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Paulette Peckol

Louise Harrington Professor of Biological Sciences

Paulette Peckol


Sabin­-Reed Hall 214


Paulette Peckol conducts research in the areas of marine ecology, coral reef ecology, environmental biology and algal physiological ecology. In tropical areas, she focuses on the effects of disturbances from both humans (overfishing, coastal pollution) and natural causes (hurricanes, El Niño events) in coral reef communities, studying coral, fish and algal population dynamics on reefs off Belize and the Bahamas. In particular, she considers the effects of marine­-protected areas (no­-take zones) on coral reef health and population balance. She investigates competition, seaweed-herbivore interactions, chemical defense and pollution impacts at New England sites.  

Current work considers tri-trophic interactions: competition between intertidal herbivore species for food and habitat as modified by invasive crab predators. For example, the dominant grazer, Littorina littorea, exerts competitive interference on the herbivore specialist, L. obtusata, affecting its grazing, growth and population densities. Two invasive crab predators further limit distribution and abundance of L. obtusata, because it is more vulnerable to predation due to its smaller size and thinner shell. Another ongoing project investigates the production of toxic compounds by macroalgae as herbivore deterrents.

Selected Publications

Putnam, A.* and P. Peckol. 2018. Asymmetric interference competition between herbivorous gastropods, introduced Littorina littorea and indigenous L. obtusata. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 594: 135–147.

Peckol, P. and A. Putnam*. 2017. Differential toxic effects of Ulva lactuca (Chlorophyta) on the herbivorous gastropods, Littorina littorea and L. obtusata (Mollusca). J. Phycol. 53: 361–367.

Brown­-Saracino, J.*, P. Peckol, H. A. Curran, and M. Robbart*. 2007. "Spatial variation in sea urchins, fish predators, and bioerosion rates on coral reefs of Belize." Coral Reefs 26: 71–78.

Curran, H. A., S. Etheredge, E. Callaghan*, and P. Peckol. 2005. "Coral Reef Ed­-ventures: An environmental education program for school children in San Pedro, Belize," Reef Encounter 33: 22–27.

Robbart, M. L.*, P. Peckol, S. P. Scordilis, H. A. Curran, and J. Brown­-Saracino.* 2004. "Population recovery and differential heat shock protein expression for the corals Agaricia agaricites and A. tenuifolia in Belize." Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 283: 151–60.

Curran, H. A., P. Peckol, B. J. Greenstein,* S. Ristau,* and S. DeYoung.* 2004. "Shallow­-water coral reefs in transition: Examples from Belize and the Bahamas.” R. D. Lewis and B. C. Panuska (eds.) Proc. 11th Symposium on the Geology of the Bahamas and Other Carbonate Regions, Gerace Research Center, p. 13–24.

Peckol, P., H. A. Curran, B. J. Greenstein, E. Floyd,* and M. Robbart.* 2003. "Assessment of the status of coral reefs and fish populations off San Salvador Island, Bahamas." Atoll Research Bull. 496: 124–144.

Peckol, P., H. A. Curran, E. Floyd,* M. Robbart,* B. J. Greenstein, and K. Buckman.* 2003. "Assessment of the condition of forereef and backreef sites to northern and south­ central Belize, including recovery from bleaching and hurricane disturbances." Atoll Research Bull. 496: 146–71.

Wrabel, M. L.,* and P. Peckol. 2000. "Effects of bioremediation on toxicity and chemical composition of number 2 fuel oil: Growth responses of the brown alga Fucus vesiculosus." Marine Pollution Bulletin. 40: 135–39.

Valiela, I., P. Peckol, C. D'Avanzo, J. Kremer, D. Hersh, K. Foreman, K. Lajtha, B. Seely, W. R. Geyer, T. Isaji, and R. Crawford. 1998. "Ecological effects of major storms on coastal watersheds and coastal waters: Hurricane Bob on Cape Cod." J. Coast. Res.14: 218–38.

Peckol, P., and J. L. Yates.* 1997. “Inducible phlorotannins in brown algae from backreef sites.” In: Lessios, H. A. and I. G. Macintyre (eds.). Proc. 8th Int. Coral Reef Symposium. 2: 1259-62.

