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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, Kiribati, and California.

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Fiorenza Micheli

Fiorenza Micheli is Co-Director of Stanford’s Center for Ocean Solutions, Chair of the Oceans Department at the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability, 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.

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. 

Chris Knight

Chris (he/him) is a Biology PhD candidate, a Stanford Interdisciplinary Graduate Fellow, and a National Geographic Explorer. He employs a planetary health approach to understand the linkages between ecosystem and human health - with the goal of improving accessibility to safe and nutritious seafood. Chris investigates the social and ecological connections of ciguatera poisoning, a debilitating seafood-borne disease, across Kiribati in collaboration with the Kiribati Government and the Pacific Planetary Health Initiative. As a US Fulbright Fellow in Italy, he explores how climate change impacts the nutritional content of seafood and the potential consequences for human nutrition. Chris is deeply interested in environmental justice issues and is drawn to working on research questions and solutions that can improve the lives of others and minimize social and economic inequalities. Furthermore, he strives to foster an inclusive and welcoming community in academia. Chris was a NSF Graduate Research Fellow, a Fulbright Fellow to Chile, and earned a MS in Biology from San Diego State University, as well as a BA in both Ecology and Spanish from the University of California, Davis. Chris is co-advised by Dr. Larry Crowder.

Veronica Pagowski

Veronica is a PhD student broadly interested in larval biology as various scales, from molecules to ecosystems. In the first part of her PhD, she worked on describing larval nervous systems and investigating how these simple nervous systems coordinate sophisticated larval behaviors. In the Micheli lab, she is excited to tackle questions relating to larval ecology, investigating larval behavior in the context of different environmental conditions and as they relate to population connectivity. Broadly, she is interested in understanding how marine larvae navigate the open ocean and what impacts their movement has on local and global ecosystems. 

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. 

Ryan Rogers

My general research interests lie at the intersection of community-level trophic ecology, disturbance ecology, and conservation. I have specific interests in understanding the relative importance of biodiversity and biotic interactions in shaping ecosystem dynamics under various stressors (climate impacts, species introductions, disease outbreaks). I have primarily used vulnerable nearshore ecosystems (reefs, marshes, and seagrasses) to examine these questions, with the goal of supporting scientific understanding and conservation strategies.

Ceyenna Tillman

I am interested in the use and development of environmental DNA (eDNA; a genetic tool for identifying species in an environment using water or sediment samples) for helping us answer questions at the community level. I currently work in the Republic of Palau, an island nation in Micronesia with a long history of sustainable stewardship over their natural resources. The abundant and diverse seagrass beds of Palau have experienced up to 30% declines in percent cover over the past decade. I aim to use a combination of eDNA and visual surveys to investigate how these declines and current management strategies may affect the associated fish community. I also conduct experiments using Monterey's local purple sea urchin species (Stongylocentrotus purpuratus) to explore ways in which we can advance eDNA as a tool that can provide us with new kinds of information regarding our local kelp forest.

Caro kelp

Carolina Olguín Jacobson

I am interested in the relationship between kelp forest ecosystems and sustainable fishery cooperatives. For this postdoc, I will focus on socio-ecological systems within fishery cooperatives in Baja California, Mexico, investigating their response and adaptation to environmental changes such as climate change, as well as social and global changes such as the COVID-19 pandemic through oceanographic and ecological monitoring.


Juan Carlos Villaseñor-Derbez

I am a postdoctoral scholar working with Dr. Fiorenza Micheli at the Hopkins Marine Station. I study coupled human-natural systems, with an emphasis on fisheries and conservation policy. I am particularly interested in how ecological processes shape human incentives and how human actions can modify the environment. I draw from my training in oceanography, ecology, and environmental economics and combine geospatial, econometric, and machine learning methods to answer questions around the design and evaluation of policy interventions that seek to conserve and manage natural resources.

Mica Chapuis

I am currently working on Jamie McDevitt-Irwin’s project in the Chagos Archipelago analyzing pictures and videos and helping with intertidal fieldwork in Big Sur, CA. I am also leading a project analyzing mussel cover in Monterey Bay.