What We Do

Photo Credit: Jodi Elliott

What We Do

We are lucky to have funding from a number of sources to facilitate research on a wide range of topics. Projects have been funded by NSF, NOAA, NASA, DARPA for example. The main general topics that our research focuses on include:

Climate Change, Risk and Survival

The risks associated with climate change are many, and we study the various ways in which changes in the biophysical characteristic of our planet (i.e. changes in temperature, precipitation, oceanographic conditions, extreme weather events…etc.) as well as on socio-environmental aspects (e.g. human migration, species range distributions, food-production) will impact human wellbeing.

Complex Adaptive Systems

We develop novel theory, mathematical models and agent-based simulations for analyzing complex adaptive systems. We also develop new multi-scale data analytic methods, for characterizing and predicting dynamics in complex adaptive systems, in particular for quantifying the risk of large (catastrophic) changes in ecosystems, financial markets, housing markets, power-grids and systems exhibiting collective behavior.

Coexistence in Social-ecological Systems

We aim to inform basic understanding of how people can live with dignity and community without degrading the ecological integrity of the biosphere. Some of the topics we work on include spatial behaviors of natural resource users, illegal resource extraction, the role of protected areas, human community vulnerability and adaptive capacity in the face of climate change and variability, and the innovation and diffusion of conservation norms.


We study marine ecosystems using mathematical models and computer simulations. We have a focus on size-structure marine food-web modeling and marine metapopulation connectivity and its impact on coastal ecosystem resilience. We have studied the California Current marine ecosystem as well as the Coral Triangle. We also work on connectivity at global scales. Here, we study the routes and timescales over which planktonic communities are connected.