Broadly, I explore the impact of biogenic habitats on their ecosystems. I am particularly interested in interactions between foundation species and how a mechanistic understanding of foundation species coexistence and ecological feedbacks can be harnessed to promote recovery. I ask questions about how these feedbacks can be used in the broader context of conservation and ecosystem management. Currently, my focus is on seagrass and how positive species interactions can be harnessed in useful ways for seagrass restoration. Seagrass is a globally declining group that provides numerous benefits to both the environment and humans but faces many anthropogenic stressors.
I am a 2014 graduate of the University of Washington with a bachelor’s and I am a NSF Graduate Research Fellow. My previous work has focused on recruitment of bivalves in Hood Canal, WA as well as facilitative restoration of the native Olympia oyster with in the seagrass, Zostera marina.
Valdez SR, Peabody B, Allen B, Blake B, Ruesink JL. (2016). Experimental test of oyster restoration within eelgrass. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems. doi: 10.1002/aqc.2722
Valdez SR, Ruesink JL. (2017). Scales of recruitment variability in warming waters: comparing native and introduced oysters in Hood Canal, Washington, USA. Marine Ecology. doi:10.1111/maec.12435