Sea Turtle

Dr. Matthew Ramirez (CV)

NSF Postdoctoral Fellow

University of Rhode Island


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 an NSF Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography working with Dr. Kelton McMahon. Through the integration of museum archives (e.g., Smithsonian NMNH, NOAA), time series analysis, and compound-specific stable isotope analysis of amino acids (CSIA-AA), my postdoctoral research examines how climate- and fisheries-induced ecosystem change influenced the trophic dynamics of marine top predators—marine mammals, sea turtles, fish—over the past century. 

In 2022, I will be joining Dr. Julia Baum's lab at the University of Victoria as a Hess Postdoctoral Research Fellow to study the interactive effects of human disturbance and marine heatwaves on coral reef fish trophic dynamics. 

When not working in the lab or office, I am cooking, traveling, crafting, skiing, watching college football (War Eagle! Go Beavs!), or otherwise hanging out with my husband (Wyatt) and our two dogs (Ruby & Tusc).

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