Mark Morales

Mark is broadly interested in: 1) the effects of natural climate variability and anthropogenic climate change on the population dynamics of ecologically and economically important fishes within the California Current System; 2) marine food web dynamics and predator-prey interactions; and 3) single-species, multi-species and ecosystem fisheries modeling. His research aims to produce sound science that can be of strategic and/or tactical use to resource managers.

As a fifth year PhD student (2019-2020) at UC Santa Cruz, co-advised by Prof. Mark Carr and Dr. Elliot Hazen (link), he is investigating the role of interannual variability of the physical oceanography (i.e. temperature, upwelling dynamics, currents, fronts and eddies) and lower trophic level production (i.e. phytoplankton and zooplankton) on the growth, survival, and distribution of larval/juvenile rockfishes with an application to recruitment dynamics. He is using regional ocean models (ROMS), nutrient-phytoplankton-zooplankton models (NEMURO), and individual-based modeling (IBMs) as numerical tools for his dissertation. He is collaborating with the Department of Ocean Sciences at UCSC, as well as with the Southwest Fisheries Science Center’s (SWFSC) Environmental Research Division (ERD) and the Fisheries Ecology Division (FED) in Pacific Grove and Santa Cruz, respectively.

He also collaborates with scientists in Mexico to investigate the role of climate forcing on small pelagic fishes (e.g. sardine and anchovy).