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


Gail Schwieterman

Postdoctoral Fellow 

Gail’s research centers on the impacts of stress on the cardiorespiratory physiology of coastal fishes. She is broadly interested in how multiple, concurrent stressors can produce additive, antagonistic, or masking effects, particularly in relation to climate change and capture stress. Her work takes a mechanistic approach to elucidate the impacts of various factors on an individual’s physiology, thus allowing for meaningful extrapolation to population-level impacts. Gail hopes to broadly apply her findings to the management process, helping refine our ability to ask meaningful questions and promote effective fisheries regulations.

email: gschwiet1 “at”
Google Scholar | ResearchGate


Matt Drenner

Postdoctoral Fellow 

At UCSB, Matt is currently studying the effects of wildfires on the physical, chemical and biological properties of streams in Southern California, with a focus on how wildfires impact federally endangered Southern California steelhead populations. The frequency and severity of wildfires are expected to increase in Southern California due to climate change; however, we know very little about the immediate and long-term effects of wildfires on streams, stream resilience to wildfires, and the ability of streams to recover from wildfires. An improved understanding of these could aid in future management and restoration efforts for streams impacted by wildfires and aid the recovery of endangered steelhead populations. Matt is also currently a Senior Fisheries Biologist at Stillwater Sciences.

Google Scholar | ResearchGate


Bashir Ali

PhD Student

Bashir’s passion in research is to understand the physiological and biochemical mechanisms that orchestrate life in fluctuating environments. He is particularly interested in examining how marine organisms deal with chronic perturbations and how climate change may push the physiological limits of marine animals. He plans to use integrative approaches including enzyme kinetics and whole organism measurements to truly address the mechanisms by which life prevails in the face of global climate change.

email: bashir.ali “at”


Jasmine Childress

PhD Student
Co-advised by Kevin Lafferty (USGS, UCSB)

Jasmine is broadly interested in ecological parasitology, exploring the interactions between hosts and their parasites as well as how these interactions propagate at the population, community, and ecosystem levels. Currently, she studies the San Miguel Island fox, Urocyon littoralis littoralis, that occurs within the Channel Islands National Park. There she uses traditional survey methods as well as eDNA metabarcoding to determine the spatiotemporal distribution and effects of a newly found acanthocephalan parasite of the declining fox population.

email: jchildress “at”


Terra Dressler

PhD Student
Co-advised by Tom Dudley (UCSB)

Terra is interested in mechanisms that allow fish populations to persist in extreme thermal and multi-stress environments. She is also interested in how time scales of exposure to multi-stressors shape interactive effects on fish performance. She is currently studying how wild rainbow trout populations in warm and highly disturbed streams near their southern range limit are able to thrive despite this species’ tendency to inhabit cold, pristine waters.

email: terra.dressler “at”
Google Scholar | ResearchGate


Emily Hardison

PhD Student

Emily is interested in the effects of diet on thermal acclimation responses. A major assumption about thermal acclimation is that an individual will always respond to a given temperature in the same way. Emily uses a local omnivorous fish (opaleye) as a model system for exploring if/how diet may alter the way fish experience and respond to changes in environmental temperature.

email: emily.hardison “at”


Krista Kraskura

PhD Student

Krista is interested in exploring how body size affects an individual’s capacity to deal with changing conditions, both acutely and long term. During her PhD journey, Krista is exploring how metabolic scaling relationships change with temperature and life-histories in fish, and will study the underlying morphological and physiological mechanisms that can alter metabolic scaling. Krista also is interested in better understanding why climate change is “shrinking” our fish, and what the consequences may be.

email: kkraskura “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”


Jessica Madden

MS Student
Co-advised by Jenny Dugan (UCSB)

Jessica is interested in coastal marine ecology, particularly in the drivers of community structure and species distribution of surf zone fish. She investigates the trophic linkages between sandy beaches and adjacent fish populations, and how this connectivity and other environmental factors affect community and population dynamics of nearshore ecosystems. She is also interested in ecological shifts in response to environmental change, and is motivated to further our understanding of key species with regard to marine resource conservation and management.

email: jessicamadden “at”


Claire Anderson

Undergraduate Student

Claire is a third-year undergraduate in CCS biology. Her passion is marine biology, and she is interested in the interactions between the physiology and ecology of local fish, particularly in the context of global climate change.

email: claire_anderson “at”


Lucy Johnson

Undergraduate Student

Lucy is a 4th year Aquatic Biology Major and Worster Award winner. Her research focuses on how quickly fish metabolism can acclimate to changing environmental conditions.

email: lucyjohnson “at”


Bella Giglio

Undergraduate Student

Bella is a third-year undergraduate biology and sociology double major. She is interested in the links between physiology and ecology, specifically, how diet affects physiological responses to temperature acclimation.

email: isabellagiglio “at”


Alex Little (Postdoctoral Fellow) 2016-2019
Current position: Assistant Professor at Queen’s University

James Leo Loving Lichtenstein (PhD student) 2020
Thesis title: Animal personality shapes the outcome of species interactions and thereby the structure of ecosystems.

Melissa Dick (MSc student, co-advised by Steven J. Cooke) 2014-2016
Thesis title: The physiological, behavioural, and survival consequences of two radio transmitter attachment techniques on migrating adult sockeye salmon.

Tanya Prystay (MSc student, co-advised by Steven J. Cooke) 2016-2018
Thesis title: Exploring the relationship between physiological performance and reproductive investment in wild fish using heart rate biologgers.

Clay Steel (MSc student, co-advised by Steven J. Cooke) 2016-2018
Thesis title: An appetite for invasion: invasive lionfish have lower costs of digestion at high temperatures and a feeding physiology that may drive their impact.