Brian Helmuth

Professor of Environmental Science and Public Policy
education Ph.D., 1997
University of Washington
Mailing address 1 MSC
360 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115

Brian Helmuth joined Northeastern University in January 2013 as a professor of environmental science and public policy. He was previously at the University of South Carolina where he was a professor of biological sciences in the Environment and Sustainability Program and Marine Science Program. He also served as the director of the Environment & Sustainability Program.  His research explores the effects of climate and climate change on the physiology and ecology of marine organisms.  Specifically, he uses thermal engineering techniques, including a combination of field work, remote sensing and mathematical modeling, to explore the ways in which the environment determines the body temperatures of coastal marine animals such as mussels and sea stars.  A major goal of this approach (funded by NASA and NOAA) is to predict where and when the effects of climate change are likely to occur so that we can mitigate these effects, a method of “ecological triage.”  To date Helmuth’s work has centered primarily on temperate rocky intertidal systems in the United States and Europe, but recent work funded by the NOAA Ecofore Program has expanded to include salt marsh ecosystems throughout the U.S.

Helmuth also works with local teachers to develop educational materials relevant to national science standards, and to bring the excitement of science to the classroom. He is actively involved in the South Carolina chapter of the National Marine Educators Association. A major goal of his approach is to make our research relevant to policy makers, resource managers, and the general public at large.

Helmuth earned his PhD from the University of Washington.

Selected Publications

Kearney, M., S.J. Simpson, D. Raubenheimer and B. Helmuth. 2010. Modelling the ecological niche from functional traits. Phil. Trans. Royal Society B 365: 3469-3483.

Helmuth, B., B. Broitman, L. Yamane, S.E. Gilman, K. Mach, K.A.S. Mislan and M.W. Denny. 2010. Organismal climatology: analyzing variability at scales relevant to physiological stress. J. Exp. Biol. 213: 995-1003.

Helmuth, B. 2009. From cells to coastlines: how can we use physiology to forecast the impacts of climate change? J. Exp. Biol. 212: 753-760.

Broitman, B.R., L. Szathmary, K.A.S. Mislan, C.A. Blanchette and B. Helmuth. 2009. Predator-prey interactions under climate change: the importance of habitat vs. body temperature. Oikos 118: 219-224.

Pincebourde, S., E. Sanford and B. Helmuth. 2008. Body temperature during low tide alters the feeding performance of a top intertidal predator. Limnol. Oceanogr. 53(4): 1562-1573.