The world is in urgent need of restoring natural ecosystems which requires a better understanding of how and to what extent climate change jeopardizes the function of ecosystems. Shellfish beds function not only as coastal stabilizers, they act as environmental buffers, increase species richness and build a nursery habitat for many fish species. Fish migrate and connect habitats which in turn benefits species richness and promotes healthy ecosystems.
I am interested in gaining a cause-and-effect understanding of how environments constrain the survival, growth, and life-history strategy of animals - specifically, how fish and shellfish respond to multi-stressor environments. Thereby, I focus on the physiological and behavioral strategies of the most vulnerable life-stages (embryos, larvae, early juveniles) to cope with low oxygen availability, changes in temperature, increased pCO2 (ocean acidification), and altered food availability.
My major focus is on laboratory experiments but I also use field observations to better set my laboratory results in to the real-world context. The major tools that I use in my studies are intermittent-flow respirometry, thermal gradients, bio-sensors, and swim tunnels. I also use biochemical analysis to understand responses to climate change on the cellular level.
Since 2020: Post-doctoral researcher (NIOZ, Department of Coastal Systems, The Netherlands)
2019-2020: Research Associate and Laboratory Manager (University of Hamburg, Institute for Marine Ecosystem and Fisheries Science, Germany)
2017-2019: Post-doctoral researcher (University of Hamburg, Institute for Marine Ecosystem and Fisheries Science, Germany)
2013-2017: PhD student (University of Tasmania, Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies in collaboration with Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Australia)
Alter K, Peck MA (2021) Ocean acidification but not elevated spring warming threatens a European seas predator. Science of the Total Environment 782: 146926
Manríquez PH, Jara ME, González CP, Díaz MI, Brokordt K, Lattuca ME, Peck MA, Alter K, Marras S, Domenici P (2020) Combined effect of pCO2 and temperature levels on the thermal niche in the early benthic ontogeny of a keystone species. Science of the Total Environment 719: 137239
Alter K, Andrewartha SJ, Morash AJ, Clark TD, Hellicar AD, Leon RI, Elliott NG (2017) Hybrid abalone are more robust to multi-stressor environments than pure parental species. Aquaculture 478: 25-34
Alter K, Clark TD, Andrewartha SJ, Elliott NG (2017) Thermal preference increases during larval development of pure and hybrid abalone. Journal of Shellfish Research 36(1): 141-149
Alter, Andrewartha SJ, Elliott NG (2016) Hatchery conditions do not negatively impact respiratory response of early life-stage development in Australian hybrid abalone. Journal of Shellfish Research 35(3): 585-591
Morash AJ, Alter K (2016) Effects of environmental and farm stress on abalone physiology: perspectives for abalone aquaculture in the face of global climate change. Reviews in Aquaculture 8: 342–368
Alter K, Paschke K, Gebauer P, Cumillaf JP, Pörtner HO (2015) Differential physiological responses to oxygen availability in early life stages of decapods developing in distinct environments. Marine Biology 162(5): 1111–1124
Pöhlmann K, Koenigstein S, Alter K, Abele D, Held C (2011) Heat-shock response and antioxidant defense during air exposure in Patagonian shallow-water limpets from different climatic habitats. Cell Stress and Chaperones 16(6): 621–632
Please find my list of NIOZ publications at the bottom of this webpage or on Google Scholar
You can download all my publications on ResearchGate
2013-2017: University of Tasmania, Australia, Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies in collaboration with Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Australia
2004-2012: University of Bremen, Germany, Department of Biology and Chemistry
2017-2020: University of Hamburg, Institute for Marine Ecosystem and Fisheries Science, Germany
Since 2016: Reviewer for international scientific journals