BruceKendallSmall Bruce Kendall is a Professor in the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management, where he has been since 1998.  Prior to joining the Bren School he was the first postdoc at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis. He received a PhD in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology from the University of Arizona in 1996, and a BA in Physics from Williams College in 1986.

Bruce’s research primarily uses mathematical and statistical models to address basic and applied questions in population ecology.  His current interests focus on demographic heterogeneity, the dynamics of small populations, reserve design, and spatial fisheries management.  Bruce’s C.V.

Researchers and Postdocs

Rachel Simons is an Associate Project Scientist at the Earth Research Institute.  She earned a Ph.D. in Civil & Environmental Engineering at Stanford, and worked for the East Bay Municipal Utility District in Oakland for five years before coming to UCSB in 2009. She is working to expand the links between physical oceanography and biology in models of larval dispersal in nearshore marine animals.

Graduate Students

Darcy Bradley began her Ph.D. in the fall of 2011, jointly supervised by Bruce Kendall and Steve Gaines. Her research seeks to improve the management of coral reef associated top predators, by developing tools for marine protected area planning and fisheries stock assessments that incorporate the effect of predation and top predator removal on trophic structure in coral reef communities across a human impact gradient.

Laura Dee‘s research encompasses marine ecology, the intersection between ecology and economics, ecosystem services, biodiversity, and sustainable fisheries management. Her research interests include the contribution of biodiversity and species interactions to ecosystem services, conservation decisions in the face of uncertainty, functional diversity, community-based fisheries management, the trade of aquarium fish, and the management of multiple uses in marine systems. She is advised by Steve Gaines.

Elizabeth Hiroyasu started her Ph.D. in Fall 2014, after completing a MESM degree at the Bren School. She is interested in the ecology of invasive wild pigs in California and the implications for the communities they invade. She plans to study the population dynamics of this prolific invasive to determine its effects across the landscape, including such sensitive natural environments as oak woodlands, riparian corridors, and native grasslands. Wild pigs also have important economic consequences for ecosystem services, ranching operations, and agriculture in the state, and Elizabeth hopes that her research will be useful in developing more efficient and robust management techniques for invaded habitats in California.

Molly Lassiter is studying problems at the intersection of ecology and economics, with a focus on the phenomenon of ambiguity aversion and how it affects management decisions. She is working on applications in fisheries and protected area networks.

Current and Recent Collaborators

Chris Costello is Professor of Resource Economics at UCSB’s Bren School. His research is primarily in the area of natural resource management and property rights under uncertainty, with a particular emphasis on information, its value, and its effect on management decisions. He is also interested in the process and design of adaptive management programs in which learning (to resolve uncertainty or asymmetric information) is actively pursued. He has been a PI on the Flow, Fish, and Fishing and Sustainable Fisheries projects, and collaborates with Bruce and Crow on bioeconomic modeling, ecosystem-based management, and spatial marine planning.

Tim Coulson is Professor of Zoology at Oxford.  He studies how demographic rates vary across groups of individuals and environments, and identifies the ecological and evolutionary consequences of this variation. He and Bruce met at an NCEAS working group, and have since talked a lot, and written a little bit, about linking ecological and evolutionary models of individual fitness.

Gordon Fox is Associate Professor of Integrative Biology at the University of South Florida. He studies plant ecology and evolution, conservation biology, population biology, and fire ecology. He and Bruce have collaborated actively since they were both in grad school, and are co-PIs on the long-running demographic heterogeneity project, and he visits the lab fairly frequently.

Rich Fuller is a Lecturer at the University of Queensland. He works on pure and applied topics in biodiversity and conservation, spanning the fields of biogeography, conservation planning, conservation psychology and urban ecology. Recent research topics include predicting the consequences of urbanization on biodiversity and human quality of life in south-east Queensland, investigating patterns of contagion in global habitat destruction, working out how best to expand Australia’s protected area system, and achieving the conservation of migratory shorebird populations. He is collaborating with Bruce on a project to analyze long-term monitoring data to diagnose the causes of shorebird declines in the East Asian-Australasian Flyway.

Steve Gaines is Professor of Marine Science and Dean of the Bren School at UCSB. His research focuses on marine ecology and conservation, sustainable fisheries, the design of marine reserves, and the impact of climate change on ocean ecosystems. He has been a PI on the Flow, Fish, and Fishing and Sustainable Fisheries projects, and collaborates with Bruce and Crow on bioeconomic modeling, ecosystem-based management, and spatial fisheries modeling.

Carissa Klein is an Australian Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Queensland. Her general area of research is applied spatial conservation prioritization, addressing questions such as: Where the priority areas for conserving biodiversity and ecolocal processes in Australia?  Should we be investing in marine parks or stopping forest clearing to get the most bang-for-our buck in protecting Indonesia’s coral reefs?  How can we zone the coast of California to meet the needs of multiple stakeholders? She is primarily working on supporting conservation decisions in the Coral Triangle, the world’s epicenter of coral reef biological diversity. She worked with Bruce while a master’s student at UCSB, on decision support for California marine reserves, and they are currently collaborating on developing theory for reserve design in the absence of reliable spatial data.

