Invertebrate Physiology

Dr. Amy Maas' research interests meet at the junction of physiology, ecology, and biological oceanography.  Human actions are causing dramatic changes to the physical and chemical world. In particular, marine systems have been impacted, with warmer oceans that are increasingly acidic and depleted of oxygen. Her research addresses the hypothesis that global change is affecting the physiological function and geographic distribution of marine animal species, resulting in broader ecological impacts.

Prior to her arrival at BIOS, Maas primarily studied pteropod mollusks, a critical food source in the marine food web believed to be especially sensitive to climate change because of their easily dissolved shells and their prevalence in the rapidly shifting environment of the polar oceans.  She continues to collaborate with her postdoctoral advisors Dr. Gareth Lawson and Dr. Ann Tarrant from WHOI on pteropod projects. They are working to deepen human understanding of this sensitive group using molecular tools (genomics and transcriptomics) in conjunction with respiration rate, and shell quality analyses. They aim to understand how natural seasonal variability in CO2 exposure influences sensitivity to human induced acidification, identify life history stages that are particularly vulnerable, and explore shared patterns of gene expression across pteropoda to determine how well this group can be used as indicator species of ecosystem vulnerability.

Since her arrival at BIOS, Maas has been working with the Institute’s long time series programs (OFP and BATS) to provide greater context to physiological studies of pteropods, copepods, and other zooplankton. Ongoing studies include species specific analyses of pteropod flux in the Sargasso Sea and identification of circadian patterns in zooplankton physiology. She works with Dr. Blanco Bercial on studies of zooplankton biodiversity with the goal of clarifying how the daily vertical migration of zooplankton and the specific animals in the open ocean midwater community influence biogeochemistry and ecology.

She is also a collaborator on the BIOS-SCOPE project, launched in 2015 to understand how microbes and vertical migrators interact on a daily cycle to influence each other and their local environment.

Project Contact

Dr. Amy Maas
Associate Scientist
Assistant Professor

  • The School of Ocean Futures will offer degrees that focus on the current and future states of the ocean, while also addressing the challenges our oceans experience due to increasing pressure from human activities.
Tel: 441-297-1880 x131


Related Items

Read more about Dr. Maas' research in Oceanus Magazine

In The News

Two former BIOS Bermuda Program interns are now working as research interns through the support of a philanthropic sponsor and the Institute’s Curriculum Enrichment Program. The research internships are providing valuable opportunities for ongoing skills development both in preparation for and during the undergraduate careers of Marcus Rewan (shown here) and Jihad Muhammad. Rewan, 21, returned to the lab of his Bermuda Program mentor, microbial oceanographer Rachel Parsons, in September 2022. Responsible for carrying out a variety of microscopy protocols, Rewan will work in Parsons’ lab through May 2023, during which time he will also be taking remote classes at Mount Saint Vincent University in Canada.

BIOS’s Ocean Academy Opens Doors of Opportunity

BIOS's Ocean Academy collaborated with community partners to support two ocean-focused initiatives designed to educate Bermuda’s young people about ocean science and engage them in conversations about climate change and local environmental policy and decision-making processes.

BIOS Supports Bermuda’s Next Generation of Environmental Stewards


ASU Announces New School of Ocean Futures

A new simulation video game developed in collaboration with BIOS researchers is set to debut on the gaming platform Steam in late November 2022. Created by sound designer José González, subROV: Underwater Discoveries puts players behind the controls of a deep-ocean remotely operated vehicle (ROV). Drawing inspiration from his love of ocean exploration, as well as real-world scientific investigations and ROV expeditions, González produced a series of simulated dives for players to pilot their ROV through.

Ocean Exploration Through Video Game Simulation: “subROV”

This year, seventeen Bermudian students were selected for summer internships through the BIOS Bermuda Program, which offers participants the opportunity to conduct research projects under the mentorship of BIOS faculty and scientific staff. Jalisa Caines, a 2022 Bermuda Program Gray Intern, works in the Microbial Ecology Laboratory on a project investigating the expansion of the oxygen minimum zone at Devil’s Hole in Harrington Sound, Bermuda, and its effect on the nitrogen cycle.

‘An Amazing Place to Learn and Grow’

From June 12 to 18, educators from 10 universities and colleges across the U.S. took part in a workshop designed to help build critical thinking and data analysis skills in students through the use of real-world atmospheric and oceanographic data sets. Funded by a National Science Foundation grant, the “High Dive into Data” workshop was an opportunity to share a new educational resource: the BIOS DataBytes website. DataBytes was launched in late 2020 in partnership with the Biological and Chemical Oceanographic and Data Management Office (BCO-DMO), the ocean science data repository of NSF, and Your Ocean Consulting, LLC. The site offers curated sets of downloadable data files, as well as introductions to the thematic units and supporting multimedia resources, such as interactive maps, photographs, and videos.

Delivering on the Demand for Data


From Ocean Academy Student to BIOS Research Technician

BIOS zooplankton ecologist Amy Maas (left) worked on research vessel Atlantic Explorer readying the MOCNESS, an acronym for Multiple Opening/Closing Net and Environmental Sensing System, used for collecting tiny marine life. Arizona State University student Yuuki Niimi, who took this photo during a late 2021 cruise, joined Maas and others in the BIOS “Zoop Group.” This lab, run by Maas and marine ecologist Lecadio Blanco-Bercial, is dedicated to the study of zooplankton. With Maas adjusting the net were BIOS research technicians Hannah Gossner and Dom Smith. Photo by Yuuki Niimi.

New Faces in the “Zoop Group”

Participants of a two-day climate workshop hosted by BIOS and the U.S. Consulate General in Bermuda gathered at the Institute for lectures and laboratory work in early November. The workshop took place during a significant time, when global leaders (including Walter Roban, Deputy Premier and Minister of Home Affairs in the Government of Bermuda) attended the 26th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP26) in Scotland to discuss the observable effects that climate change has on the environment and commit to action.

A Climate Connection for College Students