Big update!! As of March 2023, I am now a Senior Environmental Scientist specializing in ecological synthesis with the State of California! I will continue to update this site as new research directions evolve.


My name is Denise Colombano.

  • I am a fish ecologist and I study climate change impacts on fisheries
  • I am very interested in estuary-ocean linkages
  • I’m also into R, time-series models, spatially explicit models, hierarchical linear and non-linear models, dataviz, and scientific illustrations

Education and research interests

For three years I conducted research as a Postdoctoral Scholar working under Professors Albert Ruhi and Stephanie Carlson in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management at UC Berkeley.

My interests are sustainable fisheries and food webs, which I approach through the lens of seascape ecology. I synthesize datasets in new ways to better understand the natural history of species and their behavioral adaptations to dynamic marine and estuarine environments. You can follow along with my research on Research Gate.

Specifically, I am interested in studying the following topics:

  • Climate change effects on long-term fish community stability, food web structure, and predator-prey dynamics
  • Fisheries sustainability in response to changes in ocean and estuary dynamics (e.g., marine heatwaves vs. drought)
  • Tidal marsh-upland connectivity influence on fish communities in San Francisco Bay watersheds/tributaries
  • Estuarine ecology in urban and agricultural landscapes; optimizing nature-based solutions to sea level rise for fish communities and food webs

In 2019, I earned a Ph.D. in Ecology in Dr. Peter Moyle’s lab at UC Davis. My dissertation is titled, “Tidal marsh habitat use by fishes in the San Francisco Estuary” and is available on ProQuest. All three of my dissertation chapters are published. Links are available on the Publications page on my website.

I like to code in R, teach R, learn new techniques and statistical analyses, and share my knowledge with students and staff. I believe that the collective scientific enterprise must prioritize equitable, inclusive, and supportive work environments that foster creativity and productivity for everyone.

Please get in touch!