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About Cameron Ainsworth

Dr. Ainsworth’s research is focused on understanding how human activities and climate influence the structure and functioning of marine communities and developing new tools and methodologies to support ecosystem-based management. As part of this research, Dr. Ainsworth and his students employ a variety of statistical and numerical simulation models to characterize trophic linkages in marine ecosystems, habitat use by fish and invertebrates, and the influence of physical oceanography on the distribution of marine life. His ongoing studies include a management strategy evaluation (MSE) of Gulf of Mexico marine protected area design. The MSE approach is a type of closed-loop policy analysis that simulates each part of Holling’s adaptive management cycle (stock assessment, implementation of harvest rules, and policy evaluation). Key to this approach is recognizing feedbacks from the ecosystem that occur in response to management actions and evaluating tradeoffs with respect to socioeconomic and ecological policy objectives. This work is being done in collaboration with NOAA as part of their Integrated Ecosystem Assessment for the Gulf of Mexico, and other Gulf-area agencies. Another major project ongoing in the Ainsworth lab is the evaluation of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. This study focuses on the short and long-term impacts of oil toxicity in the ecosystem, as well as the impacts of mediation actions like the use of dispersants and fishery closures.


Present Associate Professor, University of South Florida College of Marine Science


2020 - 2022 Using ecosystem modeling to understand the impacts of seagrass restoration and red tides on sea turtles, marine mammals and seabirds of the West Florida Shelf
Florida Restore Act Centers of Excellence Program
Role: PI
2019 Ecopath with Ecosim 35 Conference Support
2018 - 2019 Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative. Center for Integrated Modeling and Analysis of the Gulf Ecosystem III
Role: Co-PI
2015 - 2017 Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative. Center for Integrated Modeling and Analysis of the Gulf Ecosystem II
Role: Co-PI
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Professional Service and Affiliations

2020 - Present Member, CMS Admissions committee, USF
2015 - Present Member, CMS Curriculum Committee, USF
2011 - Present Member, CMS Faculty Search Committees, USF
2011 - Present Chair, CMS Marine Resource Assessment Program Committee, USF
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  • Fish Biology
  • Applied Methods in Fisheries Science
  • Marine ecosystem modeling
  • Population dynamics and fisheries


2006 Ph.D., University of British Columbia
1997 B.S., University of British Columbia

Contact Information

Phone: (727) 553-3373


Articles (68)