Research Groups

Research Experience and Education Facility (REEF) – UCSB/ Marine Science Institute: Part of the Marine Science Institute’s (MSI), REEF is a interactive aquarium facility that has Oceans-to-Classrooms (O2C) education and outreach program, The REEF is equipped with state-of-the-art touch tanks and aquaria, from 2 to 2,000 gallons. The REEF also utilizes a high-tech life support system for the Research Tank, which highlights current, on-going research at UCSB and the Marine Science Institute.

Individuals

Jim Boles
Earth Science

One of Professor Boles’ current research projects is studying the effect of rapid carbonate crystallization on isotopic signatures of carbonate. As part of this project, he is investigating the fractionation of stable isotopes between CO2 gas, aqueous CO2 species, and carbonate. This research is relevant to interpreting isotopic signatures from carbonate precipitates associated with CO2 sequestration, as well as leakage and degassing associated with hydrocarbon systems when the isotopic systems of CO2 may be out of equilibrium due to rapid crystallization. This work has the potential to identify the effects of leakage from reservoirs in which CO2 has been sequestered.

Earth Research Institute

Mark Brzezinski
Ecology Evolution & Marine Biology

Dr. Brzezinski’s research focuses on marine phytoplankton, oceanography, and climate change science. He is currently working on projects related to effects of high CO2 conditions on organic matter, the effect of wave energy on kelp forest ecosystems, and the maintenance of species diversity.

Director, Marine Science Institute
Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Fluids

Craig Carlson
Ecology Evolution & Marine Biology

Dr. Carlson’s research focuses on microbial oceanography. More specifically, his research focuses on the role marine microbes play in the cycling of elements through oceanic dissolved organic matter. The applications of this research will help to understand how microbial processes affect the production and consumption of organic matter within the oceanic carbon cycle.

Marine Science Institute
Bermuda Institute of Ocean Science

Scott Cooper
Ecology Evolution & Marine Biology

Dr. Cooper’s research has been centered on the factors that determine the abundances and distributions of aquatic organisms. Past research foci have included the impacts of acid deposition, livestock grazing, pollution, climate change, exotic species, and native species loss on freshwater ecosystems. Currently, much of his work revolves around the effects of land use changes, fire, and forestry practices on streams in California.

Marine Science Institute

Tommy Dickey
Geography

Dr. Dickey studies interdisciplinary oceanographic and environmental problems. He has researched air-sea interactions, coastal processes, pollution, and ocean technology, among other things. He recently analyzed ocean eddies in southern California, as well as creating an overview of sea state conditions and air-sea fluxes associated with the Office of Naval Research’s Radiance in a Dynamic Ocean (RaDyO) field program. Through his research, Dr. Dickey has helped to launch key multi-platform observational networks to model and monitor global climate change and coastal pollution.

Tom Dudley
Marine Sciences Institute

Dr. Dudley examines the effects of non-native, invasive species in aquatic and riparian ecosystems, the mechanisms underlying invasion success and plant-herbivore interactions, and the restoration of invaded ecosystems for biodiversity enhancement and improved ecosystem function.

Gretchen Hofmann
Marine Sciences Institute

Dr. Gretchen Hofmann is an eco-physiologist that studies ocean acidification as a result of the absorption of carbon dioxide into the oceans. Hofmann’s work investigates whether or not organisms can adapt to ocean acidification. Her work involves studying Antarctic ecosystems which absorb more carbon dioxide due to freezing water temperatures. By studying the response of the Antarctic pteropod, Hofmann hopes to understand how future decreases in the pH of the oceans around the world will affect marine organisms.

Center for the Study of Ocean Acidification and Ocean Change

Sally Holbrook
Ecology Evolution & Marine Biology

Dr. Holbrook’s research focuses on population dynamics, marine species interactions, and impacts on coral reef ecology. She is currently doing research on temporal patterns in reef communities by analyzing long-term trends in population abundance and species richness. This research is especially vital when looking at the adverse effects of climate change on marine ecosystems.

