Eric Palkovacs is Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Associate Director of Research Initiatives in the Institute of Marine Sciences, and Director of the Fisheries Collaborative Program.
Eric works on the eco-evolutionary dynamics of freshwater and coastal ecosystems and applications to fisheries management and conservation. His work focuses largely on fishes, but he also studies other freshwater, estuarine, and marine organisms. His overarching goal is to understand how intraspecific variation and contemporary trait change shapes ecological processes. He is interested in the causes of contemporary trait change and their evolutionary and plastic basis. He uses observational studies and experiments to then test how intraspecific variation shapes ecological outcomes for populations, communities, and ecosystems. These ecological outcomes can have important impacts on ecosystem function. Thus, he is interested in understanding how the loss of genomic and phenotypic diversity is impacting ecosystems and nature’s contributions to people. From a conservation standpoint, he aims to devise management strategies to restore intraspecific diversity to foster more resilient populations, ecosystems, and fisheries.
Eric is the UCSC Lead Principal Investigator of the Cooperative Institute for Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Systems (CIMEAS), an associated faculty member in the Coastal Science and Policy Graduate Program, and faculty mentor for the Santa Cruz Monterey Bay Area Subunit of the American Fisheries Society.