Satoshi Mitarai leads the Marine Biophysics Unit at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology. His research combines modeling of coastal circulation and in-situ physical and biological observations to create novel tools to assess population connectivity as well as a predictive tool to address management scenarios for Okinawa. He was a postdoc for the Flow, Fish and Fishing project at UCSB, and continues to collaborate with Bruce and Rachel on modeling larval connectivity in the Southern California Bight.

Roger Nisbet is Professor of Ecology at UCSB. His research develops general theory describing the growth and regulation of biological populations, making extensive use of individual-based population models that relate population dynamics to the physiology and behavior of individual members of a population. These models have been applied in many specific projects including the study of fluctuations in zooplankton populations, stability and fluctuations in host-parasitoid systems, the response of open populations to environmental gradients, and the effects of toxicants on population dynamics. He and Bruce have collaborated regularly since 1996; currently they are working with Joe on the effects of heterogeneous dispersal on persistence of stream organisms and the effects of growth heterogeneity on salmon dynamics.

Hugh Possingham is Professor of Ecology and Mathematics at the University of Queensland, where he also directs the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions. The Possingham lab includes a whole lot of postdoctoral researchers and PhD students working on empirical and theoretical aspects of the applied population ecology of plants and animals. Particular areas of recent research include marine reserve design, optimal landscape reconstruction for birds, metapopulation dynamics of plants and animals, population viability analysis, kangaroo and koala management, and optimal weed control. The lab has a unifying interest in environmental applications of decision theory. Bruce spent a sabbatical year in Hugh’s lab in 2008/09, and they are continuing to collaborate on optimal monitoring and reserve design projects.

Dave Siegel
is Professor of Geography and co-Director of the Earth Research Institute at UCSB. He studies interdisciplinary marine science, including satellite ocean color remote sensing, ocean optics, scale interaction in ecological and population systems, climate change. He has collaborated with Bruce since the late 90s, and led the Flow Fish and Fishing project; he is Rachel’s primary collaborator.

Howard Wilson is a researcher at the University of Queensland, working on optimal monitoring design and on statistical techniques to draw stronger inferences about the patterns and causes of population trends from monitoring data. He was Bruce’s office-mate when Bruce was on sabbatical, and have been collaborating on monitoring projects ever since.

Lab Alumni

Joe Stover was a postdoc working with Bruce Kendall and Roger Nisbet, working on models of demographic heterogeneity and dispersal heterogeneity.  He received his Ph.D. in applied math from the University of Arizona, and worked for a year in New Zealand before coming to UCSB. He is now Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Lyon College.


Crow White completed a Ph.D. in EEMB, supervised by Bruce Kendall and Bill Murdoch, in 2008, and is now an Assistant Professor of Biology at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. He studies spatial and trophic dynamics among interacting species and interactions between ecological communities and human users.

Kyle Cavanaugh completed his Ph.D. in IGPMS in 2011, under Dave Siegel’s supervision. In his dissertation, he used remote sensing to map giant kelp beds in southern and central California at bimonthly intervals across two decades, and used this unprecedented dataset to model kelp metapopulation dynamics. He is now a postdoctoral research at the Smithsonian Institution, where he is studying how coastal ecosystems respond to climate variability and human development.

Annie Yau completed her Ph.D. in the Bren School in 2011, supervised by Hunter Lenihan, on the population dynamics of a harvested giant clam population in Tahiti. Her dissertation combined intensive fieldwork with demographic modeling, producing one of the first integral projection models (IPMs) for open populations. She is currently a research fishery biologist at the Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center (NOAA) in Hawaii.

Theresa Nogeire completed her Ph.D. in the Bren School in 2011, under Frank Davis’s supervision, on wildlife habitat use in agriculture-dominated landscapes. She also worked in the lab on models of demographic heterogeneity.  She is currently a postdoc at the University of Washington.

James Watson completed his Ph.D. in IGPMS in 2011, under Dave Siegel’s supervision, on ocean connectivity and nearshore marine species population dynamics. He is currently a researcher at the Stockholm Resilience Centre.

Heather Berkley completed her Ph.D. in the Bren School in 2009, on spatial and temporal patterns in modeling marine species.  She is now Adjunct Lecturer at the College of the Immaculate Word.


Caz Taylor was a frequent visitor during 2007-08, when she was doing a postdoc at Simon Fraser University on shorebird migration.  She is now Assistant Professor of Biology at Tulane University.

Marion Wittmann completed her Ph.D. in the Bren School in 2008, on recreational boating and the spread of aquatic invasive species in and around Lake Tahoe.  She is now a postdoc with David Lodge at the University of Notre Dame.

Masami Fujiwara was a postdoc in the lab from 2003 to 2006, working on stochastic models of individual growth.  He is now Assistant Professor of Wildlife & Fisheries Science at Texas A&M University.

Britta Bierwagen completed her Ph.D. in the Bren School in 2003, on the ecological and microevolutionary effects of urban land-use change on butterfly dispersal. She is now a Physical Scientist at the US EPA’s Global Change Research Program.