Marine Science Institute
Co-Principal Investigator, Santa Barbara Coastal and Moorea Coral Reef LTER

Bruce Luyendyk
Earth Research Institute

Dr. Luyendyk has studied the marine seep systems offshore of the UCSB campus. Other research interests include Antarctic climate evolution in which he participated in projects that aim to capture a record of some of the earth’s global climate transitions.

Sally MacIntyre
Ecology Evolution & Marine Biology/Bren

Dr. MacIntyre’s research focuses primarily on the physical processes in lakes and coastal zones and their biogeochemical and ecological consequences. She is developing new models of the gas transfer coefficient as needed for accurate estimates of regional and global carbon fluxes. Her studies are ongoing in Arctic and Subarctic lakes; Mono Lake, CA; tropical lakes in East Africa and the Amazon Basin; and the waters of coastal California.

Earth Research Institute
Marine Science Institute

John Melack
Ecology Evolution & Marine Biology

Dr. Melack researches ecological processes in lakes, wetlands, and streams, as well as the hydrological and biogeochemical aspects of catchments. His research combines state-of-the-art measurements, modeling, experiments, and remote sensing, and it examines ecological processes from the population to ecosystem levels. He has applied results of his research to assess impacts of atmospheric deposition on aquatic ecosystems, to evaluate ecological restoration efforts in California’s Bay-Delta and in Mono Lake, and to determine greenhouse gas emissions from tropical reservoirs.

Marine Science Institute
Earth Research Institute

Daniel Morse
Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology

Professor Morse does research involving nanofabrication of semiconductors to improve solar energy, lightweight batteries, infrared detectors, and information storage. The method used to accomplish this is bio-inspired, based on advantageous mechanisms he and his team discover in biological systems and translate into practical new materials and engineering.

Institute for Collaborative Biotechnologies
Center for Nanomedicine
California NanoSystems Institute

Roger Nisbet
Ecology Evolution & Marine Biology

Dr. Nisbet’s research covers many areas of theoretical ecology. Much of his work is based on Dynamic Energy Budget (DEB) theory to describe the rates at which individual organisms assimilate and utilize energy. His research group develops new fundamental theory and applies it to environmental problems. Applications include ecotoxicology, coral biology, zooplankton ecology, and fish bioenergetics.

Marine Science Institute
University of California Center for Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology

Ronald Rice
Communications/ Statistics

Professor Rice studies, among other topics, public communication campaigns, with some emphasis on environmental communication. In his most recent edition of “Public Communication Campaigns,” he co-authored a chapter that applies principles of social marketing to communicating about ocean sustainability. That chapter focused on developing a strategic approach to designing and implementing messages about ocean sustainability issues, such as ocean pollution, warming, acidification, overfishing, and low oxygen levels. He has also published research on college campus water bottle usage, ocean sustainability literacy, and news images about climate change.

Arthur N. Rupe Chair
International Communication Association

Russell Schmitt
Ecology Evolution & Marine Biology

Dr. Schmitt’s research interests include population and community ecology, applied ecology, consumer-resource interactions, marine invertebrates, and reef fishes. His current research in particular attempts to understand the processes that influence population size and species diversity. In addition, Schmitt looks at the application of ecological principles to the resolution of coastal marine environmental problems.

David Siegel
Geography

Dr. Siegel studies interdisciplinary marine science which couples physical, biological, optical, and biogeochemical processes. He has recently worked on collecting large scale ocean data by using ocean color variability from satellites. Differences in color can indicate distinguishing characteristics such as temperature and the overall biochemistry of the water. This data allows scientists to observe long-term trends and better understand the role oceans play in climate change as well as ascertain what marine ecosystems might look like in the future.

Caresey-Wolf Center
Marine Science Institute

Ray Smith
Earth Research Institute

Professor Smith’s research includes remote sensing of oceans, physical and biological oceanography, primary production and bio-optical modeling in aquatic environments with emphasis on Antarctic ecosystems, marine resources, and Earth system sciences. He continues to work with UCSB’s Institute for Computational Earth System Sciences.

