Hans G. Dam

University of Connecticut Department of Marine Sciences
1080 Shennecossett Road Groton, CT 06340
Phone: (860) 405-9098
Fax: (860) 405-9153
email: hans.dam@uconn.edu

See my CV.

I am a biological oceanographer. My research interests are in the biology, ecology and evolution of planktonic organisms, particularly pelagic copepods. Earlier in my career I investigated questions dealing with the role of planktonic organisms in biogeochemical cycles in the ocean, and the formation and fate of marine aggregates. Recently, my interests have broadened to deal with questions of the evolutionary ecology of plankton. My proudest professional achievement is training of some excellent graduate students. I encourage my students to become critical thinkers, to work on important questions in the field and to publish their work in a timely manner. 

Current Research Projects:
 Interaction of Grazers and Toxic Algae. Toxic algal blooms are proliferating worldwide, but we understand little of the consequences of such proliferation. We are currently interested in the evolution of grazer adaptation to phytoplankton neurotoxins produced by the dinoflagellate Alexandrium.  We have experimentally demonstrated that populations of grazers that experience frequent blooms of toxic Alexandrium have a fitness advantage over those populations that  do not frequently experience such blooms; we have developed methods to identify phenotypes of adaptation to toxic algae and measured costs and advantages of toxin adaptation. We are also actively working on the molecular mechanisms of grazer adaptation to the toxins produced by Alexandrium. New areas of research in the lab are: 1) Novel mechanisms of toxicity (reactive oxygen species) in Alexandrium.  2) Costs and advantages of toxin production in Alexandrium. 3) Grazer-induced toxicity in Alexandrium.

Thermal Adaptation in Zooplankton. A formidable challenge to ocean scientists is to understand and predict the response of the biota to global change.We are currently starting work on understanding copepod adaptation to projected temperature increases, both long-term and episodic. We study within population variation to determine the potential for evolution of thermal adaptation. We also compare reaction norms of copepod populations along latitudinal and thermal gradients to determine whether the thermal reaction norms have evolved.  

Oceanography and Management  of Long Island Sound. Long Island Sound is one of  the most urbanized estuaries in the world and faces multidimensional environmental management issues. I helped found the Long Island Sound Integrated Coastal Observing System (LISICOS) and keep an interest in water quality management for the Sound. In collaboration with G. McManus and the CT Dept. Energy  and Environmental Protection, we currently have a zooplankton monitoring program in place. Also, in collaboration with J. O'Donnell, I have worked on a sysnthesis of water quality data in Long Island Sound. 


Research Projects

Collaborative Research: Costs and advantages of a novel sodium channel mutation. - National Science Foundation

Chemical defenses in a toxic dinoflagellate: Mechanisms and constraints - National Science Foundation

Response of zooplankton to projected changes in temperature in Long Island Sound - NOAA, CT Sea Grant Program

Monitoring mesozooplankton and microzooplankton in Long Island Sound. - Environmental Protection Agency/CT DEEP

Oceanography Students

Gihong Park - Ph.D. Student

Oceanography Alumni

Christina Batoh - Ph.D. 2012
Zair Burris - Ph.D. 2014
Mari Butler - M.Sc. 1993
Lihua Chen - Ph.D. 2010
Sean Colin - Ph.D. 2002
Ben Cournoyer - M.Sc. 2013
David Detlor - M.Sc. 1998
Leah Feinberg - M.Sc. 1998
Michael Finiguerra - Ph.D. 2013
Michael Ford - M.Sc. 2000
Sheean Haley - M.Sc. 2002
Caroline A. Loglisci - M.Sc. 2007
Kimberly Philips - M.Sc. 1996
Amy Smith Siuda - Ph.D. 2007
Kam Tang - Ph.D. 2000
Xinsheng Zhang - Ph.D. 1997

Research Staff

Lydia Norton

Courses Taught


Honors Received

Augmentation award for science and engineering training (AASERT) from the Office of Naval Research (1994) 
National Science Foundation Ocean Sciences CAREER award  (1995)
Elected member of the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering (2007)
Elected member of the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences (2009)



Click here to see my publication record in Goggle Scholar

Click here to download papers in Research Gate

Colin, S.P. and H.G. Dam 2007. Comparison of the functional and numerical responses of resistant versus non-resistant populations of the           copepodAcartia hudsonica fed the toxic dinoflagellate Alexandrium tamarense. Harmful Algae 6: 875–882

Lopes, R.M., H.G. Dam, N.A. Aquino, W.Monteiro-Ribas and L. Rull. 2007. Massive egg production by a salp symbiont, the poecilostomatoid copepod Sapphirina angusta Dana, J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol.  348: 145–153. 

O'Donnell, J., H. G. Dam, W. F. Bohlen, W. Fitzgerald, P. S. Gay, A. E. Houk, D. C. Cohen, and M. M. Howard-Strobel (2008), Intermittent  ventilation in the hypoxic zone of western Long Island Sound during the summer of 2004, J. Geophys. Res., 113,  C09025, doi:10.1029/2007JC004716.

Avery, D.E., K.J. Altland, and H.G. Dam. 2008.  Sex-related differential mortality of a marine copepod exposed to a toxic dinoflagellate. Limnol. Oceanogr. 53: 2627-2635.

Siuda, A.N.S. and H.G. Dam. 2010. Effects of omnivory and predator-prey elemental stoichiometry on planktonic trophic interactions. Limnol. Oceanogr.  55: 2107-2116.

Dam, H.G. and S.T. Haley. 2011. Comparative dynamics of paralytic shellfish toxins (PST) in a tolerant and susceptible population of the copepod Acartia hudsonica. Harmful Algae. 10: 10. 245-253.  

 Zheng, Y., H.G. Dam and D.E. Avery. 2011. Differential responses of  populations of the copepod Acartia hudsonica to toxic and nutritionally insufficient food algae. Harmful Algae. 10: 723-731. 

Flores, H.S., G.H.Wikfors and H.G. Dam.  2012. Reactive oxygen species are linked to the toxicity of the dinoflagellate Alexandrium spp. to protists. Aquatic Microb. Ecol.  69:  199-209. 

(Press feature about Flores et al. 2012 paper:)

Dam, H.G. Evolutionary adaptation of marine zooplankton to global change. 2013. Ann. Rev. Mar. Sci.  5: 349-370.