My Research

My research interest focuses on the interaction of Oceanography, Fisheries and Ecology.

I study how the interaction of organisms with other individuals and the environment affects their movement (e.g. migration, aggregation behavior, swimming), and how these interactions affect the success of different fisheries' management policies.

There are three main aspects on which I am working:

  • To understand how movement complexity (i.e. random movement, aggregation, migrations) affects the success of a marine protected area.
  • To understand how fish populations extending over two or more Economic Exclusive Zones (and/or High seas) will respond to the different fishing pressure on both sides of the border.
  • How marine living resources will respond to global climate change, and the effect of this on the fisheries and fisheries management.

  • Cooperative Work

    In Progress

    SASAP: Biophysical State of the Alaska Salmon System

    The goal of this project is to produce an unifying source of information that describes the status of the Alaska Salmon and their habitats across regions.

    The Biophysical Working Groups is focused on the following key questions:

  • What are the patterns of biological diversity within and among speiess across regions (Fig. 1)?
  • How do patterns of physical habitat and drivers of habitat quality vary across regions?
  • Does habitat diversity relate to biological driversity across regions? if so, in what way?
  • How do biological and physical factors interact with sociocultural, economic and governance domains of salmon systems?
  • Figure 1: Combined datasets on the number and timing of adult salmon (pooled by species) entering rivers in the Kuskokwim and Southeast regions. Species composition, sex ratio, freshwater and salwater age Diversity are measured on a scale between 0 and 1 using the Simpson Diversity index (increasing values correspond to more diversity). This plot suggest the Kuskokwim and Southeast regions contrast most with regard to the availability of salmon in rivers, with the Kuskokwim having more days during the year when salmon are in rivers, compared to Southeast.

    Here is a booklet produced for the Alaska Forum on the Envrironment

    SASAP: The Data Task Force (DTF).

    The more than 100 SASAP researchers who are working together to gather, analysis and synthesize salmon data rely on a very unique and talented team to help clean, analyze, archive and showcase this important information, the Data Task Force.

    The Data Task Force team help to coordinate data requests from Alaska Department of Fish and Game and other agencies and organizations, then reformats, intergrate, and run quality control on those datasets. All SASAP data is (or will be) archive on the NCEAS's data archive,, which is accessible to the scientific community. Unique to this project, the DTF will also support the development of a salmon 'data portal', which will allow the data to be more easisly discoverable and undestable for all salmon stakeholders.

    One of my contributions to the data portal are the Escapement Explorer and the Size Change Explorer.


    Allometric growth and fecundity in fish species - Cooperation with Crow White

    The relationship between growth and fecundity is fundamental for fisheries modelling, therefore it is crucial to obtain accurate estimates of allometric growth and fecundity across fish species.

    Territorial Use Rights in Fisheries (TURFs) and Reserve Designs - Cooperation with Daniel Viana

    Territorial Use Rights for Fisheries (TURFs) are advocated as an option for fisheries management of artisanal coastal communities.

    Marine Reserves when combined with TURFs can bring benefits to the local fisheries through spillover and can also attract divers because of greater wildlife abundance. Using a multi-patch dynamic bioeconomic model this project aims to explore the different TURF/Reserve designs and their consequences to fisheries and tourism outcomes.

    Image credit: Flickr/WorldFish

    Effects of fishing and driver of variation in Sea Urchin Species - Cooperation with Sarah Teck

    Complete list of collaborators: Julio Lorda, Thomas Bell, Jorge Cornejo-Donoso, Jenn E. Caselle, Scott L. Hamilton, Nick T. Shears, Steven D. Gaines

    Roe-based fisheries are dependent on harvesting individuals in good reproductive condition. Therefore understanding the environmental and ecological drivers of variation in reproduction, and how this is affected by fishing itself, is important from a management and conservation perspective.

    To investigate how marine protected areas are affecting one of the most important coastal fisheries in California, the red sea urchin, Mesocentrotus franciscanus, we explored environmental, biological and fishing-related drivers of variation in sea urchin populations. We compared red sea urchin population and reproductive characteristics at MPA and fished sites across the California Channel Islands. Across this region, we examined the patterns in red sea urchin density, biomass, reproductive output, size (test diameter), and gonadosomatic index (GSI). In addition we investigated the spatial patterns of this herbivore’s main resource, the kelp Macrocystis pyrifera, and its main competitor, the purple sea urchin Strongylocentrotus purpuratus.

    Territorial Use Rights in Fisheries - Cooperation with Eréndira Aceves

    TURFs have existed for centuries, and most of them have been established within the boundaries of traditional fishing grounds. However, TURFs are gaining attention as a tool for fisheries’ management in new sites around the world, and their creation requires a better understanding of the features that lead to their success.

    TURF size is an important aspect of their design, affecting their efficiency both from an ecological and social standpoint. This study shows the effect of TURF size in yields for four major TURFs systems in Chile, México and Japan. We show that both larval dispersal and adult movement can have a great impact on yields potentially affecting fishermen behavior. However spillover is not preventing TURFs from success in the case studies analyzed. Here we present size and inter-TURF cooperation as a solution to the spillover problem. This analysis included several improvements to existing theoretical models on TURF design, facilitating the selection of complementary tools when natural and social constraints prevent the construction of TURFs of an optimal size.

    Other Projects

    The Surf-Oracle

    I didn't like to open my computer just to check the waves, so I built this lamp to show the surf condition in real time.

    This little lamp gets the swell info from one of the NOAA sites, displays the info in the LCD, and changes the orb color based on the waves height.