distribution, abundance, and dynamics of species inhabiting coastal marine ecosystems
A primary goal of Dr. Cook’s research program is to better our understanding of the natural and anthropogenic factors influencing the distribution, abundance, and dynamics of species inhabiting coastal marine ecosystems. We ask ecological questions that span from the applied to the theoretical; by integrating empirical field ecology with analytical lab work and ecological modeling, we strive to develop a predictive understanding of how nearshore benthic ecosystems are structured, how they function, and how they may change in the future. Currently we are working on projects to determine how habitat use and movement of larval and juvenile fishes impact the dynamics of marine metapopulations, developing population models to predict the risk of extinction for protected species, exploring network-based tools to quantify risk in large marine ecosystems, and simulating how pressures impact the resilience of habitats and ecosystem services in complex coastal systems. Together these projects generate knowledge and understanding that can be used to develop optimal management strategies for simultaneously conserving marine biodiversity and moving coastal communities toward sustainability.