1. Sula sula and Carcharhinus melanopterus, Palmyra Atoll – photo Kydd Pollock
  2. Manta birostris visualized using acoustic sonar camera
  3. Loxodonta africana, Kenya
  4. Caranx ignobilis, Palmyra Atoll
  5. Hippopotamus amphibious in Ewaso Ng'iro River, Kenya
  6. Manta birostris, Palmyra Atoll – photo Kydd Pollock
  7. Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos and Homo sapiens, Tabuaeran Atoll
  8. Bolbometopon muricatum, Palmyra Atoll
  9. Density of fishing vessels with AIS worldwide in 2015
  10. Hippopotamus amphibious, Laikipia, Kenya
  11. Palmyra Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, USA
  12. Wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus) crossing the Mara River
  13. Elders fishing, Tabuaeran
© Douglas J. McCauley
Lab News
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences logo

New research published by Erin, Doug and collegues in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences using fossil shark scales to reconstruct how shark communitites have changed in Caribbean Panama over the last several thousand years. UC Santa Barbara press release here.

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New report with Malin Pinsky and colleagues on elevated threat of ocean species to climate change makes the cover of Nature.

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McCauley Lab curates the updated Oceans Briefing for the World Economic Forum.

The McCauley Lab and colleagues from UC Santa Barbara discuss with NPR the ecological and political significance of the 1969 Santa Barbara Oil Spill - the largest spill in California's history.
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New research out in Marine Biology by Jacob on the specific feeding habits of territorial damselfish and coexistence. UC Santa Barbara press release here.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences logo


Stuart and Doug publish a new paper in Oecologia highlighting the diverse effects that hippos have on ecosystems.

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Excited to see our new project featured on the front page of the LA Times. Learn more about how our project, Spotting Giant Sea Bass, uses image recognition techniques to study this endangered species.

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Video profile by The Economist on efforts in the McCauley Lab to use new technology to help advance the study and management of endangered marine species.

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New research out in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by Keenan, Doug, and colleagues on how global change can dramatically redefine how hippopotamus shape watersheds. UC Santa Barbara press release here.


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Short film on McCauley Lab reef shark research at Palmyra Atoll wins 3rd place in NSF-funded Ocean 180 Video Challenge.

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New research by Caroline, Doug and colleagues showcasing how technology can strengthen a new United Nations treaty being planned to protect biodiversity on the high seas.

Wildebeest migration


Molly publishes a new paper in Phil Trans B describing how migrations may be threatened in the Anthropocene. UC Santa Barbara press release here.

Ecology letters cover depicting shark fishermen



Doug and colleagues' new research on the dynamics of ecological energy flow and food web structure makes the cover of Ecology Letters.

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Doug honored as an Early Career Fellow by the Ecological Society of America.

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Doug named "Human of the Year." Honored to receive this recognition for the McCauley Lab's work using emerging tech and big data to better understand ocean ecosystems and design solutions to the problems confronting ocean health. Check out the video about this research here.
New report from the McCauley Lab in Science examining the most productive pathways towards engaging virtual reality technologies in environmental education.
Giant sea bass swimming in a kelp forest.

New study
from our lab finds that giant sea bass are worth more alive as an underwater attraction than dead on a fishing boat as a one-time meal.

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New letter in Conservation Biology coauthored by graduate student Erin Dillon encourages greater integration between paleontology and conservation to inspire forward-looking management guided by bright spots in the fossil record.

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New report out in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on the elevated extinction risk for the world's largest and smallest vertebrates.

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New research out in PLOS ONE on how multiple dolphin species share resources around a tropical oceanic island.

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New report out in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on how marine protected areas may help ocean life stand a better chance against climate change.

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Molly Hardesty-Moore was awarded a National Geographic Young Explorers Grant for her research examining the movements and behaviors of raccoons in an urban setting, the UCSB campus and surrounding areas, and the ways by which raccoon spatial ecology can inform management policies to reduce risk of disease transmission to humans.

Shark dermal denticle

New paper by Erin Dillon and collaborators at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and Scripps Institution of Oceanography introduces a technique to extract shark dermal denticles preserved in coral reef sediments for use in reconstructing sub-recent and historical shark communities. 

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Doug discussed the grand challenges facing ocean ecosystems and how science can help us stand up to those challenges at Davos during the World Economic Forum's annual meeting. UC Santa Barbara's work with WEF to protect the world's oceans and marine resources was listed as one of the 10 achievements from Davos. Watch the presentation here.

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New report with colleagues at Stanford in which we electronically track both fishermen and sharks in search of best practices for shark conservation. Read more from the Smithsonian here.


A round up of the year's essays from the McCauley Lab on: good and evil ocean robots, Japanese whaling, how big data may save our oceans, the future of wild fish, saving cities from drowning, why data matter to conservation, a new hospital for the oceans, and a 2016 top ten list for the oceans.

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McCauley Lab and colleagues help shape the Oceans Briefing for the World Economic Forum. Here we lay out the issues that we believe will have the greatest influence on the future of our oceans

Francis and Doug, with Jane Lubchenco, weigh in on a discussion concerning the value of data in the practice of biodiversity conservation.


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McCauley Lab joins the Emmy Award winning series Years of Living Dangerously to discuss how wildlife loss affects affects nature and society.

