• I grew up along the south shore of Lake Erie with annual trips to the Atlantic coast in South Carolina and developed a life-long love of aquatic environments in general and the marine environment in particular. From a fairly early age I knew that I wanted to be a biologist working in marine ecosystems. I developed a strong interest in marine macroalgae working with my undergraduate advisor at Duke University and further developed that interest into a career focus during graduate work at UNC-Wilmington and UC-Santa Barbara.

    I had my first two opportunities to do research in Antarctica as a grad student at UCSB. While I did not anticipate it at the time, a major emphasis of my research since coming to UAB in 1994 has become the chemical ecology of macroalgae and other organisms in Antarctic marine communities. My postdoctoral work at the University of Illinois at Chicago took me into studies of how bacteria behaviorally respond to information about their chemical environments where I learned methods and perspectives that were very important in developing my subsequent UAB-based studies of marine chemical ecology and behavior.
  • Selected Publications

    Academic Article

    Year Title Altmetric
    2020 Every rule has an exception: A cheater in the community-wide mutualism in antarctic seaweed forests 2020
    2020 Introduction to the symposium: New frontiers in antarctic marine biology 2020
    2020 Intertidal foraging by gentoo penguins in a macroalgal raftAntarctic Science.  32:43-44. 2020
    2019 Fatty acid trophic transfer of Antarctic algae to a sympatric amphipod consumerAntarctic Science.  31:315-316. 2019
    2019 The Use of Photographic Color Information for High-Throughput Phenotyping of Pigment Composition in Agarophyton vermiculophyllum (Ohmi) Gurgel, J.N.Norris & FredericqCryptogamie Algologie.  40:73-83. 2019
    2019 Impacts of gastropods on epiphytic microalgae on the brown macroalga Himantothallus grandifoliusAntarctic Science.  31:89-97. 2019
    2017 Declines in plant palatability from polar to tropical latitudes depend on herbivore and plant identityEcology.  98:2312-2321. 2017
    2016 Testing antarctic resilience: The effects of elevated seawater temperature and decreased pH on two gastropod species 2016
    2015 A comprehensive study of Antarctic algal symbioses: minimal impacts of endophyte presence in most species of macroalgal hostsEuropean Journal of Phycology.  50:271-278. 2015
    2015 Life history bias in endophyte infection of the Antarctic rhodophyte, Iridaea cordataBotanica Marina.  58:1-8. 2015
    2012 Palatability of living and dead detached Antarctic macroalgae to consumersAntarctic Science.  24:589-590. 2012
    2012 Phototactic responses of Elachista antarctica (Phaeophyceae) spores of different ages across a broad irradiance range using new motion analysis softwareBotanica Marina.  55:639-642. 2012
    2012 The abundance and distribution of echinoderms in nearshore hard-bottom habitats near Anvers Island, western Antarctic PeninsulaAntarctic Science.  24:554-560. 2012
    2012 Algicidal activity and potential antifouling defenses in macroalgae from the western Antarctic Peninsula including probable synergistic effects of multiple compoundsBotanica Marina.  55:311-315. 2012
    2011 Palmerolide macrolides from the Antarctic tunicate Synoicum adareanumBioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry.  19:6608-6614. 2011
    2011 Reactive Oxygen Species and the Macroalgal Wound ResponseFree Radical Biology and Medicine.  51:S106-S107. 2011
    2011 CNS and antimalarial activity of synthetic meridianin and psammopemmin analogsBioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry.  19:5756-5762. 2011
    2011 Gut contents and stable isotope analyses of the Antarctic fish, Notothenia coriiceps (Richardson), from two macroalgal communitiesAntarctic Science.  23:107-116. 2011
    2010 Introduction to the symposium: Advances in antarctic marine biology 2010
    2010 Overview of the chemical ecology of benthic marine invertebrates along the western antarctic peninsula 2010
    2010 An overview of the Chemical Ecology of Marine Macroalgae and Benthic Invertebrates along the Antarctic Peninsula 2010
    2010 Potential resistance of Antarctic ascidians to sympatric bacterial epibiosis 2010
    2010 Chemically mediated resistance to mesoherbivory in finely branched macroalgae along the western Antarctic PeninsulaEuropean Journal of Phycology.  45:19-26. 2010
    2010 The Role of Reactive Oxygen Species in Antiherbivore Defense along the Western Antarctic PeninsulaFree Radical Biology and Medicine.  49:S98-S98. 2010
    2009 Defenses of polar macroalgae against herbivores and biofoulersBotanica Marina.  52:535-545. 2009
