United States
Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research

Michael Polito

Associate Professor
Louisiana State University
Oceanography and Coastal Sciences
Research Interests
Our lab studies the trophic ecology of marine communities inhabiting rapidly changing environments and that are under threat from anthropogenic influences. We combine stable isotopes and other dietary biomarkers with classical ecological approaches to explore both basic and applied questions surrounding species and food-web level responses to environmental stressors. In Antarctica our labs' research helps to place recent ecological changes in the Southern Ocean into a larger historical context by examining decadal and millennial-scale shifts in the diets and population movements of Antarctic penguins, seabirds, marine mammals, and other predators. Understanding how these predators were affected by these factors in the past allows us to better understand how these predators, the prey they depend on, and the Antarctic marine ecosystem as a whole will respond to current challenges such as global climate change and the commercial fishery for Antarctic krill.
Antarctic Research Location(s)
McMurdo Station
ARSV Laurence M. Gould
Field camp - ship access
Other Antarctic Research Location(s)
Commercial tour ships
Research Keywords
penguins, seals, foraging ecology, food webs, stable isotopes
NSF Antarctic Program
Antarctic Organisms and Ecosystems
SCAR Science Group Affiliation
Life Sciences Group
Current SCAR Group Participation
SCAR Expert Group on Birds and Marine Mammals (EG-BAMM)