Megan Donahue is Associate Research Professor at the Hawai’i Institute of Marine Biology, the marine laboratory of the School of Oceanography and Earth Science Technology at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. She is an ecologist with broad interests in the spatial dynamics of marine populations and communities and in the application of quantitative modeling to a range of marine ecological problems. Currently, her primary research projects are on spatial variation in coral demography and metacommunity dynamics of coral reef communities. With her students and postdoc, she has ongoing research projects on environmental drivers and spatial variation in reef bioerosion and on coral disease modeling.
I earned my bachelor’s of science at UCLA (’95, Cybernetics: now Computational & Systems Biology) taking courses in mathematics, statistics, and control systems theory along with my ecology and evolution courses. My last term at UCLA, I participated in the Marine Biology Quarter where we spent 10 weeks doing research projects at HIMB. What a curious turn of events to return to HIMB as a faculty member.
I earned my PhD (2003) from the the UC Davis Graduate Group in Ecology with Dr. Peter Chesson, working on scale transition theory and spatial population dynamics in microcosms (with Dr. Marcel Holyoak) and porcelain crabs (with Dr. Steven Morgan). I spent several years doing fieldwork based at the Bodega Marine Laboratory.
After two lovely summers in the Isles of Shoals working with Drs. Jim Morin and Myra Shulman as the faculty coordinator for the Research Experiences for Undergraduates program at the Shoals Marine Laboratory, I returned to Los Angeles to postdoc with Drs. Bob Desharnais and Carlos Robles at California State University, Los Angeles. With Bob and Carlos, I worked on spatial predator-prey models of intertidal mussel beds, matching the predictions of dynamic models with the dynamics of the real mussel beds around Bamfield Marine Science Center.