Jeanette D Wheeler, PhD
Stocker Lab, Environmental Microfluidics Group
Institute of Environmental Engineering
Department of Civil, Environmental, and
Geomatic Engineering,

Research Bio:

I investigate interactions occuring in plankton at the microscale.  The ocean teems with marine life, much of which is too small to be seen with the naked eye.  Planktonic organisms ranging in size from micrometres to centimetres must navigate a complex fluid environment to find food, avoid predators, and in the case of transient planktonic organisms, locate suitable areas to settle out of the plankton.  

Plankton encounter a vast array of environmental cues in the water column, encompassing physical cues like turbulence, light, and sound waves, as well as biological and chemical cues such as the exudates from predator, prey, host species, as well as conspecifics.  The intepretation of these cues and the resultant behavioral responses by planktonic organisms can mediate survival and success in the water column.   

I completed my PhD in the MIT-Woods Hole Oceanographic Insititution Joint Program in 2016 with Lauren Mullineaux (Biology) and Karl Helrich (Physical Oceanography).  My PhD work considered the effects of water column cues (turbulence, light and conspecific chemical exudates), individually and interactively, on the swimming behavior of larval invertebrates at different stages of development.   

I am presently a postdoctoral researcher with Roman Stocker's lab at the Institute for Environmental Engineering at ETH Zürich.  In my postdoc work, I am investigating how phytoplankton modify their behavior and genetic regulation in response to a broad range of "adverse" environmental conditions: highly turbulent flow, micro- and hyper-gravity, and the sea surface microlayer.