Peckol, P., J. M. Krane,* and J. L. Yates.* 1996. "Interactive effects of inducible defense and resource availability on phlorotannins in the North Atlantic brown alga Fucus vesiculosus." Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 138: 209–17.

Peckol, P., and J. S. Rivers.* 1996. "Contribution by macroalgal mats to primary production of a shallow embayment under high and low nitrogen loading rates." Est. Coast. Shelf Sci. 43: 311–25.

Valiela, I., P. Peckol, C. D’Avanzo, K. Lajtha, J. Kremer, W. R. Geyer, K. Foreman, D. Hersh, B. Seely, T. Isaji, and R. Crawford. 1996. “Hurricane Bob on Cape Cod.” Amer. Scientist. 84: 154-65.

Peckol, P., and J. S. Rivers.* 1995. “Physiological responses of opportunistic macroalgae, Cladophora vagabunda and Gracilaria tikvahiae to environmental disturbances associated with eutrophication.” J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol. 190: 1-16.

Peckol, P., and J. S. Rivers*. 1995. “Competitive interactions between the opportunistic macroalgae Cladophora vagabunda (Chlorophyta) and Gracilaria tikvahiae (Rhodophyta) under eutrophic conditions.” J. Phycol. 31: 229-32.

Rivers, J. S.* and P. Peckol. 1995. “Summer decline of Ulva lactuca (Chlorophyta) in a eutrophic embayment: interactive effects of temperature and nitrogen availability?” J. Phycol. 31: 223-8.

Rivers, J. S.* and P. Peckol. 1995. “Interactive effects of nitrogen and dissolved inorganic carbon on photosynthesis, growth and ammonium uptake of the macroalgae Cladophora vagabunda and Gracilaria tikvahiae.” Mar. Biol. 121: 747-53.

Peckol, P., B. DeMeo-Anderson,* J. Rivers,* I. Valiela, M. Maldonado,* and J. Yates.* 1994. “Growth, nutrient uptake capacities and tissue constituents of the macroalgae, Cladophora vagabunda and Gracilaria tikvahiae, related to site-specific nutrient loading rates. Mar. Biol. 121: 175-85.

Yates, J.* and P. Peckol. 1993. "Effects of nutrient availability and herbivory on polyphenolic concentrations in the seaweed Fucus vesiculosus." Ecology 74: 1757–66.

Peckol, P. and J. Ramus. 1992. “Photosynthetic performance of deep-water macroalgae (Phaephyta, Dictyotales) off Bermuda.” Hydrobiol. 231: 93-8.

Valiela, I., K. Foreman, M. L. LaMontagne, D. Hersh, J. Costa, P. Peckol. B. DeMeo-Anderson,* C. D’Avanzo, M. Babione, C. Sham, J. Brawley, and K. Lajtha. 1992. “Couplings of watersheds and coastal waters: sources and consequences of nutrient enrichment in Waquoit Bay.” Estuaries 15: 443-57.

Peckol, P., S. Levings, and S. Garrity. 1990. “Kelp (Laminaria spp.) response following the World Prodigy oil spill in Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island.” Marine Pollution Bulletin. 21: 473-6.

Peckol, P., S. Guarnagia,* and M. Fisher.* 1989. “Zonation and behavioral patterns of the intertidal gastropods Nodilittorina (Tectininus) antoni Philippi, 1846 and Nerita versicolor Gmelin, 1791 in the Bahamas.” Veliger 32: 8-15.

Villalard-Bhonsack, M., P. Peckol, and M. Harlin. 1988. “Marine macroalgae of Narragansett Bay and adjacent sounds.” In: Sheath, R. and M. Harlin (eds.). Freshwater and Marine Plants of Rhode Island. Kendall-Hunt, Dubuque, Iowa, p. 101-18.

Peckol, P., M. M. Harlin, and P. Krumscheid.* 1988. “Physiological and population ecology of intertidal and subtidal Ascophyllum nodosum.” J. Phycol. 24: 192-8.

*Smith College student author


Ph.D., Duke University
B.A., Wittenberg University

Selected Works in Smith ScholarWorks