Skip to main content Skip to secondary navigation


Main content start

Our research focuses on understanding the processes that shape marine communities, and what conditions and interactions support or erode their diversity and resilience to climate variability.

We currently conduct research in Palau, Mexico, Italy, the Chagos Archipelago, Marshall Islands, Palmyra Atoll, Canada, Washington, and California.

Embed Code
Natalie Arnoldi research

Natalie Arnoldi

I am interested in the role of mobile marine predators like sharks and tunas in creating connections between nearshore and open ocean food webs, the ecological significance of these interactions and their implication for sustainable management of marine resources. My current research is in Palau, a small-island/big ocean nation in the Central Pacific, who recently designated 80% of their ocean territory as a no-take marine reserve. The outcomes of our connectivity research will inform critical decision making for Palau’s changing fishing sectors and practices and establish crucial baseline knowledge for the long term monitoring and management of the new sanctuary. 

Cheryl Butner

I work on several projects including The Shark Baseline Project/SharkPulse, a smartphone app involving citizen scientists in monitoring global shark populations; Kids and Climate, developing activity books and worksheets aimed at teaching elementary school students about ocean acidification; as well as sustainable fisheries research. I also manage the Hopkins Marine Station and Micheli Lab social media pages, and in my spare time I work on marine mammal conservation and bilingual Spanish/English environmental outreach and education.


Murray Duncan

My research centers around using physiological mechanisms to explain ecological patterns of marine organisms across environmental gradients. Through this approach, I attempt to elucidate how these organisms will respond to climate change. For this postdoc, I will interrogate the utility of physiological models that incorporate temperature and oxygen effects at explaining the distribution and abundance patterns of key California marine species, including Red Abalone and Purple Urchin (co-advised with Dr. Erik Sperling, Geological Sciences)

Caroline E. Ferguson

My community-driven research in Palau examines questions of access, equity, and justice in small-scale fisheries in the context of commodification and decolonization. I work closely with fisherwomen to monitor, map, and manage marine invertebrate resources using local and traditional ecological knowledges. I examine how men and women are differently impacted by the seafood trade, how communities organize to resist external influences and bring resources back from the brink, and how fishers adapt to the global disruptions associated with COVID-19.

Chris Knight diving

Chris Knight

My research will focus on linking ocean health and human well-being by considering how human activity impacts oceans ecosystems and the services they provide such as nutrition and livelihoods. Additionally, I am interested in exploring solutions to create equitable and sustainable seafood production. I plan to employ a combination of field ecology, social science, and metanalyses to contribute to the burgeoning field of planetary health.  

Elizabeth (Betsy) Mansfield

My research works to understand the impacts of historical fishing practices under future climate scenarios, and how these two pressures interact. I focus on California spiny lobster along the Baja California peninsula and use a myriad of techniques to address these questions. Additionally, I am researching to understand how fishing community members access information about climate change or the changes they are experiencing within their fisheries, to better connect members with resources, or develop useful and accessible resources for informed decision-making. 

Jamie McDevitt-Irwin

I am interested in how communities are assembled through time and across space. I am currently working on coral reef benthic communities, in the wilderness area, the Chagos Archipelago. I am studying how top down control by fishes (e.g. herbivores and corallivores) influences benthic community assembly and how this top down control is mediated by predators like sharks.






fio diving

Fiorenza Micheli

Fiorenza Micheli is co-director of Stanford’s Center for Ocean Solutions, and a marine ecologist at the Hopkins Marine Station of Stanford University, where she is the David and Lucile Packard Professor of Marine Science. Her research focuses on the processes shaping marine communities and coastal social-ecological systems, and incorporating this understanding in marine management and conservation. She investigates climatic impacts on marine ecosystems, particularly the impacts of hypoxia and ocean acidification on marine species, communities and fisheries, marine predators’ ecology and trophic cascades, the dynamics and sustainability of small-scale fisheries, and the design and function of Marine Protected Areas. Her current research takes her to Mexico, Italy, Palau, the Line Islands, and Chagos, in addition to California. She is a Pew Fellow in Marine Conservation, a fellow of the California Academy of Sciences, research advisor to the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, Seafood Watch and the Benioff Ocean Initiative, and senior fellow at Stanford’s Woods Institute for the Environment.

Melissa Palmisciano

I'm interested in studying the ecology of climate change resilience in kelp forest habitats, as well as applied management and restoration. I plan to examine how multiple stressors, such as ocean acidification, hypoxia, and increasing temperatures impact marine organisms, and how these effects scale up to whole communities. My research will focus on identifying the "winners and losers" from climate change in kelp ecosystems using field and mesocosm experiments and modeling. 






Mikaela Provost

My research uses theoretical and empirical approaches to address applied problems in fisheries management and marine conservation. My projects span multiple species and places. Right now I work with the Micheli and de Leo labs to study climate change refugia for abalone in Baja California, Mexico. We are investigating the effects of habitat refuges on abalone population dynamics and their persistence into the future.
During my PhD at UC Davis I studied population dynamics and species’ sensitivities to environmental variability in commercially harvested species along the West Coast. Fishery managers are interested in understanding how harvested populations will respond to fluctuating environmental conditions and if future catch limits will need to be adjusted. In the California Current ecosystem ENSOs are predicted to speed up in frequency, I examined how this change in the spectrum of the environment may change future harvest in 17 fisheries.


Krti Tallam

I am broadly interested in the ecology of environmental diseases, as they link to climate and anthropogenic stressors.  I plan to delve into coastal and oceanic environmental diseases that have links to both humans and to terrestrial systems.  I am currently conducting analyses on the responses of dengue to climatic and anthropogenic stressors off of the coast of the Bay of Bengal, in India, and am also concurrently working with Stanford to understand the role of schistosomiasis in environmental reservoirs where freshwater snails serve as intermediate hosts.  I utilize machine learning / deep learning, artificial intelligence, field experiments, and am interested in policy implications for planetary health.




Ceyenna Tillman

I am a biology PhD student with research interests in coral reef community ecology, anthropogenic change, species interactions, and community resilience and stability. I am also dedicated to the diversification of the fields of marine biology and ecology and evolution, as well as equity within academia and in the sense of access to and utilization of natural resources. Before becoming a grad student at Stanford, I was a CAMINO scholar at UC Santa Cruz where I earned a B.S. in Marine Biology. During this time I participated in research involving coral microbiomes, salamander response to heat stress, marine mammal fatality surveys, and more.