Community Ecology Scaled to Ecosystem Dynamics
Tracking the health of kelp forest ecosystems
Evaluating causal mechanisms
Projecting future scenarios
Increase our understanding of nearshore marine ecosystem dynamics using experimental and observational ecology
I am a community ecologist studying how species interactions shape the structure, functioning, and stability of nearshore marine ecosystems. I focus on temperate rocky reefs and am particularly interested in how climatic perturbations (e.g., marine heatwaves) alter the behavioral responses of predators and herbivores, and how these interactions in-turn affect community and ecosystem dynamics. I received my Ph.D. degree from the University of California, Santa Cruz in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, where I studied how a marine heatwave and a catastrophic sea star epizootic led to an outbreak of purple sea urchins. In turn, this behavioral shift in purple sea urchins scaled-up to alter the foraging patterns of their main predator, the southern sea otter. Results of my doctoral dissertation expand our understanding of how the synergistic effects of climate and biotic perturbations can rapidly reorganize entire communities and ecosystems.