Phytoplankton, microscopic organisms that form the base of aquatic food webs, generate approximately half of the world’s oxygen through photosynthesis and thus exert considerable influence over nutrient and carbon cycling.

Dr. Dianne Greenfield and her laboratory study the complex environmental feedbacks between global change stressors (such as urbanization, nutrients, and climate) and coastal phytoplankton ecology, physiology, and biogeochemistry. This includes but is not limited to understanding the causes and consequences of ‘harmful algal blooms’ (HABs), events produced by a subset of phytoplankton species that result in negative ecological and/or health impacts when populations become numerically or physiologically dominant.

To achieve this goal, Greenfield and her lab develop and apply novel molecular tools to better study plankton populations in situ and combine these advances with traditional field and laboratory approaches.  Since phytoplankton dynamics are central to ecosystem productivity, Greenfield and her lab also try to understand their linkages with coastal trophic structure.

Dr. Greenfield joined the Advanced Science Research Center at the Graduate Center during fall of 2017; she also is an Associate Professor in the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Queens College.  Prior to that time, Greenfield was in Charleston, SC with the Belle W. Baruch Institute for Marine and Coastal Sciences, University of South Carolina with a joint appointment at the Marine Resources Research Institute (SCDNR).

In 2018, Dr. Greenfield was elected to the position of Secretary for the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO), and serves as CUNY’s representative for the Long Island Sound Study (LISS), Science and Technical Advisory Committee (STAC).

Dr. Greenfield completed her BA from Mount Holyoke College, MS from Tulane University, PhD from Stony Brook University, and a Postdoctoral Fellowship from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI).

Prof. Greenfield is actively searching for talented and enthusiastic students and researchers to join her team. Please contact her at Dianne.Greenfield@asrc.cuny.edu orDGreenfield@qc.cuny.edu if you have further questions. *12/2018 Update* *Dr. Greenfield is searching for a motivated graduate student to work on an exciting new study with the CT and NY’s Sea Grant Long Island Sound Study on regional phytoplankton community dynamics as part of thesis research. Work is expected to begin as soon as possible. Interested prospective students are encouraged to contact Dr. Greenfield for further details.*


PUBLICATIONS (DG advised student (*), staff (^); non-DG student ($))


Van Meerssche, E., D.I. Greenfield, and J.L. Pinckney. 2018. Coastal eutrophication and freshening: Impacts on Pseudo-nitzschia abundance and domoic acid allelopathy. Estuarine, Coastal, and Shelf Science 209: 70-79. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecss.2018.05.013.

Main$, C., D.I. Greenfield, C. Doll^, C., Y. Wang$, R. Mortensen^, E.B. Whereat, D.T. Pettay, and K.C. Coyne. 2018. Critical comparison of molecular methods for detection and enumeration of the harmful algal species, Heterosigma akashiwo, in environmental water samples. Journal of Applied Phycology 30:2425-2434. DOI: 10.1007/s10811-018-1444-z.

Pinckney, J.L., C. Tomas, D.I. Greenfield, K. Reale-Munroe, B. Castillo, Z. Hillis-Starr, E. Van Meerssche$, and M. Zimberlin$. 2018. Seasonal changes in phytoplankton community structure in a bioluminescent lagoon, St. Croix, US Virgin Islands. Aquatic Microbial Ecology 81: 109-124. DOI: 10.3354/ame01865.

Sitta*, K.A., M. Reed^, R. Mortensen^, C. Doll^, T. Callahan, and D.I. Greenfield. 2018. The influences of nitrogen form and zooplankton grazing on phytoplankton assemblages in two coastal southeastern systems. Limnology and Oceanography 63: 2523-2544. DOI: 10.1002/lno.10957.


Ellis$, K.K., T. Callahan, D.I. Greenfield, D.M. Sanger, and J. Robinson. 2017. Measuring and modeling flow rates in tidal creeks: A case study from the central coast of South Carolina. Journal of South Carolina Water Resources 4(1): 21-39.

Greenfield, D.I., J. Moore, J.R. Stewart, E.D. Hilborn, B.J. George, Q. Li, J. Dickerson, C.K. Keppler^, and P.A. Sandifer. 2017. Temporal and environmental factors driving Vibrio vulnificus and V. parahaemolyticus populations and their associations with harmful algal blooms in South Carolina detention ponds and receiving tidal creeks. GeoHealth 1(9): 306-317. DOI: 10.1002/2017/GH000094.


Reed*, M., J.L. Pinckney, C.K. Keppler^, L.M. Brock^, S.B. Hogan^, and D.I. Greenfield. 2016. The influence of nitrogen and phosphorus on seasonal phytoplankton biomass and community composition in four South Carolina systems. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 177: 71-82. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecss.2016.05.002.


Alber, M., M. Frischer, D.I. Greenfield, J.D. Hagy, J.E. Sheldon, E. Smith, R.F. Van Dolah, and C.B. Woodson. 2015. GASCET: An approach to develop numeric nutrient criteria for Georgia and South Carolina estuaries. A task force report to the EPA, GA EPD, and SC DHEC. 59 pp.

