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April MH Blakeslee

April MH Blakeslee

Assistant Professor of Biology

B.A., Boston UniversityM.A., Boston UniversityPh.D., University of New Hampshire


As a researcher interested in global distribution patterns and processes in marine systems, Dr. Blakeslee has developed a research program focused on studies of biodiversity, population genetics, parasitology, and biogeography—as well as the unique and integrative insight that can be gained from studying biological invasions. Invasion research is important not only from an environmental perspective, but also can provide theoretical and practical understanding of population and community level influences of novel species to new ecosystems. Recently, biological invasions have become recognized as a major contributor to the global (and often disjunct) distributions of many marine species as a result of their movement and establishment via human transport mechanisms. It is imperative to examine evolutionary/ecological patterns and processes for both native and non-indigenous species in order to fully understand how community composition, biodiversity (taxonomic, functional and genetic), and habitat are affected by the addition of species to communities where they have no prior evolutionary history. Over the years, Dr. Blakeslee has examined many integrative aspects of this research and has especially focused on global distribution patterns (biogeography and phylogeography) of free-living and parasite species, as well as population genetics and parasitology, with a primary focus on marine invertebrates as model organisms. Invertebrate species, especially mollusks and crustaceans, have contributed numerous marine introductions globally and thus are ideal study organisms for his research.

Professor Blakeslee spent four years at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (, where she remains affiliated as a research associate working on these questions. She continues that work at Long Island University's, C.W. Post Campus, where she will be conducting focused research on Long Island communities. She has always included students in her research projects and will continue student involvement in her research at C.W. Post. For further detail on her research and teaching interests, visit her personal webpage:


Marine Ecology, Invertebrate Biology, Invasion Biology, Biogeography, Parasitology, Population Genetics


  • Author, “Parasites and invasions: a biogeographic examination of parasites and hosts in native and introduced ranges,” published in Journal of Biogeography (forthcoming)
  • Author, “Aquatic introductions and genetic founder effects: how do parasites compare to hosts?” published in Genetic Diversity (forthcoming)
  • Author, “Biological invasions in the 21st Century: ecological impacts, predictions and management across land and sea,” published in Environmental Research (2011)
  • Co-author, “Asymmetric dispersal allows an upstream region to control population structure throughout a species’ range” published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2011)
  • Author, “A global perspective of host-parasite interactions across time and space” published in Ecology (2011)
  • Co-author, “Survival of a North Atlantic marine snail in multiple glacial refugia—implications for phylogeographic patterns” published in PLOS One (2011)
  • Co-author, “Why do invasions fail? A case history of Littorina littorea in California, USA” published in PLOS One (2011)
  • Co-author, “A practical approach to guide the implementation of ecosystem-based management using the Gulf of Maine marine ecosystem as a case study,” published in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment (2011)
  • Author, “A hitchhiker’s guide to the Maritimes: anthropogenic transport facilitates long-distance dispersal of an invasive marine crab to Newfoundland” published in Diversity and Distributions (2011)
  • Author, “Differential escape from parasites by two competing introduced crabs,” published in Marine Ecology Progress Series (2009)
  • Co-author, “Historical invasions of the intertidal zone of Atlantic North America associated with distinctive patterns of trade and emigration,” published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2009)
  • Author, “R esolving cryptogenic histories using host and parasite genetics: the resolution of Littorina littorea’s North American origin,” published in Molecular Ecology (2008)
  • Author, “Using parasites to inform ecological history: comparisons among three congeneric marine Snails,” published in Ecology (2008)
  • Co-author, “Fifth international conference on marine bioinvasions: introduction,” published in ICES Journal of Marine Science (2008)
  • Co-author, “Controls of spatial variation in the abundance of marine trematode parasites,” published in Ecology (2008)
  • Co-author, “Parsimony dictates a human introduction: On the use of genetic (and other) data to distinguish between the natural and human-mediated invasion of Littorina littorea in North America,” published in Biological Invasions (2008)
  • Author, “Native or Invasive? The case history of the marine snail, Littorina littorea, in northeast North America,” published in Oceans Past: Management Insights from the History of Marine Animal populations (2007)
  • Co-author, “AFLP data provide poor resolution to the Littorina littorea puzzle,” published in Marine Biology Research (2007)
  • Co-author, “Premature refutation of a human-mediated marine species introduction: the case history of the marine snail, Littorina littorea, in the Northwestern Atlantic,” published in Biological Invasions (2007)
  • Co-author, “Parasites alter community structure,” published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2007)


  • Research Associate, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
  • Recipient, Maryland SeaGrant Award
  • Recipient, Smithsonian Marine Science Network Postdoctoral Fellowship Award Recipient, Global Invasions Research Coordination Network (RCN) Award, National Science Foundation
  • Recipient, Smithsonian Institution Postdoctoral Fellowship Award
  • Recipient, Graduate Fellowship Award, History of Marine Animal Populations, Sloan Foundation

Professional Affiliations

  • Member, American Association for the Advancement of Science/Science Program for Excellence in Science
  • Member, Ecological Society of America
  • Member, American Malacological Society

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