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About Benjamin Ruttenberg

My research interests fall into several broad categories within marine conservation and marine ecology. These include patterns and drivers of ecological and life-history variation over large scales (how do things change over space and time, and why) and the impacts of management on marine systems (how do we change and try to manage our impacts on the oceans, and what can we do better). We have several current projects that fit into these categories, including:

·         Understanding the potential for offshore renewable energy production in California. Offshore wind and wave energy will likely be an important part of California's mix of renewable energy in the future. However, we still lack detailed information about the potential for energy production and the information needed to evaluate potential environmental and socioeconomic benefits and costs of renewable energy production. This project involves synthesis and modeling work with existing data, and may involve collection of new environmental data. Collaborators include faculty from a number of discipline as well as federal agency staff.

·         Processes of herbivory and corallivory in the Caribbean. Parrotfish feed on algae that compete with corals, thereby indirectly benefiting corals, but some parrotfish will occasionally feed directly on live corals. We seek to understand the feeding preferences of different parrotfish species, how these preferences might influence corals, and how fisheries for parrotfish might change these net effects. This project involves field work in St. Croix, USVI, and modeling work, and includes collaborators at UC Santa Barbara and several federal agencies.

·         Factors controlling the decline and recovery of Pismo clams. Pismo clams were once an abundant recreational fishery species throughout California and in Pismo Beach in particular. In recent decades, the abundance of Pismo clams have declined across California. We are describing spatial patterns of abundance, and future work will begin to test the importance of a variety of potential limiting factors. This project involves field work from Monterey to Baja California, as well as lab and experimental work, and includes collaborators at Cal Poly and institutions throughout California.


Present Assistant Professor, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

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  • Ichthyology
  • Marine Conservation and Policy

Recent Works (4)

Research Works (25)