Douglas B. Rasher
About Douglas Rasher
PhD, Biology, Georgia Institute of Technology (2012)
Advisor: Mark E. Hay
BSc., Lyman Briggs, School, Michigan State University (2005)
Phone (USA): (404) 385-4438
As an ecologist, I am interested in understanding (1) how interactions among species shape the structure, function and resilience of ecosystems, (2) whether the nature and outcome of such interactions are influenced by human activity, and (3) if management of key interactions can maintain and/or restore the functioning of ecosystems, along with the goods and services they provide for humans.
I address my research questions in real-world ecosystems, using a combination of approaches: observations of community change in space and time, small-scale experimental manipulations, and manipulation of species interactions embedded within larger-scale “natural experiments” that have been inadvertently created by human activity. When feasible, I couple these approaches with more controlled bioassays to elucidate the mechanism(s) responsible for observed field patterns.
I currently study coral reefs in Fiji, where I aim to better understand (a) how competitive and consumer-prey interactions affect the structure, function and resilience of coral reef ecosystems (b) the mechanistic bases of these interactions, and (c) how the nature and strength of these interactions are being reshaped by human activity.
Rasher DB, Hay ME (2010) Chemically rich seaweeds poison corals when not controlled by herbivores. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 107:9683-9688.
Rasher DB, Hay ME (2010) Seaweed allelopathy degrades the resilience and function of coral reefs. Communicative and Integrative Biology 3:564-566.
Hay ME, Rasher DB (2010) Coral reefs in crisis: reversing the biotic death spiral. F1000 Biology Reports 2:71-77.
Hay ME, Rasher DB (2010) Corals in crisis. The Scientist 24:43-46.
Lasley-Rasher RS, Rasher DB, Marion ZH, Taylor RB, Hay ME (2011) Predation constrains host choice for a marine mesograzer. Marine Ecology Progress Series 434:91-99.
Rasher DB, Stout EP, Engel S, Kubanek J, Hay ME (2011) Macroalgal terpenes function as allelopathic agents against reef corals. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 108:17726-17731.
Rasher DB, Engel S, Bonito V, Fraser GJ, Montoya JP, Hay ME (2012) Effects of herbivory, nutrients, and reef protection on algal proliferation and coral growth on a tropical reef. Oecologia 169:187-198.
Awards and Fellowships
National Science Foundation (NSF) IGERT Fellow (2006-2008)
NSF IGERT International Research Award (2008)
GT School of Biology – Excellence in Research Award (2010, 2011)
SAIC/GT Student Paper Competition – Winner (2010)
Teasley Pre-Doctoral Fellow in Aquatic Chemical Ecology (2011, 2012)
GT Pacific Studies Program – Assistant Program Director (2011)
GT Pacific Studies Program – Teaching Assistant (Intro Biology Lab) (2011)
GT Pacific Studies Program – Teaching Assistant (Ecology and Evolution) (2011)
** Prospective students interested in continuing research related to my thesis topic (see below) in Fiji should see the 2009-2014 NSF grant awarded to Dr. Hay**
Impacts of allelopathic algal-coral competition on the resilience of coral reefs (2008-present)
Herbivore diversity and complementarity drive coral reef ecosystem function (2008-present)
Effects of herbivory, nutrients, and reef protection on algal proliferation and coral growth (2008-present)
Interactive effects of herbivory and competition on algal defenses (2008-present)
Effects of specialist herbivores on macroalgal growth and defense (2006-present)