David Shull

Professor · he/him/his


David Shull received degrees in oceanography from the University of Washington (B.S.) and the University of Connecticut (M.S.), and a degree in environmental science from the University of Massachusetts Boston (Ph.D., 2000).  Afterward, he was a research associate at the University of Maine's Darling Marine Center and an assistant professor of biology at Gordon College before coming to Western in 2004.  Dr. Shull studies invertebrate communities in estuaries and continental shelf sediments.  He is particularly interested in the roles that benthic organisms play in the function of coastal ecosystems.  He has studied the effects of benthic organisms on the fate of contaminants in coastal waters, the role of deposit feeders in the initiation of harmful algal blooms (red tide), and the effects of tube-building organisms on concentrations of methyl mercury in sediments.  Currently he is studying the exchange of nutrients and dissolved oxygen between sediments and overlying water in the Salish Sea. 


PhD Environmental Science, University of Massachusetts-Boston; MS Oceanography, University of Connecticut; BS Oceanography, University of Washington

Research Interests

Although the vast majority of the earth's solid surface is covered in marine mud and benthic organisms thus inhabit the largest habitat on the earth's solid surface, there is much to be learned about the ecological and functional roles these bottom dwellers play in the ocean. An important theme in my research is "bioturbation", the effects of benthic organism feeding, burrowing, and burrow ventilation on marine sediment properties. I have studied benthic communities in Puget Sound, Boston Harbor, the North Atlantic, and the Bering Sea. My current research focus is on eelgrass in Puget Sound and how it influences and is influenced by sediment pore-water hydrogen sulfide.


Some recent publications from my lab:

Shull, D.H. 2021. Sources of corrosive bottom water to Bellingham Bay, Washington State. Estuaries and Coasts, 44, 1250-1261.

Shull, D.H. 2019. Bioturbation. In, Encyclopedia of Ocean Sciences, 3rd Ed. Elsevier.

Simpson, A. G., Tripp, L., Shull, D. H., & Yang, S. 2018. Effects of Zostera marina rhizosphere and leaf detritus on the concentration and distribution of pore-water sulfide in marine sediments. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science. 209, 160–168.

Apell, J. D.H. Shull, A.M. Hoyt, and P.M. Gschwend. 2018. Investigating the effect of bioirrigation on in situ porewater concentrations and fluxes of polychlorinated biphenyls using passive samplers. Env. Sci. Technol. 52, 4565-4573.

Shull, D.H., A. Kremp, and L.M. Mayer. 2014. Bioturbation, germination and deposition of Alexandrium fundyense cysts in the Gulf of Maine. Deep-Sea Res. II 103, 66–78.

Teaching Schedule


ESCI 322: T 1:00-4:50