Susan Williams, Ph.D.

Susan Williams

Distinguished Professor
University of California, Davis – Department of Evolution and Ecology
Bodega Marine Laboratory

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

Phone: (707) 875-1950
Fax: (707) 875-2009
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BS, Biology, University of Michigan
MS, Biological Oceanography, University of Alaska
PhD, Botany and Marine Biology, University of Maryland

Research Interests:

Susan WIlliams

My research focuses on the ecology of nearshore marine ecosystems, particularly seagrass and seaweed beds and coral reefs. These ecosystems are highly productive and provide a number of ecosystem 'services' such as recycling of organic matter and providing habitat and food for numerous marine species including economically valuable ones. These ecosystems are found at the land-sea margin, a highly variable, stressful, and disturbed environment. Their component organisms are stressed from exposure to air and warming ocean waters and disturbed by anthropogenic activities including habitat destruction and invasions by non-native species. The ecosystems I study have protected status due to their value to humans, and I am committed to communicating research results to resource agencies and policy makers charged with their management (see Public Service, below). My focus on environmental stress and change has evolved from my career-long interest in how communities and ecosystems function, including how variation in resource availability influences resources acquisition and allocation and how species interactions (competition, herbivory) influence plant function and biogeochemical processes.

For additional information see Research tab, above.

Susan WIlliams

Susan taking sediment measurements in seagrass plot in Sulawesi, Indonesia.


Title of Susan's Riser Lecture: "Along the Spice Route: The Quest to Protect Indonesia’s Marine Biodiversity"


Director Geoff Trussell and Heather Sears present Susan with 2015 Riser lecture acknowledgment at Nahant Marine Science Center.

Seagrass in coral triangle grows better together The California Aggie- Jan 22, 2018

An experiment performed by UC Davis and Hasanuddin University scientists in the Indonesian Coral Triangle demonstrated one method of improving restoration outcomes. The results, published in the journal PNAS in November 2017, indicate that multiple seagrass species grown together are more successful and survive longer.

View a video featuring Susan's work with seagrass in Indonesia "The Time is Now, The Future is Here".

CERF Presidents and Exe Dir
Susan ended her 6-year term as President-Elect, President, Past-President of the Coastal & Estuarine Research Federation (CERF) in Nov. 2013. Left to right: Mark Wolf-Armstrong (CERF Executive Director), Ken Heck (President, 2013-2015), Susan, Walter Boynton (President 2011-2013), Robert Twilley (President-Elect, 2013-2015). CERF is an international scientific society dedicated to promoting estuarine and coastal ecosystem research and providing outreach and education of scientists, decision-makers, and the public.