Nick Schooler

PhD candidate, Interdepartmental Graduate Program in Marine Science

I am co-advised by Steve Gaines and Jenny Dugan in the Interdepartmental Graduate Program in Marine Science. I am interested in the mechanisms behind abiotic and biotic drivers of spatial and temporal patterns in biodiversity. I am also interested in the relative role of specific species or groups of taxa in ecosystem function and the impacts of human disturbance on biodiversity and ecosystem function. For my dissertation, I am using California sandy beaches as a model ecosystem to explore spatial and temporal patterns in macroinvertebrate biodiversity. From 2009-15, I conducted 78 macroinvertebrate surveys at 52 sandy beaches from the Oregon border to San Diego, many being surveyed for the first time ever.

During my graduate studies, I have had the opportunity to participate in several interesting projects and attend international conferences in Morocco and South Africa. I was involved in baseline monitoring programs to provide a benchmark of ecological and socioeconomic conditions during the establishment of California’s north coast, north central coast, and south coast MPAs. I was part of the Natural Resource Damage Assessment following the 2015 Refugio oil spill. I also worked with a group of coastal scientists to develop and test a citizen science-based sandy beach monitoring protocol. I recently developed a smartphone application for exploring southern California sandy beach ecosystems that will be available for iPhones by the summer of 2016.



  • Schooler NK, Dugan JE, Hubbard DM 2014 Detecting change in intertidal species richness on sandy beaches: calibrating across sampling designs. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science. 150:58-66 doi:
  • Viola SM, Dugan JE, Hubbard DM, Schooler NK 2014 Burrowing inhibition by fine textured beach fill: implications for recovery of beach ecosystems. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 150:142-148 doi:
  • Hubbard DM, Dugan JE, Schooler NK, Viola SM 2014 Local extirpations and regional declines of endemic upper beach invertebrates in southern California. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 150: 67-75 doi:
  • Schooler NK, Dugan JE, Page HM 2012 First host record for the parasitoid rove beetle, Aleochara sulcicollis Mannerheim, 1843 (Coleptera: Staphylinidae) on the intertidal kelp fly Fucellia ruftibiaStein 1910 (Diptera: Anthomyiidae). The Coleopterists Bulletin 66(4):1-4. doi: