Jerome Fiechter, Assistant Professor

Department of Ocean Sciences, UC Santa Cruz

Research Focus

My research activities are primarily focused on using advanced numerical modeling tools to investigate how local, regional, and basin scale physical variability impact biogeochemical cycling (e.g., air-sea CO2 exchange) and ecosystem processes (e.g., foraging ecology of key marine species) in the California Current Large Marine Ecosystem.


Recent studies include:

(i) Describing the spatiotemporal scales over which coastal waters act as sources/sinks for the global carbon budget.

(ii) Using an end-to-end ecosystem model to explore long-term fluctuations of sardine and anchovy populations.

(iii) Predicting shifts in California sea lion distributions in response to local changes in coastal upwelling intensity.

(iv) Identifying ocean conditions that control the growth of juvenile Chinook salmon during their first year at sea.

Contact Information

Ocean Sciences Dept.

University of California

Santa Cruz, CA 95064


Tel: 831-459-4736

Fax: 831-459-4882

Research Highlights


Ocean Acidification Impacts on Coastal Ecosystems


We just received a new research grant from the National Science Foundation to make substantial advances in our current ability to understand and predict the impact of ocean acidification on California's diverse marine ecosystem. The development of robust modeling tools will also provide state and federal managers with reliable information to best protect our coastal resources in light of changing climate conditions. To this end, our research group at UC Santa Cruz will be collaborating closely with NOAA's Environmental Research Division at the Southwest Fisheries Science Center in Monterey.


Modeling California Sea Lions Foraging Ecology


We recently published an article in Marine Ecology Progress Series that describes the use of a fully coupled ecosystem model to predicts changes in the foraging ecology of California sea lions in response to environmental variability and prey availability. Results from the model demonstrate how different physical and biological processes control habitat utilization and foraging success of sea lions off of Central California on interannual time scales, with the dominant modes of variability linked to nearshore sardine abundance and coastal upwelling intensity.


MEPS article:

Fiechter, J., L.A. Huckstadt, K.A. Rose, D.P. Costa (2016). A fully coupled ecosystem model to predict the foraging ecology of apex predators in the California Current. Marine Ecology Progress Series 556, 273-285, doi: 10.3354/meps11849.