Sophie awarded Phycological Society of America's Norma J. Lang Early Career Fellowship
Starting this fall, Sophie will be the 3rd ever Norma J. Lang Early Career Fellow of the Phycological Society of America.
Above, Sophie McCoy with PSA President Kirsten Muller and Lang Committee Chair Patrick Martone at the June 2019 PSA Meeting in Hollywood Beach, FL. (Photo by David Berthold.)
Sophie's Lang project is titled: Determining Community-Level Interactions of Cryptic Macroalgae:
The abundance of co-occurring cryptic coralline algal species (not visually distinguishable) is at odds with abundant evidence for the functional importance of morphology in this group. Ecophysiological differences between these cryptic species have not been previously explored but could explain their ability to coexist despite nearly identical morphology. A potentially critical trait is the ability to photosynthesize under carbon-limited conditions using Carbon Concentrating Mechanisms (CCMs). Diffusion boundary layers that limit algal access to inorganic carbon often occur around high-density aggregations and in microhabitats including kelp beds and tidepools. Thus, CCMs may constitute a niche axis for differentiation among cryptic species in this environment. This research has broad implications for the development of species coexistence theory, in addition to contributing to a deeper, functional understanding of phycological diversity.