Keppler^, C.K., D.C. Bergquist, L.M. Brock^, J. Felber, and D.I. Greenfield. 2015. A spatial assessment of baseline nutrient and water quality values in the Ashepoo-Combahee-Edisto (ACE) Basin, South Carolina, USA. Marine Pollution Bulletin 99: 332-337. DOI: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2015.07.035.

Mortensen*, R., S. Arnott, W.J. Jones, and D.I. Greenfield. 2015. Development of a sandwich hybridization assay for the identification and quantification of red drum (Sciaenops ocellatus) eggs: a novel tool for fishery research and management. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 72: 915-925. DOI: 10.1139/cjfas-2014-0526.

Reed*, M., J. DiTullio, S. Kacenas^, and D.I. Greenfield. 2015. Effects of nitrogen and dissolved organic carbon on microplankton abundances in four coastal South Carolina systems. Aquatic Microbial Ecology 76: 1-14. DOI: 10.3354/ame01764.


DeVoe, R.M., T. Callahan, D.I.Greenfield, D. Hitchcock, R. Peterson, D. Sanger, A. Turner, J. Wienstein, and E. Smith. 2014. Stormwater management ponds in South Carolina: Formulating an integrated research and outreach collaborative to enhance pond ecology, Functionality, efficiency, effectiveness, and management. Proceedings of the 2014 South Carolina Water Resources Conference, Columbia, SC. October.

Doll*, C., C. Main$, C. Bianco$, K. Coyne, and D.I. Greenfield. 2014. Comparison of sandwich hybridization assay and quantitative PCR for the quantification of live and preserved cultures of Heterosigma akashiwo (Raphidophyceae). Limnology and Oceanography: Methods 12: 232-245. DOI: 10.4319/lom.2014.12.232.

Greenfield, D.I., A. Duquette*, A. Goodson*, C. Keppler^, S.H. Williams^, L.M. Brock^, K.D. Stackley^, D. White, and S.B. Wilde. 2014. The effects of three chemical algaecides on cell numbers and toxin content of the cyanobacteria Microcystis aeruginosa and Anabaenopsis sp. Environmental Management 54: 1110-1120. DOI: 10.1007/s00267-014-0339-2.

Greenfield, D.I., C.K. Keppler^, E. Hilborn, J. Moore, and P. Sandifer. 2014. Linking phytoplankton community composition with incidences of Vibrio in stormwater detention ponds. Proceedings of the 2014 South Carolina Water Resources Conference, Columbia, SC. October.

Key, P.B., K.W. Chung, C. Cooksey, M.E. DeLorenzo, M.H. Fulton, D.I. Greenfield, T. Greig, J. Hyland, P.L. Pennington, E. Petersen, and E.F. Wirth. 2014. Assessment of crude oil and a dispersant in a simulated Spartina alterniflora salt marsh ecosystem. NOAA Technical Memorandum NOS NCCOS 186. 89 pp.

Main$, C., D. Doll*, C. Bianco, D.I. Greenfield, and K.J. Coyne. 2014. The effects of growth phase, diel cycle and macronutrient stress on the quantification of Heterosigma akashiwo using qPCR and SHA. Harmful Algae 37: 92-99. DOI: 10.1016/j.hal.2014.05.014.

Pinckney, J.L., D.I. Greenfield, C. Benitez-Nelson, R. Long, M. Zimberlin, C. Lane, C. Thomas, B. Castillo, K. Reale-Munroe, M. Taylor, D. Goldstein, and Z. Hillis-Starr. 2014. Ecological characterization of bioluminescence in Mangrove Lagoon, Salt River Bay, St. Croix, USVI. NPS. 73 p.


Greenfield, D.I., C. Keppler^, L.M. Brock^, M. Reed*, S. Kacenas^, S. Hogan^, and R. Van Dolah. 2012. Assessing biological responses to nitrogen and phosphorus levels across the South Carolina coastal zone. Proceedings of the 2012 South Carolina Water Resources Conference, Columbia, SC. October.

Sanger, D.M., E.M. Smith, G. Voulgaris, E.T. Koepfler, S.M. Libes, G.H.M. Riekerk, D.C. Bergquist, D.I. Greenfield, P.A. Wren, C.A. McCoy, R.F. Viso, R.N. Peterson, and J.D. Whitaker. 2012. Constrained enrichment contributes to hypoxia formation in Long Bay, South Carolina, an open water urbanized coastline. Marine Ecology Progress Series 461: 15-30. DOI: 10.3354/meps09796.


Ryan, J., D.I. Greenfield, R. Marin III, C. Preston, J. Birch, G.J. Doucette, and C.A. Scholin. 2011. Harmful phytoplankton ecology studies using a molecular/environmental observing network. Limnology and Oceanography 56: 1255-1272. DOI: 4319/lo.2011.56.4.1255.

