Akana Noto

Assistant ProfessorBiology

Akana Noto is Assistant Professor of Biology at Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland. She completed her doctorate in 2016 at the University of California, San Diego, focusing on causes of variation in interactions among salt marsh plants. Prior to her arrival at Goucher in 2020, she taught at the Claremont Colleges, the University of San Diego and San Diego Mesa Community College and conducted postdoctoral research at Northeastern University on the effects of intraspecific diversity on salt marsh species interactions. At Goucher College, her research will use field and greenhouse experiments, genetic tools and mathematical modeling to investigate how the degree and type of diversity within species affect competition, herbivory and the functioning of ecological communities. She also teaches courses in the biology and environmental studies programs that include introductory biology and a range of ecology and evolution courses.

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Research, Scholarship, Creative Work in Progress

My research focuses on understanding how and why species interactions vary across space. My recent research has focused on the effects of diversity within species on plant-plant and plant-consumer relationships at local spatial scales. While my work has historically focused on salt marshes, I hope to expand to terrestrial plants at Goucher. I am also interested in what causes diversity within species to vary across space, both locally and at bigger spatial scales, and the impacts of that kind of diversity on ecosystem function.


Noto AE, Hughes AR. 2020. Genotypic diversity weakens competition within, but not between, plant species. Journal of Ecology. https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2745.13465

Noto AE, Shurin JB. 2017. Mean conditions predict salt marsh plant community diversity and stability better than environmental variability. Oikos 126(9): 1308-1318.

Complete list of publications available on Google Scholar: https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=3Fq7D1AAAAAJ&hl=en

External Awards, Honors, Grants

National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Biology (2018-2020)

Conference Papers & Panel Participation

Noto, A.E., A.R. Hughes. “Intraspecific diversity at two trophic levels affects the outcome of plant-herbivore interactions.” Benthic Ecology Meeting, St. John’s, NL Canada. 2019. 

Noto, A.E., Shurin, J.B. “Does interaction strength vary latitudinally among California salt marsh plants?” Western Society of Naturalists Annual Meeting, Sacramento CA, November 2015. 

Invited Talks

Noto, A.E. “Plant-plant interactions exacerbate effects of environmental change in salt marshes.” Invited talk at Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting, New Orleans LA. 2018.  

Academic or Professional Associations

Ecological Society of America

Other Professional or Scholarly Activity

Volunteered with or worked for a variety of STEM education programs that work in or with local public schools. This included teaching a summer marine biology class for Upward Bound students (high school students), planning and running afterschool science activities for middle school students, career show and tell for elementary school students, and afterschool tutoring.