Sherry Palacios

Sherry Palacios

Assistant Professor

Department of Marine Science @ CSUMB


office: CSUMB, Building 13


Dr. Sherry L. Palacios (A.B. Smith College, M.S. Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, Ph.D. University of California - Santa Cruz) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Marine Science at CSUMB and leads the Biological Oceanography Lab. She began at CSUMB in fall 2019 after several years as a Research Scientist at NASA. She teaches the following courses:

MSCI 270 Introduction to Oceanography
MSCI 370 Biological - Physical Oceanography
MSCI 472 Biological Oceanography Capstone (starting Fall 2022)

She has conducted research from both ships and field stations including aboard the R/V Pt. Sur, R/V Wecoma, R/V John H. Martin, and in the field in Baja California, Mexico, Lee Stocking Island, Bahamas, Monterey Bay, San Francisco Bay, Belize, and Pinto Lake, CA.

The objectives of the Biological Oceanography Lab are to use remote sensing and in situ observations and models to track carbon flow through ecosystems, understand the ocean carbon budget, and monitor for harmful algal blooms in marine and freshwater systems. Researchers in the lab use remote sensing and modeling tools to build bio-optical models and apply them to ocean imagery to 1) understand water quality in estuarine and coastal systems, 2) identify and track water masses in coastal environments including river plumes and harmful algal blooms (HABs), and 3) to discriminate phytoplankton functional types to understand phytoplankton biodiversity. There are field-going, laboratory, and computational components to the work in the lab, with a heavy emphasis on bio-optical algorithm development and numerical modeling.

Research Interests:
  • Bio-optical algorithm development for phytoplankton community structure of biofilm species growing on the mudflats of San Francisco Bay
  • Phytoplankton functional type algorithm development for hyperspectral and multispectral ocean color observations
  • Estimating "food from space", or remote sensing observations of nutritional quality of phytoplankton to their grazers
  • Education through authentic research experience using NASA Earth observations for applied science questions
Curriculum Vitae:
Selected Publications
  • Guild LS, RM Kudela, SB Hooker, SL Palacios, HF Houskeeper. (2020) Airborne Radiometry for Calibration, Validation, and Research in Oceanic, Coastal, and Inland Waters. Frontiers in Environmental Science: Environmental Informatics and Remote Sensing.
  • Muller-Karger, FE, E Hestir, C Ade  K Turpie,  DA Roberts, D Siegel, RJ Miller, D Humm, N Izenberg, M Keller, F Morgan, R Frouin, AG Dekker, R Gardner, J Goodman,  B Schaeffer, BA Franz, N Pahlevan, AG Mannino, JA Concha, SG Ackleson, Kyle C Cavanaugh, Anastasia Romanou, Maria Tzortziou, Emmanuel S Boss, Ryan Pavlick, A Freeman, CS Rousseaux, J Dunne, MC Long, Eduardo Klein, GA McKinley, J Goes, R Letelier, M Kavanaugh, M Roffer, A Bracher, KR Arrigo, H Dierssen, Xiaodong Zhang, Frank W. Davis, Ben Best, Robert Guralnick, John Moisan, HM Sosik, R Kudela, CB Mouw, AH Barnard, S Palacios, C Roesler, EG Drakou, W Appeltans, W Jetz. (2018) Satellite sensor requirements for monitoring essential biodiversity variables of coastal ecosystems. Ecological Applications, 28(3), 2018, pp. 749–760.
  • Palacios, SL, (2017) Observations on Earth Science in the Coming Era. Pantsuit Nation Book. Ed. Libby Chamberlain. New York: Flatiron Books. Pp. 288. Print.
  • Thompson, DR, DA Roberts, B-C Gao, RO Green, LS Guild, K Hayashi, R Kudela, S Palacios (2016) Atmospheric correction with the Bayesian empirical line. Optics Express. 24(3):2134 – 2144. doi: 10.1364/OE.24.002134
  • Palacios, SL, RM Kudela, LS Guild, KH Negrey, J Torres-Perez, & J Broughton (2015) Phytoplankton Functional Types in the Coastal Ocean. Remote Sensing of Environment. 167: 269 – 280.
  • Palacios, SL & RC Zimmerman (2007) Response of Eelgrass (Zostera marina L.) to CO2 enrichment: possible impacts of climate change and potential for remediation of coastal habitats. Marine Ecology Progress Series. 344: 1- 13. Feature Article.