2015 Early Career Recipient, College of Marine Environmental Sciences
Dr Danielle Dixson is an Assistant Professor in the School of Marine Science and Policy at the University of Delaware in Newark in the United States.
Dr Dixson conducted novel research into marine science in her time at James Cook University, converting her research ideas and hypotheses into testable experiments, both in the field and the laboratory.
Her PhD thesis included six chapters that were published by the time of submission, in prestigious journals such as Proceedings of the Royal Society of London and Ecology Letters.
Today, almost four years after obtaining her PhD, she has more than 30 peer-reviewed publications and one book chapter to her name, many in leading international journals.
Dr Dixson was instrumental in the breakthrough discovery that ocean acidification affects the olfactory-mediated behaviour of reef fishes. Her discovery that elevated carbon dioxide levels impair the ability of fish larvae to respond to the smell of predators was a major advancement in understanding the impacts of climate change on marine ecosystems.
During her postdoctoral position with Georgia Institute of Technology, she independently identified a key ecological interaction between coral‐dwelling fishes and algae that can overgrow the host coral. This research was published in Science.
In 2013, Dr Dixson accepted a position at Georgia Institute of Technology as an assistant professor. In June, Dr Dixson started a new Assistant Professor position at the University of Delaware.
Most recently, she was able to show that both coral and fish larvae are attracted to the chemical cues produced by healthy reef habitat, and reject degraded habitats based on the chemical signatures of specific organisms typical of these locations. The consequences of this study could have an impact on the management of marine protected areas.
The significance and novelty of this research is demonstrated by the experiment being highlighted as the cover story in Science.
Additionally, Dr Dixson has been involved in a number of public outreach initiatives to make scientific information more readily available to the general public.
Her research has been featured on the cover of Time Magazine for Kids, in a number of popular media outlets such as New York Times, Huffington Post, and the Washington Post, and her work on ocean acidification has been featured in a documentary broadcast globally.
Dr Dixson was the recipient of the prestigious Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, highlighting the important strides she has made in the ocean science field.
Dr Dixson graduated from James Cook University in 2012 with a Cum Laude PhD thesis in Marine Science.