Sarah Joy Bittick

marine conservation and ecology – (at) gmail (dot) com

Two new papers–Seagrasses and Coral Reefs!

It has been a good few weeks! Two of my dissertation papers are now accepted and online. Both focus on consequences of abundant macroalgae to foundational communities–one study in California seagrass meadows and the other on coral reefs in Mo’orea, French Polynesia.



Bittick SJ, Sutula M, & Fong P. In press. A tale of two algal blooms: negative effects of two dominant genera on seagrass and its epiphytes. Marine Environmental Research. Online at:

Download accepted manuscript here.






Bittick SJ,
Clausing RJ, Fong CR, Scoma S*, & Fong P. In press. A rapidly expanding alga acts as a secondary foundational species providing novel ecosystem functions in the South Pacific. Ecosystems. Online at: \
Download accepted manuscript here..


First day of BC field work

It was good to get out in a seagrass bed again! I am investigating the area for good sites to conduct my postdoctoral research in Boundary Bay, British Columbia.

Right panel 3 smaller figures: Peace Arch Beach Rd, near White Rock, BC. Expansive, flat Zostera japonica habitat, didn’t see much Zostera marina at approximately a 4ft tide. If Zostera marina is there, it’s likely deeper.

Bottom figure: Ulva expansa intermixed with Zostera japonica. Might be a decent site to example competitive outcomes between seagrass and macroalgae in response to nutrient availability.


Happy to announce that I have completed my PhD at UCLA!

Next up: I’m moving to Vancouver, BC in August to start a postdoctoral fellowship with Liber Ero Fellowship Program! I’ll be based at the University of British Columbia in Mary O’Connor’s lab to focus on informing local management of seagrass beds with research on nutrient input and community structure.

See a bit about my proposed project here: Meet the Fellows

If you’re interested in the fellowship, it’s not too early to apply!



Co-authored paper accepted in Marine Ecology Progress Series

A project and paper I worked on with a group of spectacular undergraduates, who participated in UCLA’s Marine Biology Quarter to Mo’orea French Polynesia, has been accepted in Marine Ecology Progress Series. More info to come when the article is available online.

Bergman J*, Dang BN*, Tabatabaee MM*, McGowan MM*, Fong CR, Bittick SJ, & Fong P. In press. Nutrients induce and herbivores maintain thallus toughness, a structural anti-herbivory defense in Turbinaria ornata. Marine Ecology Progress Series.

Poster presentation at ICRS



Travelled to Honolulu for the 13th International Coral Reefs Symposium to present my poster titled: “BOLSTERED PHYSICAL DEFENSES UNDER NUTRIENT ENRICHED CONDITIONS MAY FACILITATE A MACROALGAL SPECIES IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC”

Download the poster here





New co-authored paper available online

Screenshot 2016-06-20 15.03.57

Rachel J. Clausing, Sarah Joy Bittick, Caitlin R. Fong, and Peggy Fong

Sediments influence accumulation of two macroalgal species through novel but differing interactions with nutrients and herbivory

Published online in Coral Reefs:

Online Article Available


The online, non copy-edited version of my newest paper from Journal of Ecology is available:

“Bostered physical defences under nutrient enriched conditions may facilitate a secondary foundational algal species in the South Pacific” 

You can also see the accepted draft version here.

Paper Accepted!

I just had a paper accepted in the Journal of Ecology!

Please check back as it will likely be published online soon.

Article details:

Bittick SJ, Clausing RJ, Fong CR, & Fong P. In press. Bolstered physical defences under nutrient enriched conditions may facilitate a secondary foundational algal species in the South Pacific. Journal of Ecology, accepted January 2016.


Website Under Construction

Welcome to my website! Content is still in progress but check out my publications and curriculum vitae.

About me:

Ph.D. candidate in the lab of Peggy Fong
University of California Los Angeles
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Expected degree completion, June 2016

I am a marine community ecologist with interests in human impacts on trophic structure, species diversity, and overall community dynamics.

Blog at

Up ↑