CURRENT PROJECTS:

  1. Demonstrating an Effective Marine Biodiversity Observation Network in the Santa Barbara Channel (Collaboration with MBON, funded by NASA, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management)

  2. Multiscale dynamics of coral reef fisheries: feedbacks between fishing practices, livelihood strategies, and shifting dominance of coral and algae (Collaboration with Lester Lab-FSU, UC Santa Barbara, and San Diego State University; Funded by the NSF CNH program).

  3. Developing an integrated monitoring and assessment framework for evaluating ecosystem service outcomes from seagrass restoration in the Gulf of Mexico (Collaboration with Lester Lab-FSU; Funded by the NASEM Gulf Research program).


Research Themes

SPATIAL FISHERIES MANAGEMENT

Spatial fisheries regulations such as marine protected areas (MPAs) have great potential to improve management outcomes if strategically applied. To improve the design of these regulations, we work with models that incorporate aspects of population biology, community dynamics, economics and oceanography. This work has had both practical and scientific applications. For example, these spatial fisheries models were used to guide the placement of MPAs within a statewide network in California, a process which resulted in the protection of 18% of state waters.


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ASSESSMENT OF BIODIVERSITY MONITORING PROGRAMS


EFFECTS OF FISHERMAN BEHAVIOR ON CORAL REEF RESILIENCE

We have been studying how ecosystem and social-ecological feedbacks interact to generate resilience in Moorea, French Polynesia. We couple spatially-explicit ecological models of the feedbacks between corals, algae and herbivorous fish with models of how fishermen make decisions where to fish, and how those decisions change in response to environmental change.


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KELP FOREST ECOLOGY

Our work on fishery management and resilience are complemented by my other research on dynamics of nearshore ecosystems. In particular we study giant kelp population dynamics and net primary productivity, global patterns of kelp response to climate change, and mechanisms underlying abrupt state changes in temperate reef systems.


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COUPLED NATURAL-HUMAN SYSTEMS