The lab is currently focused on two main research lines, the first one is the dynamics of small-scale fisheries in a changing climate (and includes impact of ocean acidification on abalone fisheries in Baja California, shark conservation biology and the simulation of the effect of marine protected areas), the second is the control and elimination of infectious diseases with an important environmental component in their transmission cycle (most notably schistosomiasis in Western Africa, but we are working also on the dynamics of diseases of marine organisms).
Ultimately, our goal is to foster interdisciplinary knowledge and skills within our lab group with the aim of contributing to solve some of the major challenges society has to face, from the sustainable harvesting of renewable resources in a changing climate, to the control of infectious diseases of public health importance.
Giulio De Leo
I am a theoretical ecologist generally interested in investigating factors and processes driving the dynamics of natural and harvested populations and in understanding how to use this knowledge to inform practical management. I study resilience from two very different points of view: on the one hand, I have focused my attention on populations that prove to be resilient despite our effort to control or eradicate them, namely parasitic and infectious diseases. On the other hand, I have been working extensively to understand how to increase resilience of population of commercial or conservation interest to extensive harvesting, environmental shocks, climate change and land use change. I have been working on a number of theoretical and applied problems ranging from the conservation of the European eel to the sustainable management of the abalone fishery in Baja California in the face of climate change, the biocontrol of schistosomiasis in west Africa and the relationship between resource exploitation, infectious diseases and poverty traps.
My research focus is infectious disease modeling and optimal control theory. Besides, I am interested in machine learning algorithms and statistical modeling. In my research, I am using mathematical tools to understand the behavior of the diseases and manage the control strategies for the diseases. I’ve been involved in a couple of research projects for building new mathematical models for Leptospirosis infectious disease and I am currently working on schistosomiasis infectious disease to predict future projection of the disease propagation under climate change.
I work on several projects including The Shark Baseline Project/SharkPulse, a smartphone app involving citizen scientists in monitoring global shark populations; Kids and Climate, developing activity books and worksheets aimed at teaching elementary school students about ocean acidification; as well as sustainable fisheries research. I also manage the Hopkins Marine Station and Micheli Lab social media pages, and in my spare time I work on marine mammal conservation and bilingual Spanish/English environmental outreach and education.
My work aims to characterize the effects of climate change on the consumer-resource dynamics of coastal marine fishes and invertebrates, particularly those of fisheries and conservation concern. My projects span a variety of spatial scales - at small scales, assessing climate-driven changes in per-capita interaction rates between groundfish in the Bering Sea and between urchins and kelp on the California coast - as well as at large scales, studying how changes in the biogeographic ranges of Bering Sea groundfish are altering the extent of spatial overlap between interacting species. I use several different statistical and computational techniques to tackle these questions in space and time. In the future, I aim to have the results of my analyses incorporated into ecosystem models which are used to keep fisheries sustainable under climate change.
Richard Grewelle is a current PhD student motivated to understand ecological and evolutionary underpinnings of wildlife disease systems. Prior research areas involve bioinformatics, phylogenetics, and disease ecology. Although with previous experience in terrestrial diseases, including Y. pestis (plague), Richard pursues marine disease ecology due to the lack of knowledge surrounding systems we hardly encounter. Marine diseases present significant challenges to not only biologists; they may devastate fragile ecosystems supporting fisheries or providing ecological services. Richard works to bridge the gap between theoretical and empirical studies, employing population and genetic data to inform theoretical models of disease transmission. Despite the economic significance of this research, conservation of marine species and basic biological understanding are at its heart.
Zac Yung-Chun Liu
Zac Yung-Chun Liu specializes in machine learning, artificial intelligence applications, remote sensing imagery processing, and geospatial analysis. His deep learning work includes computer vision, image classification, segmentation, object detection, and natural language processing, related to disease ecology and shark conservation.
Kaitlyn is interested in zoonotic disease transmission dynamics and within-host processes. Her previous research includes work on treatment-resistant cancers and the impact of climate change on shellfish aquaculture. These experiences curated her interest in using inter-disciplinary methods to study infectious zoonotic disease across scales to improve human and environmental health collectively. Currently, she analyzes data collected in Senegal to assess the impact of prawn restoration on schistosomiasis transmission in endemic regions. Additionally, she is passionate about global health equity and mentorship.
Julie joined the lab as a PhD student in Autumn 2019. She is interested in using mathematical models to study the interaction between bacteriophages and bacteria, and its impact on disease. She is currently working on two systems: filamentous phages and bacterial infections in patients with cystic fibrosis and the withering syndrome that affects abalones. Other research interests include disease dynamics (malaria, covid-19) and using machine learning tools to study large-scale events (deforestation,...). Her previous work includes a study of the impact of phages on marine bacterial communities and nutrient cycling.
My research uses theoretical and empirical approaches to address applied problems in fisheries management and marine conservation. My projects span multiple species and places. Right now I work with the Micheli and de Leo labs to study climate change refugia for abalone in Baja California, Mexico. We are investigating the effects of habitat refuges on abalone population dynamics and their persistence into the future.
During my PhD at UC Davis I studied population dynamics and species’ sensitivities to environmental variability in commercially harvested species along the West Coast. Fishery managers are interested in understanding how harvested populations will respond to fluctuating environmental conditions and if future catch limits will need to be adjusted. In the California Current ecosystem ENSOs are predicted to speed up in frequency, I examined how this change in the spectrum of the environment may change future harvest in 17 fisheries.
I am a disease ecologist and veterinarian interested in environmental drivers of infectious disease and creative solutions to protect the health of people and the planet. I currently lead projects on human and planetary health in Senegal, Madagascar, Brazil, and Indonesia, including:
The Upstream Alliance: a research initiative joining partners across the globe for ecological solutions to reduce schistosomiasis, which affects more than 250 million people worldwide.
Health in Harmony: investigating links between healthcare access and reduced illegal logging in Borneo, Indonesia and elsewhere.
Disease Ecology Health and the Environment: discovering and promoting ecological solutions to disease that lead to improved human health and a more sustainable use of the natural environment.