Erika J. Eliason

Assistant Professor
Department of Ecology, Evolution, & Marine Biology
UC Santa Barbara

Ph.D. – University of British Columbia (2011)
M.Sc. – University of British Columbia (2006)
B.Sc. – Simon Fraser University (2003)

email: erika.eliason “at”
Google Scholar | ResearchGate



Alex Little

Postdoctoral Fellow

Alex’s research integrates all levels of biological organization to explore how environmental stressors interact to threaten animal fitness and ultimately biodiversity. He works from the bottom up, studying how stressor interactions affect the most basic functional levels of physiology in order to make and test predictions about whole-animal physiology and evolutionary theory. His overarching objective is to understand the physiological tradeoffs associated with plasticity so that he can build a framework to model how populations will evolve through the increasingly complex environmental challenges we are creating.

email: alexander.g.little “at”
Google Scholar | ResearchGate



Terra Dressler

PhD Student
Co-Supervised by Tom Dudley (UCSB)

Terra is broadly interested in conservation and restoration of riparian ecosystems, with focus on the genetics, physiology, and ecology of aquatic organisms. She is currently working on using environmental DNA (eDNA) for large-scale mapping of aquatic species biodiversity and using eDNA-generated distribution information to investigate responses of fish populations to environmental stressors.

email: terra.dressler “at”



Emily Hardison

PhD Student

Emily is interested in the physiological mechanisms that drive local adaptation in marine organisms, particularly in species that live across a large geographic range and can be divided into genetically distinct sub-populations. Her research also focuses on understanding how environmental stress alters the physiology and subsequent success of ecologically important marine populations.

email: emily.hardison “at”



Krista Kraskura

PhD Student

Krista is fascinated by phenotypic plasticity and physiological performances of fish. Specifically, she is interested in understanding how fish are being affected by stressful environmental conditions traceable to our activities, and the underlying physiological and biochemical mechanisms behind altered performances. In her research she would love to explore the limits of phenotypic plasticity in allowing fish to remain in a changing/warming world.

email: krista.kraskura “at”



Jacey Van Wert

PhD Student

Jacey’s research interests are largely motivated by the desire to understand how anthropogenic activities impact marine ecosystems. Her research will focus on the physiological mechanisms that affect performance and behavior in marine organisms and their capacity for acclimatization and adaptation. She plans to use a combination of laboratory and field-based experiments to predict the success of ecologically important marine organisms in a rapidly changing environment.

email: jacey.vanwert “at”



Tanya Prystay

MSc Student
Co-Supervised by Steven J. Cooke (Carleton University)

Tanya’s research focuses on using heart rate as a proxy for measuring fish energy investment under various stress conditions. Her current research concentrates on describing the energetic costs of parental care strategies with a focus on smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu) in the Ontario Rideau Lakes (Canada), and sockeye salmon (Onchorhynchus nerka) in British Colombia (Canada). Understanding the magnitude of the cost of spawning can be applied in energetic models, and further our knowledge of the effects of other abiotic and biotic stressors on spawning success.

email: TanyaPrystay “at”



Clay Steell

MSc Student
Co-Supervised by Steven J. Cooke (Carleton University)

Clay’s research focuses on the feeding physiology and ecology of invasive Lionfish (Pterois volitans/miles) in the Bahamas, based out of the Cape Eleuthera Institute on the island of Eleuthera. He uses a combination of lab-based respirometry and field-based heart rate biologger experiments to explore Lionfish feeding rates and the physiological mechanisms that drive them.

email: ClaySteell “at”



Anhadh Jassal

Undergraduate Student

Anhadh is concerned with species interaction stemming from differences at a molecular and cell-biological level. He is an undergraduate Cell and Developmental Biology major with an interest in marine population dynamics.



Kylie Van De Wyngaerde

Undergraduate Student

Kylie’s undergraduate interests span broadly across teleost and elasmobranch physiology and how these parameters can be used to better understand their ecological behaviors and distributions. She plans to focus on the effects of thermal variation in developing and juvenile elasmobranchs, and how this influences the habitat patterns of local species.



Nils Methot

Undergraduate Student

Nils is a 3rd year biology major with interests in the phenotypic plasticity of aquatic organisms as they cope with changing environments.