Post-doctoral researcher

University of Guelph

Science Complex
University of Guelph
Guelph, Ontario, Canada
N1G 2W1
mnishiza (at) uoguelph (dot) ca

Visiting professor (2012-2013)

Bowdoin College

Graduate Student (2005-2013)

University of Washington

Mike Nishizaki


Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player

Movie 1. Motions of individual Heterosigma cells recorded with a CCD video camera in a large tank that allowed for natural, free swimming behaviour. Each track is 180 seconds from an individual cell of ~10 micron diameter. These algae swim in helical patterns (due to flagella), so there is a left-right waggle to their motion.

Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player

Movie 2. The induction of a surface aggregation of Heterosigma akashiwo. The left beaker contains seawater and the right beaker contains a low-salinity layer over seawater. The brown coloration represents Heterosigma cells and the numbers indicate minutes. Cells on the right swim up to the surface, through the pycnocline and quickly become trapped in the low salinity surface layer. Cells on the left swim to the surface, aggregate and sink back down. You can observe continued mixing in the left beaker throughout the experiment, whereas the cells on the right become concentrated in a surface aggregation. Does swimming behavior represent a mechanism of algal bloom formation?

My research interests center on the interactions between aquatic organisms and their physical environment. I am specifically interested in the array of physiological and behavioral responses that organisms employ when faced with environmental uncertainty. I use both experimental and theoretical approaches to address how changes in the physical environment influence the behavioral ecology, physiological performance and developmental biology of organisms. At Guelph, I am using eddy correlation technique to measure benthic O2 flux without disturbing the natural flow conditions.


Nishizaki MT, S Barron & E Carew. Submitted. Thermal stress induces developmental instability in a marine mussel.

Nishizaki MT & E Carrington. in review. The effect of water temperature and velocity on barnacle growth: quantifying the impact of multiple environmental stressors

1. Nishizaki MT & E Carrington. 2014. Behavioral responses to water flow and temperature influence feeding in the barnacle, Balanus glandula. Marine Ecology Progress Series 507: 207-218.

2. Nishizaki MT & E Carrington. 2014. The effect of water temperature and flow on respiration in barnacles: patterns of mass transfer versus kinetic limitation. Journal of Experimental Biology 217: 2101-2109.

3. Gurarie E, D Grunbaum & MT Nishizaki. 2011. Estimating 3D movements from 2D observations using a continuous model of helical microorganism swimming. Bulletin of Mathematical Biology 73(6):1358-77

4. Grunbaum D, K Chan, E Tobin & MT Nishizaki. 2008. Non-linear advection-diffusion equations approximate swarming but not schooling populations. Mathematical Biosciences 214 : 38-48.

5. Woodson CB et al. 2007. Local diurnal upwelling driven by sea breezes in northern Monterey Bay Continental Shelf Research 27: 2289-2302.

6. Nishizaki MT & JD Ackerman. 2007. Juvenile-adult associations in sea urchins (Strongylocentrotus franciscanus and S. droebachiensis): protection from predation and hydrodynamics in S. franciscanus ). Marine Biology 151:135-145.

7. Nishizaki MT & JD Ackerman. 2005. A secondary chemical cue facilitates adult-juvenile associations in red sea urchins (Strongylocentrotus franciscanus). Limnology & Oceanography 50(1): 354-362.

8. Nishizaki MT & JD Ackerman. 2004. Juvenile-adult associations in sea urchins (Strongylocentrotus franciscanus and S. droebachiensis): Is nutrition involved? Marine Ecology Progress Series 268:93-103.

9. Marchinko KB, MT Nishizaki, & KC Burns. 2004. Community-wide character displacement in barnacles: A new perspective on an old pattern. Ecology Letters 7: 114-120.

10. Ackerman JD & MT Nishizaki. 2004. The effect of velocity on the suspension feeding and growth of the marine mussels Mytilus trossulus and M. californianus: Implications for competition and niche separation. Journal of Marine Systems 49: 195-207.

11. Nishizaki MT & JD Ackerman. 2001. Gimme shelter: factors influencing juvenile sheltering in Strongylocentrotus franciscanus. Pp. 515-520 In Mike Barker (editor). Echinoderms 2000. Swets & Zeitlinger. Lisse, Netherlands.

12. Ackerman JD & MT Nishizaki. 1999. How stiff is a French fry? Teaching biomechanics to biology students. The Journal of Biological Education 34(1): 36-40.

Nishizaki Bowdoin Biology
Bowdoin students undertaking a neutral buoyancy exercise in my non-majors class.