Image by Mitch Meyers


Matthew D. Ramirez
Dr. Matthew Ramirez

Hess Postdoctoral Fellow

University of Victoria

Big news!!


In January 2023, I will starting as an Assistant Professor in Coastal and Marine Biology at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, based in the Department of Biology and Marine Biology and Center for Marine Science. I am actively recruiting graduate students to start in Fall 2023, so please contact me via email if you are potentially interested in joining my lab. Please include a CV, a short statement of your long-term goals and how obtaining a graduate degree would help you achieve them, a summary of research interests (and how they align with mine), and any potential project ideas you may have. I am eager to recruit and mentor students from historically excluded groups in STEM, and students that will be bring new skills and interests to the lab (e.g., other isotope systems, genetics/genomics, social sciences, UAVs, etc.) that will complement and extend existing research strengths in ecogeochemistry, population and food web ecology, and global environmental change. 

I am a marine ecologist who studies population and community ecology, with an emphasis on expanding understanding of how natural and human stressors alter life history traits and marine food web structure and function. To this end I investigate three primary questions:


(1) What are the natural and anthropogenic factors driving variation in life history traits (e.g., growth rates)?

(2) How do human activities alter the flow of energy through marine food webs?

(3) What are the cumulative effects of stressors and trait variation on population and community dynamics?


Much of my work centers on the integration of ecogeochemistry (e.g., stable isotopes), sclerochronology, and quantitative modeling to build mechanistic understanding of the factors shaping population and food web dynamics in our changing oceans. I also often study threatened, protected, and/or cryptic species to build fundamental knowledge pertinent to species and ecosystem conservation and management. Understanding factors the control animal behavior and demography are key to predicting ecological responses to future ecosystem changes and curbing biodiversity loss.

I am currently a Hess Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Victoria working with Dr. Julia Baum and Dr. Kelton McMahon at the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography. My postdoctoral research is focused on studying the interactive effects of human disturbance and marine heatwaves on coral reef fish trophic dynamics using compound-specific stable isotope analysis of amino acids (CSIA-AA).