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College of Arts & Sciences
Department of Biological Sciences

Faculty & Staff Directory

Sarah Woodin

Department of Biology
University of South Carolina

Office: CLS 406
Phone Number: 803-777-4254
Photo of Dr. Woodin


Marine Benthic Ecology, Recruitment, Biogenic Disturbance, Biogeography

Dr. Woodin’s research is focused on the analysis of processes controlling the distribution and abundance of organisms in marine sedimentary environments.  Her past work has demonstrated experimentally the relative roles of direct and indirect competition, disturbance, predation (partial and complete), biogenic structural heterogeneity, and biogenic halogenated compounds. She is particularly interested in the importance of biogenic disturbance to recruitment and roles of large infauna as community drivers. Her emphasis has been on experimental field manipulations of shallow water marine sedimentary assemblages with parallel laboratory experiments and on the development of tools with which to detect behaviors of infauna remotely.

Dr. Woodin's present research centers on the following three areas: 1. remote sensing of the frequency and intensity of biogenic disruption by ecological engineers using pressure signals generated by hydraulic activities, 2. the effect of hydraulic activities on community structure in sediments, and 3. the importance of global climate change to the biogeography of large infauna who are ecosystem engineers.  The ability to detect activities of large infauna remotely is a major breakthrough in sediment research in that it allows one to ask questions about rates and experimental outcomes non-destructively, opening the door to an array of manipulations and allowing the determination of pore-water flux rates. In the global change project she is looking at mechanisms driving changes in range limits as well as behavioral indicators of stress in large infauna at range limits.  These projects are funded by NSF and NASA.  Her field studies are currently being carried out on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of North America and the Atlantic coast of Europe.  Collaborators include Drs. David Wethey (USC), Jerry Hilbish (USC), Brian Helmuth (Northeastern University), Rick Lovell (USC), Venkat Lakshmi (USC), Nils Volkenborn (USC), Lubos Polerecky (Max Planck Institute, Bremen, Germany), Simon Thrush (NIWA, New Zealand), Judi Hewett (NIWA, New Zealand), Conrad Pilditch (U Waikato, New Zealand), Christof Meile (UGeorgia) and Stanislas Dubois (IFREMER, Brest, France).

Selected Publications: 

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 . in press.

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

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

Volkenborn, N, L Polerecky, DS Wethey, TH DeWitt, SA Woodin. 2012. Oxic-anoxic oscillations around complex burrow structures caused by hydraulic activities of the ghost shrimp Neotrypaea californiensis. Marine Ecology Progress Series 455. 141-156.

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