    2009 Field studies on deterrent properties of phlorotannins in Antarctic brown algaeBotanica Marina.  52:547-557. 2009
    2009 Notes on the systematics and biogeographical relationships of Antarctic and sub-Antarctic Rhodophyta with descriptions of four new genera and five new speciesBotanica Marina.  52:509-534. 2009
    2009 Palatability and chemical anti-predatory defenses in common ascidians from the Antarctic PeninsulaAquatic Biology.  7:81-92. 2009
    2009 Rapid dissolution of shells of weakly calcified Antarctic benthic macroorganisms indicates high vulnerability to ocean acidificationAntarctic Science.  21:449-456. 2009
    2009 An evaluation of sponge-associated amphipods from the Antarctic PeninsulaAntarctic Science.  21:579-589. 2009
    2009 Effects of ocean acidification on larval development and settlement of the common intertidal barnacle Amphibalanus amphitrite 2009
    2009 Hiding in the bushes: Structural and chemical determinants of habitat choice in Antarctic amphipods 2009
    2009 Ocean acidification and calcified Antarctic seafloor macroorganisms: The perfect storm 2009
    2009 Palatability and anti-predatory chemical defenses in a suite of ascidians from the Western Antarctic Peninsula 2009
    2006 Activators of viral gene expression in polarized epithelial monolayers identified by rapid-throughput drug screening 2006
    2006 Bioassay-guided fractionation of antifouling compounds using computer-assisted motion analysis of brown algal spore swimming 2006
    2005 Feeding rates of common antarctic gammarid amphipods on ecologically important sympatric macroalgae 2005
    2005 Palatability and chemical defenses of Antarctic Peninsula sponges 2005
    2005 The use of sonication and advanced chemical oxidants as mechanisms to eradicate macroinvertebrates in ballast water under static and continuous flow regimes 2005
    2005 Potential chemical defenses against diatom fouling in Antarctic macroalgaeBotanica Marina.  48:318-322. 2005
    2005 Defensive and Sensory Chemical Ecology of Brown AlgaeAdvances in Botanical Research.  43:1-91. 2005
    2005 Ecology of antarctic marine sponges: An overview 2005
    2004 Biochemical composition, energy content and chemical antifeedant and antifoulant defenses of the colonial antarctic ascidian Distaplia cylindrica 2004
    2004 Morphological and biological traits of Antarctic Peninsular macroalgae influencing distribution and abundance of associated amphipods 2004
    2003 The ecology of Antarctic marine sponges 2003
    2003 A New Antifouling Bioassay Monitoring Brown Algal Spore Swimming Behaviour in the Presence of Echinoderm Extracts 2003
    2003 Individual and Coupled Effects of Echinoderm Extracts and Surface Hydrophobicity on Spore Settlement and Germination in the Brown Alga Hincksia irregularis 2003
    2003 Chemical defences in embryos and juveniles of two common Antarctic sea stars and an isopodAntarctic Science.  15:339-344. 2003
    2001 Introduction to the Symposium: Antarctic Marine Biology1 2001
    2001 Utilization of a novel deuterostome model for the study of regeneration genetics: Molecular cloning of genes that are differentially expressed during early stages of larval sea star regenerationGene.  262:73-80. 2001
    2001 Secondary metabolites as mediators of trophic interactions among antarctic marine organisms 2001
    2000 Chemo-tactile predator avoidance responses of the Antarctic limpet, Nacella concinna. 2000
    2000 Starfish saponins, LVI. Three new asterosaponins from the starfish Goniopecten demonstransEuropean Journal of Organic Chemistry.  4093-4098. 2000
    2000 Chemical defenses against diatom fouling in Antarctic marine sponges 2000
    2000 Chemotactic tube-foot responses of the spongivorous sea star Perknaster fuscus to organic extracts of sponges from McMurdo Sound, AntarcticaAntarctic Science.  12:41-46. 2000
    1999 Characterization of novel genes expressed during regeneration in larval sea stars. 1999
    1999 The chemical ecology of antarctic marine organisms. 1999
    1996 Use of computer-assisted motion analysis for quantitative measurements of swimming behavior in peritrichously flagellated bacteriaAnalytical Biochemistry.  235:20-25. 1996
    1992 The microclimate inhabited by macroalgal propaguiesBritish Phycological Journal.  27:253-270. 1992
    1992 Dispersal in kelps: factors affecting spore swimming and competencyEcology.  73:1577-1585. 1992
    1985 Field and Laboratory Studies of Giffordia mitchelliae (Phaeophyceae) in North CarolinaBotanica Marina.  28:295-302. 1985
    1984 The Occurrence of Codium fragile subsp. tomentosoides and C. taylorii (Chlorophyta) in North CarolinaBotanica Marina.  27:185-187. 1984


