Benjamin Grupe, Ph.D Candidate

Scripps Institution of Oceanography

La Jolla, CA


I’m a Ph.D candidate (4th year) in Lisa Levin’s lab at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. I have yet to develop a full website, which means I must be really busy with research! I am a marine ecologist and am doing my dissertation on deep-sea communities associated with chemosynthetic ecosystems: methane seeps and hydrothermal vents. These are fascinating habitats featuring microbially-fueled food webs, lots of abundant endemic species, and hard substrates (somewhat of a rarity in the deep sea). I am investigating how community structure of early colonizing communities responds to the many types of environmental heterogeneity (substrate, chemistry, microbial populations, etc) that occurs across spatial scales. During my Master’s at the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology, I researched intertidal sea urchin populations and their relationship with small-scale microhabitats (i.e. excavated pits).

Link to CV


Levin, LA, VJ Orphan, GW Rouse, AE Rathburn, W Ussler, III, GS Cook, SK Goffredi, EM Perez, A Waren, BM Grupe, G Chadwick, B Strickrott  2012  A hydrothermal seep on the Costa Rica margin: middle ground in a continuum of reducing ecosystems. Proc R Soc B 279, 2580-2588. doi=10.1098/rspb.2012.0205

Link to Proceedings of the Royal Society Website

Commito, JA, S Como, BM Grupe, WE Dow  2008  Species diversity in the soft-bottom intertidal zone: Biogenic structure, sediment, and macrofauna across mussel bed spatial scales. J Expt Mar Biol Ecol 366, 70-81. doi=10.1016/j.jembe.2008.07.010

Link to JEMBE website

Commito, JA, WE Dow, BM Grupe 2006  Hierarchical spatial structure in soft-bottom mussel beds. J Expt Mar Biol Ecol 330, 27-37. doi=10.1016/j.jembe.2005.12.015

Link to JEMBE website

“When you’re dealing with the serendipity of nature, you  just have to do it now, because you never know if it’s going to happen again.”

                          - Alan Shanks


“One learns that the world, though made, is yet being made, that this is still the morning of Creation.”

                               - John Muir

“I had long previously had a profound conviction that the land of promise for the naturalist, the only remaining region where there were endless novelties of extraordinary interest ready to the hand which had the means of gathering them, was the bottom of the deep sea.”

Charles Wyville Thomson

The Depths of the Sea, 1873