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Melissa M Baustian, Ph.D.

Melissa’s research interests include how pelagic, benthic, and vegetated habitats of coastal ecosystems support functions of nutrient cycling, trophic dynamics of food webs, and carbon sequestration.

Melissa has conducted research on the essential mechanisms and stressors involved in benthic-pelagic coupling of lakes, estuaries, and oceans, including the hypoxic region or Dead Zone in the northern Gulf of Mexico.  An objective of her current research is to understand how phytoplankton and microphytobenthos (including potential harmful algal blooms) of coastal ecosystems are influenced by nutrient enrichment, climate change, and coastal restoration. 

Melissa uses new and existing short- and long-term field observations, statistical analyses, and ecosystem models at the landscape level to answer ecological research questions and to provide relevant information to policy makers and coastal managers.  Melissa enjoys participating and leading collaborative and interdisciplinary projects that generate information to inform stakeholders.

*Disclaimer: Listing outside positions with professional scientific organizations on this Staff Profile are for informational purposes only and do not constitute an endorsement of those professional scientific organizations or their activities by the USGS, Department of the Interior, or U.S. Government