Jamie Pierson


Jamie Pierson

Associate Professor
Jamie Pierson
Associate Professor
Horn Point Laboratory


I am a biological oceanographer that focuses on zooplankton ecology and specifically the interactions between zooplankton, their predators and prey, and their habitat. Much of my work is done with copepods, tiny crustacean zooplankton that are probably the most numerous organism on earth. Copepods are found nearly anywhere on earth where we find water, from the bottom of the ocean to high mountain lakes. Their role in the food web is to graze on phytoplankton and small protists, and they provide food for fish, shellfish, and jellyfish. Their position in the middle of the food web is to mediate the flow of energy and material from the primary producers that harness the power of the sun, to the higher trophic levels like fish and shellfish that are economically important and ecological engineers. To gain a better understanding of how copepods affect the ecology of marine and coastal ecosystems, I combine field work, laboratory experiments, and numerical modeling to test specific hypotheses about copepod feeding, vertical migration, and response to stressors like toxins, deoxygenation, and climate change.

Meet the copepod Acartia tonsa

Video of Acartia tonsa, taken through the microscope.

Areas of Expertise

  • Biological Oceanography
  • Zooplankton Ecology
  • Trophic Dynamics
  • Copepods
  • Plankton Grazing


  • University of Washington, 2006, Ph.D., Oceanography
  • University of Washington, 2003, M.S., Oceanography
  • University of New Hampshire, 1996, B.S., Biology: Marine and Freshwater

Regularly Offered Courses

Graduate Program Foundation Areas