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K. David Hambright

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K. David Hambright

Professor of Biology

Ph.D., Cornell University
M.Sc., Texas Christian University
B.Sc., University of North Carolina, Charlotte
405-325-7435 (Phone)
405-325-7440 (Fax)
SH 304

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Ecological interactions within freshwater communities are the primary foci of my lab group, the Plankton Ecology and Limnology Laboratory (PEL Lab). Our studies have covered a broad range of aquatic organisms, from bacteria to fish, with emphases on lake and reservoir ecosystems. We are particularly interested in understanding how consumers affect community and ecosystem level dynamics through direct and indirect effects on and by planktonic microbes via mechanisms such as selective consumption, alteration of competitive forces, and changes in nutrient cycling dynamics, as well as numerous mechanisms relating to taxonomic and functional dimensionality of planktonic communities. Laboratory and field experimentation play key roles in PEL Lab research, as do genomics, transcriptomics, and phylogenomics, and we typically employ multiple but separate approaches to both basic and applied questions. Graduate and undergraduate students working in the PEL lab are free to explore any topic in aquatic ecology and evolutionary biology. Current research in the PEL Lab includes genome-guided elucidation of the genetic basis for toxin production and delivery and subsequent uptake and transport of prey cell constituents across the cell membrane by the harmful algal bloom (HAB) species Prymnesium parvum; analysis of global patterns in taxonomic and functional diversity within cyanobacterial bloom microbiomes; analysis of Microcystis toxin diversity and bioaccumulation of microcystins in consumers; use of satellite- and ground-based remote sensing technologies for quantification of water quality in regional lakes, particularly as related to HABs; and elucidation of spatial and temporal dynamics of HAB-microbiome interactions in southwestern reservoirs, particularly relating to cyanotoxin production, release, and degradation.


  • Cook, K.V., C. Li, H. Cai, L. Krumholz, K.D. Hambright, H.W. Paerl, M.M. Steffen, A.E. Wilson, M.A. Burford, H.-P. Grossart, D.P. Hamilton, H. Jiang, A. Sukenik, D. Latour, E.I. Meyer, J. Padisák, B. Qin, R.M. Zamor, and G. Zhu. 2020. The global Microcystis interactome. Limnology & Oceanography 65: S194–S207. (DOI: 10.1002/lno.11361).
  • Jones, A.C., K.D. Hambright, and D.A. Caron. 2017. Ecological patterns among bacteria and microbial eukaryotes derived from network analyses in a low salinity lake. Microbial Ecology 75:917-929. (DOI: 10.1007/s00248-017-1087-7; PMID: 29110066).
  • Beyer, J.E. and K.D. Hambright. 2017. Maternal effects are no match for stressful conditions: a test of the maternal match hypothesis in a common zooplankter. Functional Ecology. 31:1933-1940. (DOI:10.1111/1365-2435.12901).
  • Beyer, J.E. and K.D. Hambright. 2016. Persistent and delayed effects of toxic cyanobacteria exposure on life history traits of a common zooplankter. Limnology and Oceanography 61: 587-595. (DOI: 10.1002/lno.10239).
  • Acosta, F., R.M. Zamor, F.Z. Najar, B.A. Roe, and K.D. Hambright. 2015. Dynamics of an experimental microbial invasion. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 112: 11594-11599. (DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1505204112).
  • Hambright, K.D., J.E. Beyer, J.D. Easton, R.M. Zamor, A.C. Easton, and T.C. Hallidayschult. 2015. The niche of an invasive marine microbe in a subtropical freshwater impoundment. The ISME Journal 9:256-264.
  • Remmel, E.J. and K.D. Hambright. 2012. Toxin-assisted micropredation: Experimental evidence shows that contact micropredation rather than exotoxicity is the role of Prymnesium toxins. Ecology Letters 15: 126-132.
  • Zamor, R.M., K.L. Glenn, and K.D. Hambright. 2012. Incorporating molecular tools into routine HAB monitoring programs: using qPCR to track invasive PrymnesiumHarmful Algae 15:1-7.
  • Remmel, E.J., N. Kohmescher, J.H. Larson, & K.D. Hambright. 2011. An experimental analysis of harmful algae-zooplankton interactions and the ultimate defense. Limnology and Oceanography 56:461-470.
  • Hambright, K.D., T. Zohary, and H. Güde. 2007. Microzooplankton dominate carbon flow and nutrient cycling in a warm subtropical freshwater lake. Limnology and Oceanography 52:1018-1025.