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Doug discusses the fascinating natural history of hippos with the BBC.


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McCauley Lab joins a conversation in Science News on bringing extinct species back from the dead. The article reviews findings that Molly, Doug, and colleagues from UCSB published in Functional Ecology.

The Benioff Ocean Initiative is featured in Fortune Magazine.
McCauley lab is excited to launch the Benioff Ocean Initiative, an experiment in taking leadership in ocean change. Read more here.
With colleagues at Stanford, the McCauley Lab publishes a report in Science that reveals that extinction patterns in today's oceans look unlike anything seen before in the fossil record.
Doug speaks at the World Economic Forum on how science and technology can create a healthy future for our oceans. Check out the film here.
McCauley lab and colleagues explore how declines in fish catch will impact human health in a new paper in Nature.
McCauley Lab discusses the significance of President Obama's expansion of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument on All Things Considered. The McCauley Lab presented findings concerning the scientific value of the expansion before decision makers in Hawai'i and DC.
New paper by Douglas McCauley and Paul DeSalles describing how sonar gates can be used to count sharks and study their behavior.
Congratulations to Lacey Hughey for winning a prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. Lacey will be using this support to carry forward her research on remotely sensing large animal movement and behavior in Serengeti National Park.
The McCauley Lab is extremely excited to welcome Erin Dillon as a new PhD student. Erin is currently a fellow at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama and has conducted marine research in the Arctic, Antarctica, Palau, Line Islands, Central America, and California. Erin was awarded a prestigious Chancellor's Fellowship to support her research on pre-exploitation shark baselines. Read more about Erin's work here and here.
We enthusiastically welcome Ana Sofia Guerra as the newest PhD student in the McCauley Lab. Ana was awarded a prestigious Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation to support her research on schooling fish on coral reefs. Ana is a Stanford University alum, a North American Rolex Scholar, and is currently a research technician in the McCauley Lab and the Young Lab. You can find Ana's publications on shorebird ecology and parasite ecology here.
McCauley Lab and colleagues report in Science how an analysis of billions of data points of marine big data can make managing ocean health smarter.
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Doug, Paul and Ana traveled to the Big Island with a group of middle school students from Waimea, HI to study the impacts of plastics on Hawaii's marine environments. Hear the students sharing the science they learned in this short film.
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Lacey Hughey (PhD candidate) wins prestigious fellowship through the Erasmus Mundus programme to spend a term in residence with colleagues at University of Glasgow and University of Exeter pioneering techniques to use drones to study animal behaviour.
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Short film on McCauley Lab paper in Science selected as a finalist in NSF-funded Ocean 180 Video Challenge. Finalists will be judged by 30,000 middle school students across the world.
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Join Doug live or via webstream Nov 23rd at the Aquarium of Pacific for a discussion about the past and future of animal loss in the oceans.
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Doug speaks about ocean health at Dreamforce 2015 in SF, the largest software conference in the world. Check out the video of the panel on the film page.
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Doug awarded Sloan Research Fellowship. Announcement made in the New York Times. Read more about the research this Fellowship will support.
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McCauley Lab publishes a new report in Ecosphere that explores how river consumers, like fish and aquatic insects, make use of the natural fertilizers that hippopotamus vector from land into aquatic ecosystems. See news coverage by AAAS.
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New paper on context-dependent effects of large wildlife decline out in Ecological Applications.
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McCauley Lab with Young Lab at UCSB examine in a new report in "American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene" how landscape change alters disease risk in East Africa. See media coverage by AAAS, NPR, BBC, and Discover Magazine.
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McCauley Lab discusses the importance of ecosystem-based management and our recent Conservation Biology paper in the Washington Post.
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McCauley Lab joins discussion on state of the oceans on NPR's All Things Considered.
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Research from the McCauley Lab on opportunities and challenges for protecting marine wildlife on the front page of the New York Times.
McCauley Lab and colleagues review the past and future of marine wildlife in Science.
McCauley Lab contributes to Radio Lab conversation on the value of nature.
Science covers ongoing research by the McCauley Lab on how hippopotamus shape the ecology of African ecosystems.
McCauley Lab contributes to a panel discussion on priorities for what must be done to make protected areas more effective at conserving global biodiversity in Nature.
With colleagues at Berkeley, we describe in this report in Science how global declines in wildlife can foster  violence, degrade public health, and facilitate human rights abuse. This work emphasizes how the futures of wildlife and humans are deeply interconnected. We map out in this report an improved pathway for slowing wildlife loss.
Join the McCauley Lab on Friday 19 Sept 2PM PDT for a live webcast on our hippopotamus research. The webcast celebrates one million hits on the webcam that is focused on our main hippo research site on the Mpala Research Centre. Read more about the webcam project in Science.
In a new article in Conservation Biology, McCauley Lab researchers use field observation, animal tracking, and simulation modeling to describe the positive and negative effects of bumphead parrotfish on coral reefs. Check out coverage of this science at BBC
Manta Ray Research
McCauley Lab researchers use new tools in sonar video imaging along with data from stable isotopes, acoustic telemetry, laser photogrammetry to describe the ecology and behavior of manta rays in this new report in the journal Marine Biology.