Mike Nishizaki

WSN 2010 live blog


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Movie 2. Motions of individual Heterosigma cells recorded with a CCD video camera in a large tank that allowed for natural, free swimming behaviour. Each track is 180 seconds from an individual cell of ~10 micron diameter. These algae swim in helical patterns (due to flagella), so their is a left-right waggle to their motion.

Dr. E. Carrington


"My research program, in its broadest sense, investigates the physiological ecology of marine organisms. I am fascinated by the form and function of organisms inhabiting physically demanding environments, where thermal, osmotic, and hydrodynamic conditions can be extreme. "

Dr. J. Ackerman

M.Sc. Supervisor (in Canada)

"The ecological and evolutionary problems that underlie my research interests include the convergent evolution of morphology, the manner by which organisms have adapted to their physical environment, and the physical aspects of energy transfer through ecosystems."


Modeling Populations in the Ocean
Introduction to MATLAB
Intelligent design
Information theory
Molecular methods
Evolutionary genetics


FHL Marine Biology Class Blog
Biology 180

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Link: Mike's Amazon relational database

Check out my guest baseball blog over on Sportsnet: King Felix plays a Game of Thrones

Another baseball blog on Sportsnet: Mariners fans still waiting for a hero.

Return to MikeNish.com

Please note that I will be moving to Bowdoin College in the fall of 2012.


We know the oceans are changing but what will that mean for marine organisms? Predicting how organisms will respond to global warming is a current challenge for biologists. My goal is to gain a mechanistic understanding of how temperature affects the distribution of barnacles. I combine experiments and modelling to explore links between temperature, physiology and species distributions in changing environments.


1. Gurarie E, D Grunbaum & MT Nishizaki. 2011. Estimating 3D movements from 2D observations using a continuous model of helical microorganism swimming. Bulletin of Mathematical Biology 73(6):1358-77

2. Grunbaum D, K Chan, E Tobin & MT Nishizaki. 2008. Non-linear advection-diffusion equations approximate swarming but not schooling populations. Mathematical Biosciences 214 : 38-48.

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Movie 1. The induction of a surface aggregation of Heterosigma akashiwo. The left beaker contains seawater and the right beaker contains a low-salinity layer over seawater. The brown coloration represents Heterosigma cells and the numbers indicate minutes. Cells on the right quickly become trapped in the low salinity surface layer. Cells on the left swim to the surface, aggregate and sink back down. You can observe motion continuing in the left beaker throughout the experiment, whereas the cells on the right become concentrated in a surface aggregation. Does swimming behavior represent a mechanism of algal bloom formation?


3. Nishizaki MT & JD Ackerman. 2007. Juvenile-adult associations in sea urchins (Strongylocentrotus franciscanus and S. droebachiensis): protection from predation and hydrodynamics in S. franciscanus ). Marine Biology 151:135-145.

4. Nishizaki MT & JD Ackerman. 2005. A secondary chemical cue facilitates adult-juvenile associations in red sea urchins (Strongylocentrotus franciscanus). Limnology & Oceanography 50(1): 354-362.

5. Nishizaki MT & JD Ackerman. 2004. Juvenile-adult associations in sea urchins (Strongylocentrotus franciscanus and S. droebachiensis): Is nutrition involved? Marine Ecology Progress Series 268:93-103.

6. Nishizaki MT & JD Ackerman. 2001. Gimme shelter: factors influencing juvenile sheltering in Strongylocentrotus franciscanus. Pp. 515-520 In Mike Barker (editor). Echinoderms 2000. Swets & Zeitlinger. Lisse, Netherlands.


7. Marchinko KB, MT Nishizaki, & KC Burns. 2004. Community-wide character displacement in barnacles: A new perspective on an old pattern. Ecology Letters 7: 114-120.

8. Ackerman JD & MT Nishizaki. 2004. The effect of velocity on the suspension feeding and growth of the marine mussels Mytilus trossulus and M. californianus: Implications for competition and niche separation. Journal of Marine Systems 49: 195-207.


9. Woodson CB et al. 2007. Local diurnal upwelling driven by sea breezes in northern Monterey Bay Continental Shelf Research 27: 2289-2302.

10. Ackerman JD & MT Nishizaki. 1999. How stiff is a French fry? Teaching biomechanics to biology students. The Journal of Biological Education 34(1): 36-40.

2012 MikeNish.com