Robert Warner
Ecology Evolution & Marine Biology

Dr. Warner’s research includes behavioral and evolutionary ecology, as well as population biology. Most of his work focuses on coral reef fishes and the historical ecology of coastal marine populations. His current research is on conservation biology and the science of marine reserves.

Marine Science Institute

Libe Washburn
Geography

Dr. Washburn’s research focuses on oceanographic studies to understand how ocean circulation processes affect marine communities in ocean environments. He is currently researching surface circulation patterns in the Santa Barbara Channel and investigating the importance of these flows for delivering larvae to nearshore habitats.

Marine Science Institute

Syee Weldeab
Earth Science

Professor Weldeab’s research focuses on the reconstruction and understanding of past monsoon rainfall variability; thermal, salinity, and productivity history of the oceans; and linkages between tropical oceans and high latitude climate and their interaction with and effect on the monsoon systems. One of Professor Weldeab’s recent projects involved assessing seawater Nd isotope signatures. His research uses marine sediment cores and the application of stable and radiogenic isotopes and trace element to study climate evolution in the past.

Dave Valentine
Earth Science

Professor Valentine’s current research projects include the study of the microbial weathering of aromatic compounds released into marine environments. His research aims to achieve a better understanding of the distribution of relevant microbial communities, rates of oxidation, and the extent to which various hydrocarbons are broken down or consumed.

Seth Peterson
Associate Specialist in Geography

Dr. Seth Peterson is currently doing research on the effect of and response to the deepwater horizon oil spill in the marshes of Louisiana.

Kevin Lafferty
Evolution, Ecology, and Marine Biology

Dr. Lafferty’s research mainly focuses on the ecology of parasites; however, his work also deals with conservation biology issues. Such research includes ways to further the protection and recovery of the endangered tidewater goby, black abalone, southern sea otter, and western snowy plover. In addition, Dr. Lafferty studies the effect of fishing on marine ecosystems (local estuaries, beaches, and kelp forests). In addition to being an adjunct faculty member at UCSB, he is also a Marine Ecologist for the USGS at the Channel Islands Field Station.

Marine Science Institute
US Geological Survey

Peter Collins
Evolution, Ecology, and Marine Biology

Professor Collins’ research emphasis is the study of mechanisms regulating the reproduction and development in vertebrate animal models, comparative reproductive endocrinology and fertility, reproductive physiology in teleosts, endocrine regulation of viviparity, evaluation of candidate species for mariculture, marine teleost larval rearing technology, and the development of novel microparticulate diets for marine larvae.

Centre for Marine Environmental Research and Innovative Technology (MERIT)

Armand Kuris
Evolution, Ecology, and Marine Biology

Dr. Kuris’ research goal is to reveal the role of infectious diseases in ecosystems. It examines how disease contributes substantially to the energetics of the ecosystem and substantially alters trophic relationships and the structure of food webs. His research looks at the biological control of exotic marine pests and biological control of human tropical diseases. This information about parasites is useful for assessing ecosystem function in wetlands.

Marine Science Institute
Biology at the College of Creative Studies

Jennifer Dugan
Marine Science Institutes

Jenifer Dugan’s research as a coastal marine ecologist involves studying basic questions concerning the influence of environmental and anthropogenic drivers on community and population dynamics of marine animals across a diversity of shorelines, latitudes, and time scales. She investigates ecological connectivity, marine conservation and restoration, responses to and recovery from disturbance, species interactions, historical ecology, and the physical and biological drivers of community structure and function in coastal ecosystems. Her collaborations with coastal managers to conduct more applied studies have increased our understanding of the ecological impacts and implications of widespread human alterations of the coast, including urban development, shoreline armoring, beach grooming, oil spills, and climate change, and have provided new insights into intertidal recovery dynamics, restoration approaches, and adaptation strategies.

Jeff Goddard
Marine Science Institute

Jeff Goddard’s research is centered on the natural history and systematics of intertidal invertebrates. He has recently been using historical data sets of abundance, combined with new sampling, to examine long-term changes in the fauna of the northeast Pacific Ocean, including those related to climate change and the explosive human population growth of southern California in the last half of the 20th century.

