Ocean ecology lab


The Ocean Ecology Lab is an interdisciplinary team of ecologists, field biologists, and quantitive scientists, doing research with real-world management implications. Our science is informing conservation and management decisions globally.

meet the team

Joshua Stewart, PhD

Principal Investigator

I'm a quantitative ecologist whose interests span animal movement, trophic ecology, and population dynamics with an emphasis on threatened species and ecosystems. A major focus of my work involves leveraging flexible Bayesian modeling frameworks to incorporate multiple data sources and take advantage of long time series of ecological processes and population dynamics. I have a strong interest in applied science, collaborating with stakeholders and managers, and applying my research directly to management with input from resource users.

Clarissa Ribeiro Teixeira, PhD

Postdoctoral Scholar, Marine Mammal Institute

I am a zoologist/ecologist interested in trophic ecology and spatial movements of marine organisms. My research is focused broadly on integrating biomarkers (e.g., stable isotope analysis) with other sources of data (e.g., stomach content analysis, tracking data, behavioral observations) to better understand how the ecology and physiology of species, populations, and individuals can be altered or adapted in the face of increasing anthropogenic activities. My areas of interest include: behavioral ecology, animal behavior, and analyses of biological data.

Hannah Myers, PhD

I am an ecologist and bioacoustician with a focus on conserving wildlife populations to strengthen ecosystem resilience in the face of climate change. I am particularly interested in top predators and using flexible models and machine learning to uncover patterns in big data. For my PhD, I studied the seasonal distribution and residency, calling rates, and year-round acoustic abundance of fish-eating and mammal-eating killer whales in the Gulf of Alaska. I have also studied the economic impacts of proposed management policies to reduce entanglements of critically endangered North Atlantic right whales, as well as novel fishing technologies. As a postdoc at OSU, my research focuses on the distribution and residency patterns of endangered southern resident killer whales and overlap with prey resources and human activity. I emphasize applied research to inform conservation and management policy.

Santiago Dominguez, MS

PhD Student, Marine Mammal Institute

I am a marine biologist with a passion for studying marine megafauna and fisheries. I am interested in quantitative ecology, population dynamics, spatial analysis, and the conservation of marine megafauna. Currently, I am a Ph.D. student at the Marine Mammal Institute at OSU, where my research focuses on the distribution and movement patterns of Southern Resident Killer Whales and Chinook Salmon. I am strongly interested in applying my research to improve the conservation of marine resources in Latin America and the communities that rely on them.

Iliana Fonseca, MS

Project Leader, Proyecto Manta Pacific Mexico

I co-lead Proyecto Manta Pacific México and I am a professor at the Tecnológico Nacional de México, Campus Bahía de Banderas. I am passionate about the conservation of oceanic manta rays in Mexico, and I have a great interest in understanding the habitat use that manta rays give to the Bahia de Banderas and the Mexican Pacific coast.

Aldo Zavala

Project Leader, Proyecto Manta Pacific Mexico

I am a Proyecto Manta pacific Mexico co-leader and a master's student in coastal science and conservation at the University of California, Santa Cruz. My interests range from studying oceanic mantas and marine fishes in general to promoting marine conservation policies and creating opportunities for communities to engage in the design and implementation of conservation strategies.

Charlene Perez Santos

MS Student, Marine Mammal Institute

As a passionate marine biologist, I am particularly interested in understanding the impacts of environmental factors on the behavior, food web interactions, and populations of marine mammals. Currently, I am an M.S. student at the Marine Mammal Institute at OSU, where my research focuses on the distribution and movement patterns of endangered Central American and threatened Mexican humpback whales. Being a member of the Latino community myself, I deeply understand the importance of representation and diversity in the field. I have a profound passion for utilizing my research to enhance the conservation of marine life. I am also a member of the Whale Habitat, Ecology & Telemetry Lab at the Marine Mammal Institute.

