Skip to main content Skip to secondary navigation

Joan Roughgarden

Main content start

The research of Joan Roughgarden and her group exemplified the advancing front of ecology as a predictive science which was beginning to comprehend the interplay of the many variables of the natural environment. Roughgarden developed mathematical models which described and predicted the populations and communities of the intertidal habitat. Theories were tested in the field with the collaboration of Charles Baxter, senior lecturer at the Hopkins Marine Station. Rocky intertidal habitats on the shore adjacent to the Station, which can be protected from disturbance, serve as an outdoor laboratory for sustained and quantitative monitoring of the populations under natural conditions. Roughgarden's theoretical studies dealt with organisms, such as barnacles, whose floating larvae settle on rocks, grow and die as more larvae are recruited into the population. The model predicts the number of animals of each age in the defined system through time. In the observational testing of the developing model an expanding body of accurate information on the populations of floating larvae, their settlement survival, growth and mortality were developed .