Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation at Scripps
Marine Biology Research Division

Stuart Sandin is the Oliver Chair in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego. He is a professor in the Marine Biology Research Division, and he serves as director of the Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation.

Sandin’s research focuses on community ecology, investigating how organisms interact in complex marine communities. One major facet of the lab’s interests involve fish and fisheries, with the goal of determining the best way to balance fishing demands today with the perpetuity of fisheries for generations to come. This work on fisheries is complemented by work on the the community ecology of benthic taxa. The ecology of any individual species is the result of myriad interactions and environmental forcings, and combining insights from multiple fields and data sources provides a ripe context for advancing the field of community ecology.

The majority of his work is conducted in tropical coral reef ecosystems of the Pacific and Caribbean. Sandin has coordinated multiple ship- and land-based expeditions to the remote islands of the central and south Pacific Ocean, with much work conducted in the Line Islands archipelago. Sandin has been using this island gradient and others to study the individual and interacting roles that local human activities and oceanographic context play in the fisheries dynamics and general functioning of coral reef ecosystems. The work in the Pacific has led to the development of the 100 Island Challenge research campaign. Learn more about this project at

Born in Los Angeles, Calif., Sandin received a B.S. in ecology, behavior, and evolution from UC San Diego, and a Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology from Princeton University. He was a lecturer and research associate at Princeton before joining Scripps.

Last updated March 2019