Ally Kane

MS Student, Marine Mammal Institute

I am a budding marine ecologist, focusing on marine megafauna, and I have a particular interest in foraging ecology, behavior, and trophic interactions. I am especially enthusiastic about research that has direct applications to conservation and management. I am part of the Ocean Ecology Lab and the Whale Habitat, Ecology, and Telemetry Lab, where my research focuses on the use of satellite telemetry and prey data to assess the foraging behavior of humpback whales in Mexico. I also work with photogrammetry data to identify the size and body condition of whales. Outside of my studies, I am an avid diver, which fuels my passion for marine ecology and conservation.

Dylan Gomes, PhD

(Alum) Postdoctoral Scholar, Marine Mammal Institute

I am a field biologist and quantitative ecologist interested in conservation and, specifically, human-induced impacts on fish and wildlife. My research spans scales from animal behavior and predator-prey interactions to food webs and ecosystem ecology. I've used mathematical models (both statistical and deterministic) to answer questions about many different taxa and ecosystems around the world. I am broadly interested in promoting open, reliable, and transparent science practices. I spend the majority of my free time recreating outside. [Now a Biologist with USGS]

Erica Mason, PhD

(Alum) Postdoctoral Scholar, Marine Mammal Institute

I am passionate about sustainable fisheries management and conserving valuable marine resources. To that end, I enjoy applying different quantitative tools to answer complex questions related to fish population fluctuations, harvest, and potential climate change impacts. My research has primarily focused on temperate marine fish biology and ecology in southern California where I also worked as a fishery biologist with the State for a number of years. I'm excited to shift my attention to the Pacific Northwest ecosystem to build models that improve our understanding of juvenile ocean salmon survival. [Now a Fish Biologist with NOAA]

Hunter Grove

(Alum) VIEW Fellow, Marine Mammal Institute

My name is Hunter or Akúnvaan in my Indigenous native language, the Karuk tribal tongue. I use she/ they pronouns and am studying Environmental Science with an option in Applied Ecology with a GIS Certification at Oregon State University. I enjoy studying and researching wildlife in order to protect and conserve sensitive species as well as do Environmetal Activist work. I am working with the Ocean Ecology Lab on harbor seal predation of salmon using stable isotope analysis, and injury characterization of manta rays in Mexico. I am starting an undergraduate research project in the fall of 2023 investigating how Indigenous views of the American Badger in Oregon affected the population versus western views. My hobbies include hiking, DIY projects, gardening, reading, as well as getting together with friends for arts and crafts!


The Ocean Ecology Lab strives to create an environment that is inclusive and welcoming to individuals of all backgrounds, regardless of gender identity, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability status, or socioeconomic background.

We recognize that the pursuit of science has not been accessible to all, and we will work to make our lab and the field of marine science welcoming to historically excluded groups. We are working to create a safe, inclusive and supportive lab group so that our colleagues can excel at producing science that benefits society.

We are developing a lab code of conduct that will be reviewed and updated annually by all lab members so that we can identify ways to improve our lab culture. We recognize that fostering an inclusive culture means constantly evolving. We solicit annual, anonymous reviews of our leadership from all lab members to provide an opportunity for honest feedback and growth.

We require all lab members to receive training at the beginning of their appointment and every two years thereafter in sexual harassment intervention and reporting in an effort to make both our lab space and field research safe.

Science is our passion, but we also recognize that science is our job and work-life balance is critical. We set clear expectations about taking sufficient time off to keep our lab members excited about coming to work.

Finally, we recognize that science has historically been an endeavor for the privileged, and that asking early career scientists to work for free is an exclusive practice. If you are interested in working or training with our lab group, we are committed to finding a way to ensure that you are fairly compensated for your time and effort.

We believe that inclusive, cooperative science is good for society and the global community. We strive to include scientists, community members, and other stakeholders from the locations where we work in every stage of our research process, from planning, to fieldwork, to analysis and publication.

We commit time and resources to building local capacity and training scientists so that community members have an active voice and role in any science being done in their backyard. We are committed to co-producing science-based solutions to real-world problems in partnership with the stakeholders who are most affected by them.

We also recognize that the scientific community is only recently placing equity, justice and inclusivity front and center. Our efforts are imperfect, and we are constantly learning and trying to do better. If you feel that there is a specific way that we can improve our efforts, please reach out to lab PI Joshua Stewart: .