Gaines, Steven

Gaines, Steven
University of California-Santa Barbara

We address a broad range of issues in ecology and conservation biology. Most of the work falls within three broad themes:


What sets species range boundaries? How do population (e.g., abundance, recruitment) and individual (e.g., reproductive success) characteristics vary across entire species ranges? How do these features change in response to climatic variation? This work is tied to our efforts within two large interdisciplinary programs: PISCO, the Partnership for Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans ( , and MEDC, Mellon Ecosystem Dynamics Consortium ( Current projects are focusing on the west coast of North America, the coast of Chile, and the coasts of South Africa.

Design of Marine Reserves

How do marine reserves affect marine ecosystems and fisheries? Are there design elements that enhance both conservation and fisheries management? Can networks of marine reserves be designed to help solve several fundamental challenges in fisheries biology: e.g., the loss of old age classes, the evolution of small size and early maturity in response to fishing, and weak stock closures in mixed species fisheries, a multibillion dollar global economic problem? Much of this work has been the focus of my efforts as a Pew Fellow in Ocean Conservation  and in the NSF Biocomplexity program F3: Flow, Fish and Fishing.

Exotic Species and Biodiversity

How do introductions of exotic species affect patterns of biological diversity across a range of spatial scales from local sites to the entire planet? Introductions of exotic species are large scale manipulations of ecosystems that can be studied as unreplicated and uncontrolled experiments. What insight can they provide about ecology, evolution and biogeography? This last question serves as the basis of a new book, Species Invasions: Insights into Ecology, Evolution, and Biogeography.