The Nielsen Lab
Marine Ecology
Science of the salty, the slimy & the spineless in the sea
Dr. Karina Nielsen

Dr. Karina Nielsen is a marine ecologist and a Professor of Biology at Sonoma State University where she is actively involved in research, education and public outreach. She received her BS from Brooklyn College – City University of New York in 1992 and her PhD in 1998 from Oregon State University.

Karina has extensive field research experience in temperate coastal ecosystems including: the rocky shores of western North America, Chile and New Zealand, sandy beaches of northern California and the salt marshes of eastern North America.  Her current research focuses on the influence of changing ocean conditions (including ocean acidification) on the ecology and physiology of rocky intertidal invertebrates, marine plants and seaweeds, 2) the ecology of nearshore phytoplankton including harmeful algal blooms and 3) the structure and function of sandy beach ecosystems. She has also studied the role of nutrients and upwelling on the distribution and abundance of marine plants and animals, the development of nearshore hypoxic zones, and the influence of commercial exploitation on seaweed populations. Karina has received funding from a variety of sources including: the National Science Foundation, California Sea Grant, and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, and her work has been published in journals such as Nature, Ecology Letters and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

In addition to traditional scientific work, Karina has a strong commitment to effective communication of science through education and public outreach and to inform public policy.  She served on the science advisory team for California’s Marine Life Protection Act Initiative and is currently a member of the science advisory team for the California Ocean Protection Council and the governing council of the Central and Northern California Ocean Observing System.


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