Research & Projects
PhD Research - Alexa Fredston-Hermann

BA Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Princeton University (2012)

Species around the globe are shifting their ranges in response to climate change. These range shifts have a strong correlation with changing temperatures, but also show enormous variation, which can be attributed to both methodological and ecological processes. Dispersal limitation is one prominent ecological process that may prevent species from “tracking” climate change: in order to colonize new habitats, species must be able to reach them. My dissertation explores whether marine biogeographic boundaries (well-characterized dispersal barriers that arise from environmental gradients and patterns in ocean currents) will trap coastal species migrating in response to climate change, using a combination of simulation modeling and data synthesis. Predicting which species will cross these boundaries, and which will be trapped, is critical for proactive management of coastal marine species experiencing climate change.

I have also worked on runoff to coastal ecosystems (including as part of a Science for Nature and People Partnership working group on “Ridges to Reef Fisheries” from 2014-2016), and on West Coast fisheries policy and management while working at the Environmental Defense Fund from 2012-2014.

Year Admitted: 2014
Research Areas: ecological synthesis, conservation, biogeography
Faculty Advisor: Ben Halpern, Steve Gaines

Office/Lab: Bren Hall 4322
Lab Page
Curriculum Vitae


Fredston-Hermann, A., S. D. Gaines, and B. S. Halpern. Biogeographic constraints to marine conservation in a changing climate. (2018). Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences advance online publication. DOI: 10.1111/nyas.13597

Burgess, M. G., A. Fredston-Hermann, M. Pinsky, S. D. Gaines, and D. Tilman. (2017). Reply to Le Pape et al: Management is key to preventing marine extinctions. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 114(31): E6275-E6276.

Burgess, M. G., C. Costello, A. Fredston-Hermann, M. Pinsky, S. D. Gaines, D. Tilman, and S. Polasky. (2017). Range contraction enables harvesting to extinction. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 114(15): 3945-3950.

Fredston-Hermann, A., C. J. Brown, S. Albert, C. Klein, S. Mangubhai, J. L. Nelson, L. Teneva, A. Wenger, S. D. Gaines, and B. S. Halpern. (2016). Where does river runoff matter for coastal marine conservation? Frontiers in Marine Science 3(273): 1-10.

Fredston-Hermann, A. L., A. O’Dea, F. Rodriguez, W. G. Thompson, and J. A. Todd. (2013). Marked ecological shifts in seagrass and reef molluscan communities since the mid-Holocene in the Southwestern Caribbean. Bulletin of Marine Science 89(4): 983-1002.


Science for Nature and People Partnership (SNAPP) Working Group: Ridges to Reef Fisheries, 2014-2016

H. William Kuni Bren Research Award (with Sebastian Tapia, Casey O’Hara, and Molly Wilson), 2017-2018


National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship: 2014-2017