Peter Carlson

Associate Specialist
Marine Science Research Bld. 520, RM3011

Research Area

My research interests involve both temperate kelp forest and coral reef ecosystems, with particular focus on coupling long term biotic and abiotic data together to detect and understand changes in marine communities. I then use this information to predict future ecosystem states in uncertain climate scenarios. To this end I employ long term survey data collected by the Caselle Lab and PISCO that has documented the kelp forest community as well as fish and invertebrate settlement for >20 years. These long term data span numerous climatic events and extend inside and outside of Marine Protected Areas. This unique perspective provides insight in the mechanisms that underpin our local kelp forest and allows us to forecast future ecosystem states in order to advise management efforts and provide context on the current state of our marine environment.

Similarly, my coral reef work focus on interaction between corals, algae, and fishes across timescales that are appropriate to detect change and recognize underlying mechanisms. My work is focused at Palmyra Atoll National Wildlife Refuge in the Central Pacific. At Palmyra we employ a wide breadth of techniques to study benthic competition, animal movement, predator – prey interactions, and in particular, the role large herbivores play in maintaining coral dominated reefs. At Palmyra I work closely with our partners at The Nature Conservancy and The US Fish and Wildlife Service to complete meaningful science that works to inform conservation efforts both in Palmyra and throughout the world