    Year Title Altmetric
    2008 Algal chemical ecology.  Ed. 9783540741817.  2008
    2008 Preface.  Ed. 9783540741817.  2008


    Year Title Altmetric
    2013 Chemistry and ecological role of starfish secondary metabolites.  81-89. 2013
    2008 Algal sensory chemical ecology.  297-309. 2008
    2008 Macroalgal chemical defenses in polar marine communities.  91-103. 2008
    2007 Life strategy, ecophysiology and ecology of seaweeds in polar waters.  213-244. 2007
    2001 The chemical ecology of invertebrate meroplankton and holoplankton.  195-226. 2001

    Research Overview

  • The research that my students and I conduct is centered in several areas, but most involve chemical interactions between organisms or ways in which organisms perceive, respond to, or otherwise interact with their chemical environments. A recent extension of this work is understanding the impacts of ocean acidification and other climate change factors on marine organisms.

    A particular area of ongoing interest over the past 15 years or more has been the interactions of Antarctic macroalgae and benthic invertebrates. These investigations have often involved studies of chemical defenses against predators but have also included studies of potential defenses against pathogens or fouling organisms. More recent efforts have extended this work to broader questions about the structure of Antarctic benthic communities. We are also interested in analogous questions with temperate and tropical organisms.

    My laboratory also studies algal ecophysiology, often beginning with quantitative studies of the biochemistry, physiology, or swimming behavior of single cells. These algal studies start with the cell and focus in large part on physiological and behavioral adaptations to the microenvironments of the biofilm and planktonic communities. A common area of interest is the influence of nutrient and other chemical gradients on the swimming and settlement behavior of algal spores.

    I am also interested in the ecophysiology and population structure of Antarctic macroalgae and microalgae. Other, previous work has included research on environmental factors governing algal seasonality, the taxonomy of filamentous brown algae, and bacterial chemotactic signal transduction.

