Marine subsidies and sandy beach ecosystem response

My primary research is on how cross-ecosystem subsidies affect community structure across multiple trophic levels along with various ecosystem functions. Subsidy type and magnitude drive functions from nutrient regeneration to secondary production and predator community dynamics. Primary consumer species' identity is also a critical factor driving ecosystem functioning.

Linking nearshore kelp forest dynamics to sandy beach ecology

A large scale kelp forest tagging experiment has 1) illuminated when and where kelp is lost on the reef through re-surveys of tagged individuals, 2) what happens to kelp once dislodged through drift card tags and real time GPS trackers, and 3) identified spatial and temporal patterns of kelp deposition on sandy beaches.

Santa Barbara Coastal LTER

The Santa Barbara Coastal Long Term Ecological Research program is focused on nearshore coastal ecosystems. Time series of kelp forests and sandy beaches provide 2 decades of data. Kelp subsidies to sandy beaches are highly dynamic, as are the consumer populations. At the same time, kelp quality as a nutritional resource is declining with warming ocean temperatures.

Surf Zone Fish

The surf zone is a highly dynamic interface between nearshore coastal waters and sandy beaches and is home to numerous fish species. We measure richness, size and abundance of these fish on California's Channel Islands along with mainland beaches inside and outside of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) with seine net sampling, baited remote underwater video (BRUVs) and environmental DNA (eDNA). In addition, we study how the diet of surf zone fish incorporates beach resources.

Collaborations and Research Assistance

Island Fox

The Channel Island Fox is a recovered endangered species, endemic to California's Channel Islands. We have found that marine derived resources from the beach can greatly contribute to the fox's diet through scat composition analysis and stable isotopes of whiskers.

Artificial Reefs

I have assisted with scientific diving projects monitoring the abundance of invertebrates on offshore oil platforms in Southern California.


The California Conservation Genomics Project will include two sandy beach species threatened by coastal development, climate change and overharvesting: the long-horned beach hopper and the pismo clam. This program will assess population connectivity and biogeographic patterns.