Changes in the climate due to unprecedented cumulative human impacts have raised new questions about long term ecosystem function and sustaining human reliance on natural resources. For example, commercially important marine organisms acclimated and adapted to temperature, pH, and dissolved oxygen variability prior to the industrial age must now adapt to a new regime of variation in addition to possibly being overfished. Thus, in order to understand possible outcomes, I combine field and laboratory studies to evaluate the effects of multiple climatic stressors on the biology of abalone--a commercially important resource in the California Current Large Marine Ecosystem. I conduct this work as part of a fantastic interdisciplinary team based at the Hopkins Marine Station of Stanford University and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute.
Small-scale fisheries and other local systems are increasingly becoming connected across scales vis-à-vis climate change, global markets, distant water fleets, migration, and international conservation and development policies, at times increasing vulnerabilities and other times creating opportunities. My research studies adaptive strategies used in small-scale fishing communities in response to exogenous drivers of change, the ecological and social conditions that constrain or foster use of these strategies, and implications for the local marine environment. I draw from multiple disciplines to study these dynamics using various techniques including analysis of fisheries catch data, interviews and surveys, participant observation, and experimental economics. Understanding how small-scale fisheries adapt and respond to exogenous change is important for well-being, food security, livelihoods, and ecological sustainability.
The Gulf of California represents one of the world's most diverse and threatened marine ecosystems. Once hailed as “the world’s aquarium” by famed ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau, over the past decade iconic species like the Totoaba and the Vaquita have stared down extinction while the once-dominant fisheries targeting Humboldt squid and the California sardine have collapsed. Anomalous atmospheric and oceanographic conditions coupled with intense fishing pressure threaten the structure and function of critically important pelagic food webs with serious implications for the tens of thousands of individuals that rely upon the region’s marine resources for food and livelihoods. As a transdisciplinary student, I use theory and methods derived from oceanography, ecology, and anthropology to examine socio-ecological feedbacks within small-scale pelagic fisheries. Working out of Santa Rosalía in the Central Gulf alongside Dr. William Gilly, I investigate how local understanding of ecosystem dynamics and environmental change influences fishermen behavior, decision-making and adaptive capacity.
I am an ecologist interested in how biological, physical and environmental factors affect the populations of specific species and the overall structure of aquatic ecosystems. My work has spanned a variety of systems, including estuaries and coral reefs, with my current focus on nearshore temperate systems, including kelp forests of the central California coast, and the consequences of up-welling driven environmental variability and climate change. I use a variety of empirical field, analytical, laboratory experimental, statistical and modeling approaches, in collaboration physical oceanographers, physiologists, and mathematical modelers. I also serve as the Research Coordinator for the Marine Life Observatory Program at the Hopkins Marine Station.