Steven Morgan, Ph.D.

Steven Morgan

University of California, Davis – Department of Environmental Science and Policy
Professor, Bodega Marine Laboratory

Bodega Marine Laboratory
P.O. Box 247
Bodega Bay , CA 94923

Phone: (707) 875-1920
Fax: (707) 875-2009
  • About
  • Teaching
  • Publications
  • Lab

Research Interests

  • Marine ecology, evolution & behavior
  • Biological oceanography
  • Conservation biology

Research Program

We specialize in determining how critical linkages in the complex life cycles of marine invertebrates and fishes regulate populations and communities in a dynamic coastal ocean.


By coupling state-of-the-art approaches in ecology and oceanography, we determine the underestimated role of behavior in enhancing survival of microscopic larvae at sea, including timing the release of gametes and larvae into the water column, regulating the extent of larval transport, returning to suitable settlement sites and surviving encounters with predators and competitors after settlement.

By conducting long-term studies over species’ ranges, we investigate the impact of selective forces on life histories and climate change on marine populations and communities.

We address these challenging questions using a blend of laboratory experiments, field studies, mathematical models, genetics, natural elemental markers and novel instruments, such as robots deployed in the ocean to experimentally test the effectiveness of vertical swimming behaviors regulating larval transport and directly determine dispersal trajectories and distances.

We put this hard-won knowledge into action for informing the conservation and management of marine resources by marine protected areas and developing the next generation of ecological indicators for assessing the health of marine ecosystems, such as the ongoing California Collaborative Fisheries Research Program.