Will McClintock
Marine Science Institute

Dr. McClintock has developed the “next-generation” MarineMap, called SeaSketch (www.seasketch.org). Designed in a way that anyone – regardless of their technical or scientific background – can participate in marine spatial planning, SeaSketch brings the power of collaborative, spatial decision support systems to everyone with a web browser and internet connection. The McClintock lab was also involved from 2004-2011 in the development of MarineMap, a web-based application used by stakeholders in California’s Marine Life Protection Act (LMPA) Initiative for marine protected area planning.

Center for Marine Assessment and Planning

Robert Miller
Marine Science Institute

Robert Miller’s research involves benthic subtidal ecology, particularly community ecology and the role of primary producers in marine ecosystems. He is also currently involved in in the UC Center for Environmental Implications of Nanomaterials (CEIN). He is measuring impacts of nanomaterials as emerging contaminants to marine ecosystems, using phytoplankton and suspension feeders as model organisms.

Earth Research Institute
UC Center for Environmental Implications of Nanomaterials (CEIN)

Monique Myers
Marine Science Institute

Dr. Myers research interests include impacts to, benefits from, and conservation of coastal ecosystems. She has explored anthropogenic contaminants in coastal wetlands, remote sensing and community monitoring of coral reefs and impacts of marine protected areas. She is currently investigating ghost crabs as indicators of human impacts to sandy beaches and leading the Santa Barbara Area Coastal Ecosystem Vulnerability Assessment (SBA CEVA).To address the challenges climate change poses to coastal communities and ecosystems, Myers’ work is aimed at providing tools and information to reduce impacts to our coasts and help plan for adaptation to inevitable changes. During the past four years, Myers has been working on sustainable coastal community topics, K-12 student/teacher watershed education and climate change outreach. To accomplish a diverse array of projects, Myers collaborates with a variety of government, nonprofit groups, university researchers, and other stakeholders. She also participates on advisory boards and committees and produces publications for her peers and the public.

Dan Reed
Marine Science Institute

Dan Reed is currently working on a mitigation project with The San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) Mitigation Monitoring Program designed to compensate for the adverse effects of a nuclear generation station on coastal resources He is also the lead principal investigator with the Santa Barbara Coastal Long Term Ecological Research program which is one of 25 research sites in the US LTER Network funded by the National Science Foundation to obtain a predictive understanding of ecological phenomena over long temporal and large spatial scales with the goal of providing the scientific community, policy makers, and society with the knowledge necessary to conserve, protect, and manage the nation’s ecosystems, their biodiversity, and the services they provide

Stephanie Hampton
Marine Science Institute

Stephanie Hampton’s research interests range from basic research in aquatic science using statistical analysis of large databases to broader applications of empirical evidence in environmental issues and policy. Currently, her research is largely focused on understanding the effects of climate dynamics on the planktonic base of the food web in Lake Baikal, Siberia.

National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis

Robert Jacobs
Evolution, Ecology, and Marine Biology

Dr. Jacobs’ research is oriented toward the study of cellular and molecular mechanisms of drug action. More specifically, one of his projects examines the harvest of marine organisms that are useful for medical and industrial purposes. This project looks at several oil and gas platforms in the Santa Barbara Channel to assess the issue of over-harvesting natural products. The research may reduce or eliminate the ecological impacts of harvesting marine organisms.

Marine Biotechnology Center (Marine Science Institute)

Uta Passow

Ocean Acidification

Dr. Passow’s research seeks to answer the question of “How does the response of organisms and ecosystems change the functioning of the biological pump in a changing world?” Her research tries to achieve a mechanistic understanding of organisms and processes which determine sedimentation rates in marine systems, now and in the future. Currently, Passow specifically investigates how the input of fossil carbon impacts the growth of autotrophic and heterotrophic microbes, aggregation rates, and the production and microbial degradation of organic carbon. Her research also explores the effects of ocean acidification on microbial degradation and on aggregation and the drivers of the large fluctuations in normal pH off coastal California.

Marine Science Institute