Department Directory


Department Chair: Ingrid Parker Department Manager: Jacqueline Rose
Graduate Adviser: Sarah Arantza Amador Administraive Assistant: Stephanie Zakarian
Undergraduate Adviser: Karina Frazier Undergraduate Adviser: Bee Vadakan
Biology Teaching Laboratory and Facilities Support Technician: Nicole Hack
Department Office: (831) 459-5358 Administrative Office: CBB, Room 207, 209


Mark Matthew Morales

Summary of Expertise

Impacts of natural and anthropogenic climate forcing on marine ecosystem dynamics

Fisheries modeling

Mechanisms of fishery recruitment variability 

Research Interests

For my PhD dissertation, I am designing a computer simulation model to understand the mechanisms of variation in the vital rates of the early life history stages of fishes. I use observations of environmental processes (temperature, upwelling), physiology and behavior, in addition to information from long-term fisheries survey programs (e.g. distribution and abundance) to inform quantitative models used in the management of fisheries and marine ecosystems.  

Biography, Education and Training

I am a California native, born and raised in San Diego. I received my BS in Environmental Systems: Ecology, Behavior and Evolution from the University of California San Diego (UCSD). I am currently a PhD student in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionay Biology at UCSC where I study the impacts of climate forcing on marine ecosystems. I also work closely with researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. I enjoy spending my free time on the ocean (sailing, fishing, diving and surfing) with family and friends. 

Honors, Awards and Grants

National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (2015)

Ocean Carbon Biogeochemistry Award (2016)

Friends of Seymour Discovery Center Student Research and Education Award (2017)

Selected Publications

Jones, William A, Morales, Mark M. (2014). Catalog of Otoliths of Select Fishes from the California Current System. UC San Diego: Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Retrieved from:

Salidvar-Lucio R., Martinez-Rincon R., Morales M., Lluch-Cota S., Lluch-Cota D., Ponce-Diaz G. (In review). Contribution of ocean variability to climate-catch models of Pacific sardine. Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography.

Selected Presentations

UC San Diego Undergraduate Research Conference. Title: “Taxonomic Classification of Fossil Fish Otoliths”. Date: 4/26/2014

Environmental Systems Symposium and Alumni Reunion. Title: “Taxonomic Classification of Fishes Using Fossil Otoliths: photographic otolith catalog, classification methods, and in vitro alteration experiments”. Date: 5/29/14

Scripps Institution of Oceanography’s Inaugural Undergraduate Research Symposium. Title: “Taxonomic Classification of Fishes Using Fossil Otoliths: photographic otolith catalog, classification methods, and in vitro alteration experiments under low pH”. Date: 6/3/2014

MARINE Colloquium WIP. Title: “Incorporating larval behavior into a coupled end-to-end ecosystem model”. Date: 4/17/2016

Integrated Marine Biogeochemistry and Ecosystem Research (IMBER) ClimEco5 (Natal, Brazil). Title: “Modeling the Distribution of Ten Juvenile Rockfish Species in the Central California Current”. Date: 8/10/16

Monterey Bay Aquarium. Title: “The Ecology of Kelp Forest Rockfishes”. Date: 8/28/2017.

Seymour Discovery Center. “Detective size-selective mortality in the early life stages of northeast Pacific rockfishes”. Date: 6/3/2018.

Teaching Interests

Quantitative ecology


Marine Ecology