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Profile Page

Karen Wishner
Professor of Oceanography
Aquarium Annex Rm 113
(401) 874-6402

Educational Background

Ph.D., Oceanography
B.A., Biology
University of California, San Diego Scripps Institution of Oceanography
University of Chicago

Areas of Specialization


Karen Wishner's current research interests include marine zooplankton ecology, deep-sea biology, the biology of low oxygen environments, and biological-physical interactions affecting plankton. She has worked in oceans around the world, including the Eastern Tropical Pacific (ETP Project), Georges Bank (GLOBEC) and the Arabian Sea (JGOFS). She was also involved in exploring hydrothermal vents on a submarine volcano in the Caribbean. Present research focuses on zooplankton living in oxygen minimum zones and impacts of environmental change on oceanic ecosystems. She has been to sea on numerous ships and has used submersibles, ROVs, and the MOCNESS net system to collect zooplankton from the upper ocean down to 3000 m.


Karen Wishner currently teaches a graduate level course on Marine Plankton and an undergraduate course entitled Deep-Sea Biology. She has taught special courses on Oxygen Minimum Zones and Hydrothermal Vents. She has taken many graduate and undergraduate students to sea and supervised undergraduate senior projects.


Karen Wishner is a co-PI in the 5-yr $5M NSF-funded ADVANCE project at URI, which seeks to increase the number of women tenure-track faculty in science fields through recruitment, retention, and institutional change. Four new GSO faculty members were hired as part of this initiative. She has also helped organize other special events related to women-in-science issues.


Rebecca Williams


Robinson, C., et al. (including K.F. Wishner). 2010. Mesopelagic zone ecology and biogeochemistry—a synthesis. Deep-Sea Res. II 57:1504-1518, doi:10.1016/j.dsr2.2010.02.018, special IMBER Mesopelagic issue

Wishner, K. F., C. Gelfman, M. M. Gowing, Dawn M. Outram, M. Rapien, and R. L. Williams. 2008. Vertical zonation and distributions of calanoid copepods through the lower oxycline of the Arabian Sea Oxygen Minimum Zone. Progress in Oceanography 78:163-191. doi:10.1016/j.pocean.2008.03.001

Wishner, K. F., J. R. Graff, J. W. Martin, S. Carey, H. Sigurdsson, and B. A. Seibel. 2005. Are midwater shrimp trapped in the craters of submarine volcanoes by hydrothermal venting? Deep-Sea Research I 52: 1528-1535.

Wishner, K.F., D. J. Gifford, B. K. Sullivan, J.J. Bisagni, D. M. Outram, and D. D. Van Keuren. 2003. Biological signature of Scotian Shelf Water crossovers on Georges Bank during spring 1997. Journal of Geophysical Research, 108 (C11) 8014, doi: 10.1029/2001JC001266, 2003.

Wishner, K. F., M. M. Gowing, and C. Gelfman. 2000. Living in suboxia: ecology of an Arabian Sea oxygen minimum zone copepod. Limnology and Oceanography 45: 1576-1593.

Wishner, K. F., C. J. Ashjian, C. Gelfman, M. M. Gowing, L. Kann, Wishner, K. F., J. R. Schoenherr, R. C. Beardsley, and C. Chen. 1995. Abundance, distribution, and population structure of the copepod Calanus finmarchicus in a springtime right whale feeding area in the southwestern Gulf of Maine. Continental Shelf Research 15:475-507.

Wishner, K. F., C. J. Ashjian, C. Gelfman, M. M. Gowing, L. Kann, L.A. Levin, L. S. Mullineaux, and J. Saltzman. 1995. Pelagic and benthic ecology of the lower interface of the eastern tropical Pacific oxygen minimum zone. Deep-Sea Research 42:93-115.


Wishner, K.F. Zooplankton in the eastern Tropical North Pacific oxygen minimum zone. 12th International Deep-Sea Biology Symposium, 7-11 June 2010, Reykjavik, Iceland.

Wishner, K.F., Outram,D., Daly, K.L., Flagg, C.N., Frazar, S., Maas, A., Seibel, B., Taylor, G.T., Wakeham, S.F., Williams, R.L. Zooplankton biomass, distributions, diel vertical migration, and community structure in the Eastern Tropical North Pacific. AGU / ASLO / TOS Ocean Sciences Meeting 2010, Portland OR

Daly , K.L., Byrne, R.H., Cass, C. DiTullio, G.R., Elliott, M.M. Fanning, K. Flagg, C.N., Maas, A. Olson, M. Podlaska, A. Remsen, A.W., Seibel, B. Taylor, G.T. Wakeham, S.G. Wishner, K.F. Do OMZs alter the biological pump? AGU / ASLO / TOS Ocean Sciences Meeting 2010, Portland OR

Williams, R.L., Wakeham, S.G., McKinney, R., Wishner, K.F. Stable isotopic composition of zooplankton size classes in the Eastern Tropical North Pacific Oxygen Minimum Zone. AGU / ASLO / TOS Ocean Sciences Meeting 2010, Portland OR

Frazar, S. Outram, D., Maas, A., Wishner, K.F. Diel vertical migration patterns of micronekton in an oxygen minimum zone in the Eastern Tropical North Pacific. AGU / ASLO / TOS Ocean Sciences Meeting 2010, Portland OR

Wishner, K. F., H. Sigurdsson, S. Carey, D. C. Smith, A. Staroscik, J. B. Shepherd, W. D. Wilson, and S. Lundin. Biology of hydrothermal vents on Kick'em Jenny Volcano in the Caribbean. 10th Deep-Sea Biology Symposium, Coos Bay, Oregon, 25-29 Aug. 2003.

Wishner, K. M. Gowing, M. Rapien, and C. Gelfman,. Zooplankton in the oxygen minimum zone: potential biogeochemical relationships in a widespread suboxic habitat. 3rd International Zooplankton Production Symposium, Gijon, Spain, 20-23 May 2003.

Wishner, K., B. Sullivan, D. Outram, C. Gelfman, and D. Van Keuren. Zooplankton in tidal fronts: Biological-physical coupling on Georges Bank. ASLO Aquatic Sciences Meeting, Albuquerque, NM, 12-16 Feb. 2001.


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