We study how processes such as competition, food limitation, Allee effects and human harvest shape spatial and temporal variability in dynamics of marine fish, invertebrates and algae.   Our research integrates theory with field and laboratory experiments, field surveys, statistical analyses of spatial and time series data, and simulation modeling.   Ultimately, our work is focused on integrating such understanding into quantitative frameworks that highlight trade-offs in management and conservation.

General Research Areas: 

  • Quantitative population dynamics of marine organisms
  • Fisheries management & conservation
  • Statistical & Bayesian methods in biology, ecology & fisheries
  • Marine community ecology
  • Trophic dynamics
  • Reproductive biology

Some ongoing research topics:

Effects of predator release on herbivore competition

  • When do effects of interspecific competition supercede predation when competitors share a common predator?
  • Does sea urchin overabundance impede recruitment, growth or survival of endangered abalone in British Columbia?
  • Do spatial food subsidies or spatial refugia ameliorate any such effects of resource competition?
  • We are conducting large-scale experimental removals of sea urchins, in tandem with mark recapture, fatty acid analysis, collection of benthic time series data, and mathematical modeling to address these questions.

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Spatial dynamics of Pacific herring populations and fisheries

  • Does harvesting populations increase spatial asynchrony in metapopulations?
  • How does size-specific growth rate vary in space and time?
  • What ecological forces generate spatial asynchrony in fish population fluctuations?
  • How does the rate and behavior of migration as well as spatial synchrony affect of trade-offs in fisheries?
  • We are collecting spatial data on fish in tandem with mathematical modeling and management strategy evaluation to answer these questions.

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Causes and consequences of variation in sea urchin recruitment

  • How does the physical environment (i.e. temperature, food supply, ocean currents) interact with reproduction and fertilization to shape the enormous variability we see in sea urchin larval recruitment?
  • Do explosions in sea urchin abundance create reproductive sinks due to collapse in food supply?
  • Does larval supply regulate sea urchin booms and busts?
  • We are integrating nearly three decades of time series data, Bayesian machine learning tools, mathematical modeling and experiments to answer these questions.

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