Emily Donham

Emily defended her thesis in 2016 and has begun a PhD at UC-Santa Cruz.  Congratulations and good luck, Emily!


Emily graduated from the University of Hawaii at Manoa (UHM) in 2007 with a B.S. in Biology. During her time as an undergraduate, Emily worked as a student assistant conducting behavioral surveys using SCUBA to characterize sound production in butterflyfishes.

After graduation, Emily began work as a research technician at UHM assessing life history parameters for three species of Hawaiian goatfishes (Parupeneus porphyreus, Mulloidichthys vanicolensis, and Mulloidichthys flavolineatus). She then went on to work as a contractor for NOAA’s Coral Reef Ecosystem Division conducting hydrographic surveys, towed video camera transects, and fish surveys throughout the US-affiliated Pacific islands.

Emily joined the Ichthyology Lab at MLML in Fall 2011. Her love of being underwater and desire to better understand how human impacts are affecting the marine landscape led to her involvement in a CA Seagrant project (funded to Dr. Scott Hamilton, MLML and Dr. Jennifer Smith, Scripps Institution of Oceanography) assessing the differential responses of temperate algal species to climate change. Emily’s research interests broadly encompass questions on how natural and anthropogenic stressors affect community composition and species interactions on reefs. Her thesis will assess the impacts of ocean acidification and grazing pressure on benthic communities inhabiting kelp forests in San Diego and Monterey, CA.