Jan Freiwald

Current Position

Director, Reef Check California
Reef Check Foundation

Research Associate
Institute of Marine Sciences, University of California, Santa Cruz


Contact Information

Long Marine Laboratory
100 Shaffer Road
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

(831) 345-8167


  • Vordiplom   Biology, University Kiel, Germany
  • BSc.             Marine Biology, UC Santa Cruz
  • PhD             Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, UC Santa Cruz (2010)

Research interests

My dissertation research in the RC Lab focused on the effects of population density as well as biological habitat variables on the movement and homerange size of temperate reef fishes.  Using acoustic telemetry, I conducted experimental and observational studies to investigate the movements of rockfishes and kelp greenling on rocky reefs in Monterey Bay. I am interested in the population and community ecology of reef fishes and how understanding their structures and dynamics can be applied to marine conservation and management especially with respect to marine protected areas (MPAs).

Jan Freiwald directs the Reef Check California program. He oversees diver training, manages data collection, analysis, and dissemination, and liaisons with academic and agency scientists. Jan Freiwald is a marine ecologist with a focus on the ecology of temperate rocky reefs. He joined Reef Check in 2010 and is based at Long Marine Laboratory at the University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC) from where he received his PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. Located in an academic research lab, he promotes the use of RCCA’s data for scientific research and facilitates the exchange of ideas between the program and university scientists. As Program Director he works closely with PI’s of other marine ecosystem monitoring programs in the context of marine protected area (MPA) monitoring and evaluation. He has conducted research on temperate reefs using approaches ranging from acoustic telemetry, over subtidal community surveys to genetic parentage analysis to investigate their ecology.

Selected Publications

Curt D. Storlazzi, Theresa A. Fregoso, Jared D. Figurski, Jan Freiwald, Steve I. Lonhart, David P. Finlayson. (in press). Burial and exhumation of temperate bedrock reefs as elucidated by repetitive high-resolution sea floor sonar surveys: Spatial patterns and impacts to species’ richness and diversity. Continental Shelf Research.

Jan Freiwald. 2012. Movement of adult temperate reef fishes off the west coast of North America. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 69:1362-1374. PDF Suppl. material

Gillett, D., D. Pondella, II, J. Freiwald, K. Schiff, J. Caselle, C. Shuman, and S. Weisberg. 2012. Comparing volunteer and professionally collected monitoring data from the rocky subtidal reefs of Southern California, USA. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 184:3239-3257. PDF

Jan Freiwald, N. L. Stewart, D. C. Yates, and G. Bernardi. 2009. Isolation and characterization of nine polymorphic microsatellite loci of the kelp greenling, Hexagrammos decagrammus, a temperate reef fish. Molecular Ecology Resources 9:563-565. PDF

Dissertation: Causes and consequences of the movement of temperate reef fishes PDF

Jan Freiwald’s CV