Siegel$, A., B. Cotti-Rausch$, D.I. Greenfield, and J. Pinckney. 2011. Nutrient controls of planktonic cyanobacteria abundance in coastal stormwater detention ponds. Marine Ecology Progress Series 434: 15-27. DOI: 10.3354/meps09195.


Bergquist, D.C., R.F. Van Dolah, G.H.M. Riekerk, M.V. Levinson, S.E. Crowe, L. Brock, D.I. Greenfield, D.E. Chestnut, W. McDermott, M.H. Fulton, E. Wirth, and J. Harvey. 2009. The condition of South Carolina’s estuarine and coastal habitats during 2005 – 2006: Technical report. Charleston, SC: South Carolina’s Marine Resource Division. Technical Report No. 103. 74 p.

Doucette, G.J., C.M. Mikulski, K.L. Jones, K.L King, D.I. Greenfield, R. Marin III, S. Jensen, B. Roman, C.T. Elliott, and C.A. Scholin. 2009. Remote, subsurface detection of the algal toxin domoic acid onboard the Environmental Sample Processor: assay development and field trials. Harmful Algae 8: 880-888. DOI: 10.1016/j.hal.2009.04.006.

Scholin, C.A., G.J. Doucette, S. Jensen, B. Roman, D. Pargett, R. Marin III, C. Preston, W. Jones, J. Feldman, C. Everlove, A. Harris, N. Alvarado, E. Massion, J. Birch, D.I. Greenfield, K. Wheeler, R. Vrijenhoek, C. Mikulski, and K. Jones. 2009. Remote detection of marine microbes, small invertebrates, harmful algae and biotoxins using the Environmental Sample Processor (ESP). NOPP Special Issue: Ocean Observing Platforms and Biosensors. Oceanography 22 (2) 158-167. DOI: 10.5670/oceanog.2009.46.


Greenfield, D.I., R. Marin III, G.J. Doucette, C. Mikulski, S. Jensen, B. Roman, N. Alvarado, J. Feldman, and C.A. Scholin. 2008. Field applications of the second-generation Environmental Sample Processor (ESP) for remote detection of harmful algae: 2006-2007. Limnology and Oceanography: Methods 6: 667-679. DOI: 10.4319/lom.2008.6.667.


Roman, B., C. Scholin, S. Jensen, E. Massion, R. Marin III, C. Preston, D. Greenfield, W. Jones, and K. Wheeler. 2007. Controlling a robotic marine water sampler with the Ruby scripting language. Journal of the Association for Laboratory Automation 12: 56-61. DOI: 10.1016/j.jala.2006.07.013.


Greenfield, D.I., R. Marin III, S. Jensen, E. Massion, B. Roman, J. Feldman, and C.A. Scholin. 2006. Application of environmental sample processor (ESP) methodology for quantifying Pseudo-nitzschia australis using ribosomal RNA-targeted probes in sandwich and fluorescent in situ hybridization formats. Limnology and Oceanography: Methods 4: 426-435. DOI: 10.4319/lom.2006.4.426.

Lonsdale, D.J., D.I.Greenfield, E.H. Hillebrand, R. Nuzzi, and G.T. Taylor. 2006. Contrasting microplanktonic composition in two coastal embayments (Long Island, New York). Journal of Plankton Research 28 (10) 891-905. DOI: 10.109/plankt/fbl028.

Scholin, C.A., S. Jensen, B. Roman, E. Massion, R. Marin III, C. Preston, D. Greenfield, W. Jones, and K. Wheeler. 2006. The Environmental Sample Processor (ESP) – An autonomous robotic device for detecting microorganisms remotely using molecular probe technology. Oceans 2006 MTS/IEEE Conference. Boston, MA. September. pp. 1-4.


Greenfield, D.I. and H.L. Bart, Jr. 2005. Long-term fish community dynamics from a blackwater stream receiving kraft mill effluent between 1973 and 1988. Hydrobiologia 534: 81-90. DOI: 10.1007/s10750-004-1414-0.

Greenfield, D.I., D.J. Lonsdale, and R.M. Cerrato. 2005. Linking phytoplankton community composition with juvenile-phase growth in the northern quahog Mercenaria mercenaria (L.). Estuaries and Coasts 28 (2) 241-251. DOI: 10.1007/BF02732858.


Greenfield, D.I., D.J. Lonsdale, R.M. Cerrato, and G.R. Lopez. 2004. Effects of background concentrations of Aureococcus anophagefferens (brown tide) on growth and feeding in the bivalve Mercenaria mercenaria (L.). Marine Ecology Progress Series 274: 171-181. DOI: 10.3354/meps274171.


Greenfield, D.I., and D.J. Lonsdale. 2002. Mortality and growth of juvenile hard clams Mercenaria mercenaria during brown tide. Marine Biology 141: 1045-1050. DOI: 10.1007/s00227-002-0890-x.

Lonsdale, D.J., G.T. Taylor, E.M. Hillebrand, and D.I. Greenfield. 2002. Comparative phytoplankton and microzooplankton analysis in Long Island bays. Final report to the Peconic Estuary Program Office, Suffolk County Department of Health Services. 36 p. plus appendices.