    Marine Ecophysiology, Chemical Ecology
  • Teaching Activities

  • BY123 - Introductory Biology I (Fall Term 2007)
  • BY123 - Introductory Biology I (Fall Term 2008)
  • BY123 - Introductory Biology I (Fall Term 2011)
  • BY123 - Introductory Biology I (Fall Term 2016)
  • BY123 - Introductory Biology I (Fall Term 2019)
  • BY124 - Introductory Biology II (Fall Term 2020)
  • BY397 - Advanced Directed Readings (Spring Term 2019)
  • BY442 - Experimental Phycology (Fall Term 2009)
  • BY442 - Experimental Phycology (Fall Term 2020)
  • BY442 - Experimental Phycology (Fall Term 2021)
  • BY442L - Experimental Phycology Lab (Fall Term 2009)
  • BY442L - Experimental Phycology Lab (Fall Term 2020)
  • BY442L - Experimental Phycology Lab (Fall Term 2021)
  • BY474 - Chemical Ecology (Fall Term 2010)
  • BY474 - Chemical Ecology (Fall Term 2012)
  • BY474 - Chemical Ecology (Fall Term 2015)
  • BY474 - Chemical Ecology (Fall Term 2016)
  • BY474 - Chemical Ecology (Fall Term 2018)
  • BY474 - Chemical Ecology (Spring Term 2009)
  • BY474 - Chemical Ecology (Spring Term 2019)
  • BY474 - Chemical Ecology (Spring Term 2021)
  • BY474 - Chemical Ecology (Spring Term 2022)
  • BY484 - Bio Capstone: Chemical Ecology (Spring Term 2022)
  • BY499 - Biology Seminar (Fall Term 2008)
  • BY595 - Special Topics in Biology I (Fall Term 2015)
  • BY642 - Experimental Phycology (Fall Term 2009)
  • BY642 - Experimental Phycology (Fall Term 2017)
  • BY642 - Experimental Phycology (Fall Term 2020)
  • BY642 - Experimental Phycology (Fall Term 2021)
  • BY642L - Experimental Phycology Lab (Fall Term 2009)
  • BY642L - Experimental Phycology Lab (Fall Term 2017)
  • BY642L - Experimental Phycology Lab (Fall Term 2020)
  • BY642L - Experimental Phycology Lab (Fall Term 2021)
  • BY674 - Chemical Ecology (Fall Term 2010)
  • BY674 - Chemical Ecology (Fall Term 2012)
  • BY674 - Chemical Ecology (Fall Term 2015)
  • BY674 - Chemical Ecology (Fall Term 2016)
  • BY674 - Chemical Ecology (Fall Term 2018)
  • BY674 - Chemical Ecology (Spring Term 2009)
  • BY674 - Chemical Ecology (Spring Term 2021)
  • BY674 - Chemical Ecology (Spring Term 2022)
  • BY688 - Seminar in Algal Ecophysiology (Fall Term 2008)
  • BY692 - Colloquium in Ecology (Spring Term 2021)
  • BY692 - Seminar in Ecology (Fall Term 2011)
  • BY692 - Seminar in Ecology (Fall Term 2012)
  • BY698 - Nonthesis Research (Fall Term 2015)
  • BY698 - Nonthesis Research (Spring Term 2016)
  • BY788 - Sem in Algal Ecophysiology (Fall Term 2008)
  • BY792 - Colloquium in Ecology (Spring Term 2021)
  • BY792 - Seminar in Ecology (Fall Term 2011)
  • BY792 - Seminar in Ecology (Fall Term 2012)
  • BY795 - Special Topics in Biology I (Fall Term 2017)
  • BY798 - Nondissertation Research (Fall Term 2013)
  • BY798 - Nondissertation Research (Fall Term 2016)
  • BY798 - Nondissertation Research (Fall Term 2017)
  • BY798 - Nondissertation Research (Fall Term 2018)
  • BY798 - Nondissertation Research (Fall Term 2019)
  • BY798 - Nondissertation Research (Fall Term 2020)
  • BY798 - Nondissertation Research (Fall Term 2021)
  • BY798 - Nondissertation Research (Spring Term 2017)
  • BY798 - Nondissertation Research (Spring Term 2018)
  • BY798 - Nondissertation Research (Spring Term 2020)
  • BY798 - Nondissertation Research (Spring Term 2021)
  • BY798 - Nondissertation Research (Spring Term 2022)
  • BY798 - Nondissertation Research (Summer Term 2017)
  • BY798 - Nondissertation Research (Summer Term 2018)
  • BY798 - Nondissertation Research (Summer Term 2020)
  • BY798 - Nondissertation Research (Summer Term 2021)
  • BY799 - Dissertation Research (Fall Term 2013)
  • BY799 - Dissertation Research (Fall Term 2019)
  • BY799 - Dissertation Research (Fall Term 2020)
  • BY799 - Dissertation Research (Fall Term 2021)
  • BY799 - Dissertation Research (Spring Term 2014)
  • BY799 - Dissertation Research (Spring Term 2019)
  • BY799 - Dissertation Research (Spring Term 2020)
  • BY799 - Dissertation Research (Spring Term 2021)
  • BY799 - Dissertation Research (Spring Term 2022)
  • BY799 - Dissertation Research (Summer Term 2014)
  • BY799 - Dissertation Research (Summer Term 2019)
  • BY799 - Dissertation Research (Summer Term 2020)
  • BY799 - Dissertation Research (Summer Term 2021)
  • Education And Training

  • Doctor of Philosophy in Biology, University of California System : Santa Barbara 1989
  • Full Name

  • Charles Amsler