Iliana Ruiz-Cooley

Iliana Ruiz-Cooley

Research Faculty

Department:  Marine Ecology


office: 401c MLML Main Lab


Iliana Ruiz-Cooley is a member of the Research Faculty at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories. She received her Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Biology (Evolutionary Ecology) from New Mexico State University, and held two postdoctoral positions at the National Research Council/ National Academies, and in the Ocean Sciences Department, University of California Santa Cruz.

Research Interests:

Her research experience and interests include a wide range of topics that encompass the feeding ecology and behavior of species and the effect of natural and anthropogenic perturbations over feeding success and population dynamics of species, food web dynamics and habitat biochemistry. Her research has focused on understanding different topics that are unknown for some oceanic and coastal species such as: (a) feeding habits, habitat use and migration, (b) predator-prey relationships, (c) the response of marine communities to environmental variation, (d) geographic and temporal variation in habitat biochemical cycling using resident consumers as indicators, (e) variability in food web length in response to El Niño Southern Oscillation and Climate Change, (f) understanding sources, impact and transfer of natural toxins (like domoic acid) in marine food webs.  She uses different approaches, such as analysis of stable isotopes of carbon and nitrogen from bulk tissue and individual amino acids, morphometrics, age determination methods, and others to test her hypotheses. Her research includes studies on the feeding ecology of cetaceans, cephalopods, pelagic fish, and feeding associations among multiple-species.

Curriculum Vitae:
  • Gong, Yi, L. R. I. Ruiz-Cooley, M. E. Hunsicker, Yunkai Li, Xinjun Chen (Accepted) Sexual niche partitioning and trophic morphology of a pelagic cephalopod. Marine Ecology Progress Series.
  • Jackson-Ricketts J., Ruiz-Cooley R. I., Junchompoo C., Thongsukdee S, Intongkham A, Ninwat A,  Kittiwattanawong K, Hines EM, D. P. Costa. (In Press) Diet and Life History of Irrawaddy Dolphins (Orcaella brevirostris) in the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea. Marine Mammal Science
  • Nuche-Pascual, M. T., J.P. Lazo, R. I. Ruiz-Cooley & S. Z. Herzka. (2018) Amino acid-specific d15N trophic enrichment factor in fish fed with formulated diets varying in protein quantity and quality. Ecology and Evolution. doi:10.1002/ece3.4295
  • Ruiz-Cooley R. I., Gerrodette T., Fiedler P., Chivers S., Danil, K., & L. T. Ballance. (2017). Temporal variation in pelagic food chain length in response to environmental change, Science Advances. 3(10), e1701140, doi:10.1126/sciadv.1701140
  • Zupcic-Moore JR, Ruiz-Cooley RI, Paliza O, Koch PL, McCarthy MD (2017) Using stable isotopes to investigate foraging variation and habitat use of sperm whales from northern Peru. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 579:201-212. doi:10.3354/meps12281
    Ruiz-Cooley R. I., P. L. Koch, P. Fiedler, M. D. McCarthy (2014). Carbon and nitrogen isotopes from top predator amino acids reveal rapidly shifting biogeochemical cycles in the California Current. PlosONE 9(10): e110355. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0110355
  • Brault, E.K., P. L. Koch, E. Gier, R. I. Ruiz-Cooley, J. Zupcic, K. N. Gilbert, and M. D. McCarthy (2014) Effect of decalcification on accuracy of bulk and compound-specific nitrogen and carbon isotope analyses of dentin. Rapid communication. 28 (24): 2744–2752
  • Field, J., Litvin, S., Carlisle, A.B., Stewart, J., Gilly, W., & Ruiz-Cooley, R.I. (2014). Stable isotope analysis of Humboldt squid prey preferences should be interpreted with caution: Comment on Miller et al. (2013). Marine Ecology Progress Series 500: 281-285.
  • Ruiz-Cooley R. I., L. T. Ballance & M. D. McCarthy (2013). Range expansion of the invasive jumbo squid in the NE Pacific: δ15N decrypt multiple origins, migration and habitat use. PlosONE 8(3): e59651. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0059651
  • Field J. C., C. Elliger, K. Baltz, G. Gillespie, W. F. Gilly, R. I. Ruiz-Cooley, D. Pearse, J. Stewart, W. Matsubu & W. Walker (2012) Foraging ecology and movement patterns of the Humboldt squid in the California Current Deep Sea Research II. Tropical Studies in Oceanography. 95:37-51
  • Ruiz-Cooley, R. I., D. T. Engelhaupt & J. G. Ortega-Ortiz (2012). Contrasting C and N isotope ratios from sperm whale skin and squid between the Gulf of Mexico and Gulf of California: effect of habitat. Marine Biology doi:10.1007/s00227-011-1795-3
  • Ruiz-Cooley, R. I. & T. Gerrodette (2012). Tracking large-scale latitudinal patterns of δ13C and δ15N along the Eastern Pacific using epi-mesopelagic squid as indicators Ecosphere 3(7):63 doi:10.1890/ES12-00094.1
  • Ruiz-Cooley, R. I., K. Y. Garcia & E. D. Hetherington (2011). Effects of lipid removal and preservatives on carbon and nitrogen stable isotope ratios of squid tissues: Implications for ecological studies. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 407: 101–107.
  • Ruiz-Cooley, R. I., E. C. Villa & W. R. Gould (2010). Ontogenetic variation of δ13C and δ15N recorded in the gladius of the jumbo squid Dosidicus gigas: geographic differences. Marine Ecology Progress Series 399: 187-198
  • Staaf, D., R. I. Ruiz-Cooley, C. Elliger, Z Lebaric, B. Campos & W. Gilly (2010). Ommastrephid squids (Dosidicus gigas and Sthenoteuthis oualaniensis) in the Central and Eastern Pacific show a convergent biogeographic break. Marine Ecology Progress Series 418:165-178
  • Ruiz-Cooley R. I. & D. T. Engelhaupt (2010). Trophic Aspects of Sperm Whales (Physeter macrocephalus) in the Northern Gulf of Mexico Using Stable Isotopes of Carbon and Nitrogen. Report. U.S. Dept. of the Interior, Minerals Management Service, Gulf of Mexico OCS Region, New Orleans, LA, OCS Study MMS 2008-000, 21 pp.
  • Ruiz-Cooley, R. I. & U. Markaida (2007). Use of stable isotopes to examine the foraging ecology of jumbo squid Dosidicus gigas The Role of Squid in Pelagic Marine Ecosystem, GLOBEC Report 24: 62-63 Honolulu, Hawaii, USA.
  • Ruiz-Cooley, R. I., U. Markaida, D. Gendron & S. Aguiñiga (2006). Stable isotopes in jumbo squid (Dosidicus gigas) beaks to estimate its trophic position: comparison between stomach content and stable isotopes. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 86: 437-445
  • Ruiz-Cooley, R. I., D. Gendron, S. Aguiñiga & S. Mesnik (2004). Trophic relationship between sperm whales and jumbo squid using stable isotopes of C and N. Marine Ecology Progress Series 277:275-283