Research Fellow
Louise McKenzie
Marine Invasions Lab 2011-2013

Current Research

Invasion Ecology
Hull fouling is a major vector of many non-indigenous marine species, yet quantifying the likelihood of species transfer over the course of a voyage and what condition they may arrive in is difficult. I am researching the transportation of non-indigenous marine species on the hulls of commercial ships, focusing in particular on how the fluctuating environmental conditions experienced by trans-oceanic voyages impact survival and fitness. These experiments compare multiple taxa across multiple trans-oceanic voyages, using salinity and temperature readings from real time ship movements in controlled, lab-based aquaria.

Evolutionary Invasion Ecology
Temperature and salinity can vary dramatically over the course of a voyage, depending on the ship course and trip duration, creating physiological constraints on hull-fouling organisms. Consequently this scenario has the potential to select for species traits that are capable of withstanding either a broad environmental range and/or fluctuating conditions. From an evolutionary context, are the species which become widely distributed successful because they are pre-adapted to survive the voyage conditions, or does the process of transfer select for these traits? My research is investigating whether broad tolerance to environmental variables, such as temperature and salinity, are a common trait in a widely distributed non-indigenous marine invertebrate. To answer this I am comparing native to introduced populations across the Northern and Southern Hemisphere.

Previous  Research Students
Aliya Rubinstein, SERC Intern – Effect of salinity on fertilisation success in an estuarine invader, Molgula manhattensis.  

Matthew Siskey, SERC Intern – Effects of expedited thermal stress on invasion potential of Mytilus edulis.

Academic Career
2011     Smithsonian Research Fellow, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, USA
2011     PhD, University of New South Wales, Australia
2004     Bachelor Marine Science (Hons), University of Wollongong, Australia

McKenzie LA
, Johnston EL, Brooks R (2012) Using clones and copper to resolve the genetic architecture of metal tolerance in a marine invader. Ecology and Evolution 2: 1319-1329

McKenzie LA, Brooks R, Johnston EL (2012) A widespread contaminant increases invasion success in a marine invader. Journal of Applied Ecology 49: 767-773

McKenzie LA, Brooks R, Johnston EL (2011) Heritable pollution tolerance in a marine invader. Environmental Research 111: 926-932

Gribben PE, Byers JE, Clements M, McKenzie LA, Steinberg PD, Wright JT (2009) Behavioural interactions between ecosystem engineers control community species richness. Ecology Letters 12: 1127–1136

Minchinton TE, McKenzie LA (2008) Nutrient enrichment affects recruitment of oysters and barnacles in a mangrove forest. Marine Ecology Progress Series 354: 181-189

Wright JT, McKenzie LA, Gribben PE (2007) A decline in the abundance and condition of a native bivalve associated with Caulerpa taxifolia invasion. Marine and Freshwater Research 58: 263-272

Recent Conference Presentations
McKenzie LA
, Johnston EL, Brooks R (2011) Re-sculpting an invasive species with heavy metal pollution. Marine Bioinvasions Biannual Conference (23-25 August, Barcelona, Spain)

McKenzie LA, Johnston EL, Brooks R (2011) Reaping the benefits of an anthropogenic contaminant. XL Benthic Ecology Meeting (16-20 March, Mobile, Alabama, USA)

Contact details
Marine Invasions Laboratory
Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
PO Box 28
647 Contees Wharf Road
Edgewater, Maryland 21037 USA
Work: +1 443 482 2424

Further CV details