Off in the Caribbean, Ryann Rossi dives deep into the region’s mangrove ecosystems.
Mangroves are beneficial both environmentally and economically. These halophytes — plants adapted to grow in saltwater — provide an estimated $1.6 billion in ecosystem services worldwide, protecting and stabilizing shorelines, creating homes for fish and aiding carbon sequestration.
Rossi centers her study on three factors: insect grazing, disease and high salinity — their impacts both individually and in cooperation with each other. For instance, she used DNA sequencing and morphology to identify a pathogen of interest and combined it with her earlier research on grazing by the robust bush cricket. Results suggested a possible link, leading to further investigation.
Her goal: find the causes of mangrove die-off and figure out how to prevent it.