My research program has the overall theme of protistan molecular ecology, but I am particularly interested in four topics:
- the diversity of protists (algae and protozoa), their detection, and abundances in the marine environment,
- the adaptation of microbial life to polar marine environments,
- symbiotic and parasitic interactions, and
- the alternative nutritional strategies of mixotrophy and kleptoplasty.
1996 Gast, R.J. and D.A. Caron. Molecular phylogeny of symbiotic dinoflagellates from planktonic foraminifera and radiolaria. Mol. Biol. Evol. 13(9):1192-1197.
2004 Gast, R.J., M.R. Dennett and D.A. Caron. Characterization of Protistan Assemblages in the Ross Sea, Antarctica by Denaturing Gradient Gel Electrophoresis. Applied Environmental Microbiology 70:2028-2037.
2007 Gast, R.J., D.M. Moran, M.R. Dennett and D.A. Caron. Kleptoplasty in an Antarctic dinoflagellate; caught in evolutionary transition? Environmental Microbiology 9(1):39-45.
2008 Gast R.J., Moran D.M., Audemard C., Lyons M.M., Defaveri J., Reece K.S., Leavitt D. and R. Smolowitz. Environmental distribution and persistence of Quahog Parasite Unknown (QPX). Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 81(3):219-229.
2008 Bogomolni A., Gast R.J., Ellis J., Dennett M., Pugliares K. and M. Moore. Vectors or Victims? Marine vertebrate zoonoses from coastal waters of the Northwest Atlantic. Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 81(1):13-38.
2009 Rose J.M., Gast R.J., Bogomolni A., Ellis J., Lentell B., Touhey K. and M. Moore. Occurrence and patterns of antibiotic resistance in vertebrates off the Northeastern United States coast. FEMS Microbiology Ecology 67:421–431.
2012 Sanders, R.W. and R.J. Gast. Bacterivory by phototrophic picoplankton and nanoplankton in Arctic waters. FEMS Microbiology Ecology 82(2):242-253.
2014 Gast, R.J., Z. McKie-Krisberg, S.A. Fay, J.M. Rose, and R.W. Sanders. Antarctic mixotrophic protist abundances by microscopy and molecular methods. FEMS Microbiology Ecology DOI: 10.1111/1574-6941.12334
2015 Gast, R.J., S. Elgar and B. Raubenheimer. Observations of transport of bacterial-like microspheres through beach sand. Continental Shelf Research 97(1):1-6.
- Theodore L. Jahn Award for Best Graduate Student Presentation (1992 - Society of Protozoologists)
- Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Postdoctoral Scholar (1994-1997)
- WHOI Coastal Ocean Institute Fellow 2006-2009
- Provost’s Distinguished Scholar, University of Texas at Austin (2008)
- Seward Johnson Chair (Education Coordinator, 2013-2018)
- Dr. Mathew First
- Dr. Julie Rose
- Dr. Roxanne Beinart
- Dr. Nicole Millette
- Elizabeth Halliday (graduated 2012)
- Megan May (graduated 2018)
Ph.D.: Molecular Genetics. 1994. The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH.
B.S.: Microbiology. 1987. The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH.