Temperate Rocky Reefs
My graduate work at U.C. Santa Barbara with Dr. Al Ebeling focused on SCUBA studies of the behavior and ecology of kelp-forest fishes, including predation by Pacific electric rays, published with Dick Bray [now a professor at California State University at San Marcos] (1978 Science), competition between species of surfperch (1980 Ecology), and territoriality in black surfperch (1981 Copeia). While in graduate school, I also published a theoretical model on the mechanisms that determine feeding territory size (1980, 1982 American Naturalist), which led to postdoctoral work with Dr. F. Lynn Carpenter [U.C. Irvine] on hummingbirds (American Naturalist 1983, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 1983, American Zoologist 1987, 1988, etc.). On and off over the past several decades, I have been involved in studies of the distribution of groundfishes among seafloor habitats on the outer continental shelf of Oregon using manned submersibles (Fishery Bulletin 1989, 1992, 1995, 2002, etc.). This research has led to collaborative recommendations regarding sustainability of demersal fisheries (Fisheries 1999, 2000, 2004, etc.). Until the lionfish invasion interrupted our field work, my recent research has focused on the age-old question of what drives and regulates population sizes of marine fishes at multiple spatial scales, most recently in the context of marine protected areas. Answers to this question are of fundamental importance for managing fisheries, conserving marine species, and understanding the ecology of the oceans. The major difficulty in providing answers lies in the complex life cycle of most marine fishes: a planktonic egg and larval phase during which developing fish drift and swim in the open ocean, followed by settlement to the seafloor and a relatively sedentary juvenile and adult phase, located either near or far from where the fish were spawned. This interest led me to make use of coral reefs as model systems, which can be experimentally manipulated in situ more easily than temperate systems, providing stronger inference regarding ecological mechanisms (see "Tropical Coral Reefs").