Faculty Profile

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Matthew Edwards 

Assistant  Professor
Ph.D., University of California, Santa Cruz (2001) 
Department of Biology
Ecology Doctoral Program
Ecology Masters Program

lab web page: http://www-rohan.sdsu.edu/~kelplab/

Research Interests

I am interested in the causes and consequences of variability in biological communities.  My research focuses on patterns of variation in giant kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera) forests at multiple spatial and temporal scales throughout the species’ geographic range in the Northeast Pacific Ocean.  As part of my research program, I have been examining the relative importance of numerous physical and biological factors in the structuring of kelp forest communities, as well as how these factors modify interactions among co-occurring species, with particular emphasis on large-scale phenomena (such as El Niño Southern Oscillations and global climate change). 

A second focus of my research program has been to examine how opportunistic marine algae maintain populations in spatially and temporally heterogeneous environments, with particular attention on the role of dormant microscopic life-history stages.  My future research plans involve continuing to assess the causes and consequences of variation in kelp forests while attempting to assess how different life-history traits allow some species to either take advantage of or buffer against variation in environmental conditions.  By examining these processes at multiple scales over large geographic areas and long time periods, I hope my research will ultimately offer insights into the issue of generality, an often contentious but poorly understood issue in ecology. 


Foster, M.S., M.S Edwards, D.C Reed, D.R. Schiel and R.C. Zimmerman (2006). Top-down vs. bottom-up effects in kelp forests. Science 313: 1737-1738.

Edwards, M.S. and J. A. Estes (2006). Catastrophe, recovery, and range limitation in NE Pacific kelp forests: a large-scale perspective. Marine Ecology Progress Series 320: 79-87.

Carney, L.C. and M.S. Edwards (2006). Cryptic processes in the sea: a review of delayed development in the microscopic stages of marine macroalgae. Algae 21: 161-168.

Matson, P.G. and M.S. Edwards (2006). Stipe hollowing in Eisenia arborea (Phaeophyta: Laminariales): variation across a latitudinal gradient. Phycologia 45: 343-348.

Edwards, M.S. and G. Hernández-Carmona (2005). Delayed recovery of giant kelp near its southern range limit in the North Pacific following El Niño. Marine Biology 147: 273-279.

Edwards, M.S.  (2004). Estimating scale dependency in disturbance impacts: El Niños and giant kelp forests in the Northeast Pacific. Oecologia 138: 436-447.

Clark, R.P., M.S. Edwards and M.S. Foster. (2004). Effects of shade from multiple kelp canopies on an understory algal assemblage. Marine Ecology Progress Series 267: 107-119.

Edwards, M. S. 2001.  Scale-dependent patterns of community regulation in giant kelp forests.  Ph.D. dissertation.   University of California Santa Cruz.  140 pp.

Graham, M. H. and Edwards, M. S (2001).  Statistical significance vs. fit: estimating the relative importance of  individual factors in ecological analysis of variance.  Oikos 93: 503-513.

Edwards, M. S. 2000.  The role of microscopic life-history stages in the persistence of marine macroalgae in seasonally variable environments. Ecology 81(9): 2404-2415.

Edwards, M. S. 1999.  Using in situ substrate sterilization and fluorescence microscopy in  studies of microscopic stages of marine macroalgae.  Proceedings form the 16th Annual  International Seaweeds Symposium. Hydrobiologia 398/399: 253-259.

Edwards, M. S. 1998.  Effects of long-term kelp canopy exclusion on the abundance of the annual alga Desmarestia ligulata. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 228:  309-326.

Edwards, M. S. 1996.  Factors regulating the recruitment of the annual alga Desmarestia ligulata  along the central California coast.  M. S. Thesis. San Francisco State University.  67 pp.


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