Assistant Professor

(805) 893-2170

2314 Marine Science Research Building

McCauley Lab


Behavior, Ecosystem Ecology, Marine Biology, Population and Community Ecology


  • PhD, Biology/Hopkins Marine StationStanford University
  • B.A., Integrative Biology, University of California at Berkeley
  • B.A., Political Science, University of California at Berkeley


The McCauley Lab uses a diverse suite of methods to answer pressing questions in community and ecosystem ecology. Research in the lab is directed at understanding how community structure influences ecosystem dynamics, in determining how ecosystems are interactively and energetically coupled to one another, and quantifying how humans perturb these dynamics and shape patterns of biodiversity. The lab engages these questions using tools from the disciplines of community ecology, biogeochemistry, spatial analysis, ecological modeling, conservation biology, and anthropology. An important aim of research in the McCauley Lab is to generate results that both advance the pure science of ecology and that can be of practical service to decision makers responsible for shaping the future of our environment. We conduct research in a variety of ecological contexts (e.g. coral reefs, tropical savannas, Californian ecosystems) pursuing the philosophy that first principles in ecology can be most effectively derived via observation of pattern and process in diverse settings.


  • McCauley, DJ, Pinsky, ML, Palumbi, SR, Estes, JA, Joyce, FH, and RR Warner. 2015. Marine defaunation: animal loss in the global oceans. Science 347: 1255641.
  • McCauley, DJ. 2014. Mega-parks need greater oversight. Nature 515:29.
  • Brashares, JS, Abrahms, B, Fiorella, KJ, Golden, CD, Hojnowski, CE, Marsh, RA, McCauley, DJ, Nuñez, TA, Seto, K, and L Withey. 2014. Wildlife decline and social conflict. Science 345:376-378.
  • McCauley, DJ, DeSalles, P, Young, HS, Papastamatiou, YP, Caselle, JE, Deakos, MH, Gardner, JPA, Garton, DW, Collen, JD, and F Micheli. 2014. Reliance of mobile species on sensitive habitats: a case study of manta rays (Manta alfredi) and lagoons. Marine Biology 161:1987-1998.
  • Young, HS, Dirzo, R, Helgen, KM, McCauley, DJ, Billeter, S, Kosoy, M, Osikowicz, L, Salkeld, DJ, Young, TP, and K Dittmar. 2014. Declines in large wildlife increase landscape-level prevalence of a rodent-borne disease in Africa. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA. 111:7036-7041.
  • McCauley, DJ, Young, HS, Guevara, R, Williams, GJ, Power, EA, Dunbar, RB, Bird, DW, Durham, WH, and F Micheli. 2014. Positive and negative effects of a threatened parrotfish on reef ecosystems. Conservation Biology 28:1312-1321.
  • McCauley, DJ, Power, E, Young, HS, McInturff, A, Dunbar, RB, Bird, D, Durham, W, and F Micheli. 2013. Conservation at the edges of the world. Biological Conservation 165: 139-145.
  • McCauley, DJ, Young, HS, Dunbar, RB, Estes, JA, Semmens, BX, and F Micheli. 2012. Assessing the effects of large mobile predators on ecosystem connectivity. Ecological Applications 22: 1711-1717.
  • McCauley, DJ, DeSalles, PA, Young, HS, Dunbar, RB, Dirzo, R, Mills, MM, and F Micheli. 2012. From wing to wing: the persistence of long ecological interaction chains in less-disturbed ecosystems. Nature: Scientific Reports 2:409.
  • McCauley, DJ, McLean, KA, Bauer, J, Young, HS, and F Micheli. 2012. Evaluating the performance of methods for estimating the abundance of rapidly declining coastal shark populations. Ecological Applications 22: 385-392.
  • McCauley, DJ, Hoffman, E, Young, HS, and F Micheli. 2012. Night shift: expansion of temporal niche use following reductions in predator density. PLoS One 7: e38871. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0038871.
  • McCauley, DJ, Micheli, F, Young, HS, Tittensor, DP, Brumbaugh, DR, Madin, EMP, Holmes, KE, Smith, JE, Lotze, HK, DeSalles, PA, Arnold, SN, and B Worm. 2010. Acute effects of removing large fish from a near-pristine coral reef. Marine Biology 157: 2739-2750.
  • McCauley, DJ, Keesing, F, Young, TP, and K Dittmar. 2008. Effects of the removal of large herbivores on fleas of small mammals. Journal of Vector Ecology 33: 263-268.
  • Young, HS, McCauley, DJ, Dunbar, R, and R Dirzo. 2010. Plants cause ecosystem nutrient depletion via the interruption of bird derived spatial subsidies. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 107: 2072-2077.
  • Pringle, RM, Young, TP, Rubenstein, DI and DJ McCauley. 2007. Herbivore-initiated interaction cascades and their modulation by productivity in an African savanna. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 104: 193–197.
  • McCauley, DJ. 2006. Selling out on nature. Nature 443: 27-28