Gemma Carroll

About me

I am an ecologist who studies how climate shapes interactions between marine predators and their prey. The overarching goal of my research is to make better predictions of what ecosystems will look like under climate change, and to make conservation decisions that are based on preserving entire food webs rather than individual species.

I first began addressing these questions during my PhD research on little penguins in southeast Australia. I developed a method to identify when and where penguins caught prey at sea, using accelerometer backpacks that the penguins wore when they went out fishing (think Fit Bits for penguins!). By working out how many fish penguins caught under different environmental conditions, I was able to show that the rapid marine climate change occurring in southeast Australia is likely to result in poor outcomes for both little penguins and the small fish that they feed on.

In 2017 I moved to California for a postdoc at the University of California Santa Cruz and NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center. I have been using data science to understand predator-prey-environment interactions in a range of different species and systems: studying effects of a marine heatwave on energy intake by bluefin tuna in California; measuring climate-driven shifts in spatial overlap between commercially important bottom-dwelling fish communities in Alaska; understanding environmental drivers of the distributions of cetaceans and their prey in the deep waters of the Atlantic, and characterising predictable feeding hotspots for seabirds around the Azores.

When I am not at my computer modeling animal distributions and behaviour, you can usually find me outdoors exploring beautiful places, looking for wildlife in the real world.


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