I explore disturbances and other processes that influence the organization of benthic invertebrate communities, particularly in sedimentary habitats or soft bottom ecosystems and often where human activities are major disturbances. We recently discovered one of the most diverse soft bottom communities in the world at the shelf edge in Monterey Bay (Oliver et al. 2011), and dramatic degradation of inner shelf communities from regional warming in the last 25 years (Oliver et al. 2008). Both patterns are linked to food, which increases at the shelf break and decreases with warming water. I also work in freshwater benthic ecosystems, and coordinate a dozen habitat restoration projects in local sand dunes and wetlands in cooperation with the Watershed Institute at CSUMB.