Mark Morales

Mark Morales, PhD Student

Broadly, I am interested in: 1) the effects of natural climate variability and anthropogenic climate change on the growth, recruitment, mortality, and distribution of commercial, recreational and ecologically important fishes within the California Current System; 2) marine food web dynamics and predator-prey interactions; 3) single-species, multi-species and ecosystem fisheries modeling; and 4) the role of mid and deep water fishes in sequestering epipelagic carbon. My research aims to produce sound science that can be of operational use to resource managers.

As a second year PhD student (2016-2017) at UC Santa Cruz, co-advised by Prof. Mark Carr and Dr. Elliot Hazen (SWFSC), I will be investigating the role of interannual variability of oceanic currents and lower trophic level production (i.e. phytoplankton and zooplankton) on the growth, movement and survival of larval/juvenile rockfishes with an application to recruitment dynamics. I will be using tools ranging from regional ocean models to nutrient-phytoplankton-zooplankton (NPZ) models and individual-based models (IBMs) for my dissertation. I am currently developing collaborations within the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Ocean Sciences, and Applied Mathematics and Statistics departments at UCSC, as well as within the Southwest Fisheries Science Center’s (SWFSC) Environmental Research Division (ERD) and the Fisheries Ecology Division (FED) at Pacific Grove and Santa Cruz, respectively.

I also collaborate with scientists in Mexico to investigate the role of climate forcing on small pelagic fishes (e.g. sardine and anchovy). Additionally, I am investigating sampling biases in predator-prey studies as a result of differential digestion of hard parts (i.e. fish ear bones or otoliths) corrected for prey population size and distribution.