Catherine Pfister

Department of Ecology and Evolution, University of Chicago

My research in ecology has focused on the dynamics of species in marine systems and the role they play at ecosystems scales. Two recurring themes in my research are the implications of species interactions for community and ecosystem dynamics, and the contribution of climate change to species dynamics. My interests can be broadly grouped into four areas:

(1) the interplay between species and productivity in coastal marine ecosystems

(2) the implications of ocean acidification in coastal marine ecosystems,

(3) identifying the causes and consequences of variability in marine populations

(4) understanding the relative impacts of genetic and demographic factors to extinction risk.


I train PhD students who are interested in testing ecological and evolutionary concepts and pursuing new discoveries in marine ecosystems. Students in my lab have used a diversity of methods in their work, including mathematical models, genetics and -omics, biogeochemistry, and microscopy. There is a diverse group of faculty across multiple departments whose work is related to the ecology of the oceans, and the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole is our affiliate.

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Catherine Pfister