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Robert Steneck


University of Maine
School of Marine Sciences

Ph.D., The Johns Hopkins University
Ecology and Evolution, 1982

Research Expertise

Marine Ecology And Evolution
Community Structure And Function, Fisheries Management
Food Webs
Coral Reefs
Sea Urchins




Dr. Robert Steneck is a Professor at the Darling Marine Center at the University of Maine. He studies ecological and evolutionary processes in both tropical and temperate marine and coastal environments. He is an expert in kelp forest and coral reef ecosystems, studying the interrelationships between lobsters, sea urchins and fish stocks in the Gulf of Maine and the ecology and geology of coral reefs in the Caribbean and tropical Pacific. Dr. Steneck has examined the functional anatomy and morphology of algae, herbivorous snails, predatory crabs, lobsters and urchins as a means of understanding how they influence ecological processes in the Gulf of Maine. He has also extensively studied the taxonomy, ecology, and evolution of coralline algae around the world, and is currently focusing on applying ecological approaches to the management of coral reef ecosystems.

Dr. Steneck has authored more than one hundred peer-reviewed scientific publications and book chapters, and was awarded fellowships by the Pew Fellows Program in Marine Conservation and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has served on several Scientific Advisory Committees and continues to conduct fieldwork in the Gulf of Maine and around the world.


Download PDF of C.V.


Recent Selected Publcations

Witman, J., Dayton, P. Arnold, S. Steneck, R., Marsh, A. Birkeland, C. 2011.  The scuba science revolution.  Smithsonian Institution Press.  Scuba Science. In press

Steneck, R. S., Hughes, T. P., Adger, N., Arnold, S., S. Boudreau, K.  Brown, Berkes, F., Cinner, J., Folke, C., Gunderson, L., Olsson, P.,  Scheffer, M., Stephenson, E.  Walker B., Wilson, J. and Worm, B.  2011   Creation of a gilded trap by the high economic value of the  Maine lobster fishery. Conservation Biology DOI: 10.1111/j. 1523-1739.2011.01717.

Incze, L., Xue, H., Wolff, N., Xu, D., Wilson, C. and Steneck, R. S.  2010  Connectivity of lobster populations in the coastal Gulf of Maine  Part II. Coupled biophysical dynamics. Fisheries Oceanography 19: 1, 1– 20

Steneck R. S., and Wilson, J. A. 2010   A fisheries play in an  ecosystem theater: challenges of managing ecological and social  drivers of marine fisheries at nested spatial scales. Bulletin of  Marine Science. 86(2): 387–411

Estes, J. A., Peterson, C. H. and Steneck, R. S. , 2010    Some  effects of apex predators in higher-latitude coastal oceans.  Pages   37 – 53 In: Trophic Cascades: predators, prey, and the changing  dynamics of nature.  Terborgh, J. and Estes, J. S. (eds).  Island  Press, Washington, DC.

Foley, M., Halpern, B.S., Micheli, F., Armsby, M.H., Caldwell, M. R.,  Prahler, E., Silvas, D., Crain, C. M., Rohr, Beck, M. W., Carr, M. H.,  Crowder, L. B., Duffy, E., Hacker, S., D., McLeod, K., Peterson, C.  H., Regan, H. M., Sandifer, P. A., Steneck, R. S., 2010   Guiding  scientific principles for marine spatial planning. Marine Policy. doi: 10.1016/j.marpol.2010.02.001

Hughes, T., Graham, N., Jackson, J., Mumby, P., Steneck, R.. 2010   Rising to the challenge of sustaining coral reef resilience.  Trends  in Ecology and Evolution.  doi: 10.1016/j.tree.2010.07.011

Estes, J.A., C.H. Peterson, and R.S. Steneck. 2008. Direct and indirect effects of apex predators in higher latitude coastal oceans. In: Trophic Cascades.

Halpern, B.S., S. Walbridge, K.A. Selkoe, C.V. Kappel, F. Micheli, C.D. D’Agrosa, J.F. Bruno, K.S. Casey, C. Ebert, H.E. Fox, R. Fujita, D. Heinemann, H.S. Lenihan, E.M.P. Madin, M. Perry, E.R. Selig, M. Spalding, R.S. Steneck, and R. Watson. 2008. A global map of human impact on marine ecosystems. Science 319: 948 – 952.

Bourque, B.J., B. Johnson, and R.S. Steneck. 2007. Possible prehistoric hunter-gatherer impacts on food web structure in the Gulf of Maine. Pages: 165 – 187 In. Erlandson, J. and Torben, R. (eds) Human Impacts on Ancient Marine Environments. Univ. of California Press.

Hoegh-Guldberg, O., P.J. Mumby, A.J. Hooten, R.S. Steneck, P. Greenfield, E. Gomez, D.R. Harvell, P.F. Sale, A.J. Edwards, K. Caldeira, N. Knowlton, C.M. Eakin, R. Iglesias-Prieto, N. Muthiga, R.H. Bradbury, A. Dubi, and M.E. Hatziolos. 2007. Coral reefs under rapid climate change and ocean acidification. Science 318: 1737 – 1742.

Hughes, T.P., M.J. Rodrigues, D.R. Bellwood, D. Ceccarelli, O. Hoegh-Gulberg, L. McCook, N. Moltschaniwskyj, M.S. Pratchett, R.S. Steneck, and B. Willis. 2007. Regime-shifts, herbivory and the resilience of coral reefs to climate change. Current Biology 17: 1 – 6.

Steneck, R.S. 2006. Lobsters as model organisms for interfacing behavior, ecology and fisheries: Summary on Cooperative Research. Journal of Crustacean Biology 26: 663 – 665.

Steneck, R.S., and E.A. Sala. 2005. Large marine carnivores: trophic cascades and top-down controls in coastal ecosystems past and present. Pages 110 – 137 in Ray, J., K. Redford, R. Steneck, and J. Berger. (eds) Large Carnivores and the conservation of biodiversity. Island Press.

Hughes, T.P., D.R. Bellwood, C. Folke, R.S. Steneck, and J.E. Wilson. 2005. New paradigms for supporting resilience of marine ecosystems. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 20: 380 - 386.

Steneck, R.S., J. Vavrinec, and A.V. Leland. 2004. Accelerating trophic level dysfunction in kelp forest ecosystems of the western North Atlantic. Ecosystems 7(4): 323-331.

Jackson, J.B., M.X. Kirby, W.H. Berger, K.A. Bjorndal, L.W. Botsford, B.J. Bourque, R. Bradbury, R. Cooke, J. Erlandson, J.A. Estes, T.P. Hughes, S. Kidwell, C.B. Lange, H.S. Lenihan, J.M. Pandolfi, C.H. Peterson, R.S. Steneck, M.J. Tegner, and R. Warner. 2001. Historical overfishing and the recent collapse of coastal ecosystems. Science 293: 629 - 638.

Steneck, R.S. 1998. Human influences on coastal ecosystems: Does overfishing create trophic cascades? Trends in Ecology and Evolution 13: 429 - 430.

Steneck, R.S. 1997. Fisheries-induced biological changes to the structure and function of the Gulf of Maine Ecosystem. Plenary Paper. Pages 151 - 165 in Wallace, G. T., and Braasch, E. F. (eds). Proceedings of the Gulf of Maine Ecosystem Dynamics Scientific Symposium and Workshop. RARGOM Report, 97 - 1. Regional Association for Research on the Gulf of Maine. Hanover, NH.