Coastal Ecology and Conservation Lab

at Loyola Marymount University – sarah.bittick (at) lmu (dot) edu



Congrats LMU Class of 2020

Congratulations to the class of 2020! Especially CECL graduates Emma Young and Hannah Lyford. I am so proud of you and know you will do great things! This was a tough time for your undergraduate journey to come to an end but your are resilient and amazing.

Lab Highlighted on LMU Website

Seaver News just posted an article about the lab and Dr. Bittick.

Biology Faculty Launches Coastal Ecology and Conservation Lab

New Coastal Ecology and Conservation Lab at LMU

I will be starting the Coastal Ecology and Conservation Lab (CECL) as an assistant professor at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles this Fall 2019.

Stay tuned for updates but in the mean time contact me at sarah (dot) bittick (at) lmu (dot) edu or with the information below for inquiries.

Sarah Joy Bittick, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Biology, Seaver College of Science and Engineering
Loyola Marymount University
LSB 311, 310.338.8833

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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:

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