Cooper system, South Carolina. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 15: 84-94.

Woodin, SA, SM Lindsay and DS Wethey. 1995. Process specific cues in marine sedimentary systems. Biological Bulletin 189: 49-58.

Zimmer-Faust, RK, CM Finelli, ND Pentcheff and DS Wethey. 1995. Odor plumes and animal navigation in turbulent water flow: a field study. Biological Bulletin 188: 111-116.

Wethey, DS. 1986. Ranking of settlement cues by barnacle larvae: influence of surface contour. Bulletin of Marine Science 39: 393-400.

Wethey, DS. 1986. Climate and biogeography: continuous versus catastrophic effects on rocky intertidal communities. Estudios Oceanologicos 5: 19-25.

Wethey, DS 1985. Catastrophe, extinction and species diversity: a rocky intertidal example. Ecology 66:446-456.

Wethey, DS 1984. Spatial pattern in barnacle settlement: day to day changes during the settlement season. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 64: 686-698.

Wethey, DS 1984. Sun and shade mediate competition in the barnacles Chthamalus and Semibalanus: a field experiment. Biological Bulletin 167: 176-185.

Wethey, DS 1983. Geographic limits and local zonation: the barnacles Semibalanus (Balanus) and Chthamalus in New England. Biological Bulletin 165: 330-341.


BIOL 301 Ecology and Evolution sophomore level

BIOL 570 Principles of Ecology junior/senior level

BIOL 570L Principles of Ecology Laboratory - junior/senior level

BIOL 765 Theoretical Ecology graduate level

BIOL 763 Population Biology/Mathematical Biology graduate level

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