Dr. David Gillett

David J. Gillett is an ecologist who specializes in the study of anthropogenic disturbances influencing the fauna and food web dynamics of estuarine and freshwater systems. He received a B.S. in marine science from Eckerd College in 1997, M.S. in marine biology from the University of Charleston in 2003, and Ph.D. in marine science from The College of William and Mary in 2010. Dr. Gillett joined SCCWRP in 2010. His current research focuses on the development of biologically-based methods of habitat quality assessment (bioassessment) in marine and freshwater systems using both traditional and molecular-based (e.g., DNA barcoding) tools. Specifically, Dr. Gillett focuses on the development of causal assessment methodologies for California’s freshwater and marine habitats that use changes in biological communities to identify potential stressors to these ecosystems.

Education

Ph.D., Marine Science, The College of William and Mary, 2010
M.S., Marine Biology, University of Charleston, 2003
B.S., Marine Science, Eckerd College, 1997

Areas of Expertise

Dr. Gillett is an ecologist who specializes in studying the influence of anthropogenic disturbances and habitat quality on the community structure and ecosystem functioning of marine, estuarine and freshwater benthic communities. His research has focused primarily on ecosystem-scale field studies and experiments, but also incorporates biogeochemical and toxicological information into ecological field data to better understand biotic structure-function relationships.

Dr. Gillett is leading efforts to develop of a causal assessment/stressor ID framework for California’s freshwater and coastal habitats in order to better understand and characterize the sources of impacts to biotic resources in these systems. Dr. Gillett is also leading efforts to develop condition assessment indices for coastal habitats in California and across the country. As part of this, he is involved with expanding the use of genetic barcoding, metagenomics and eDNA as methods for the assessment of a variety of coastal habitats from the seagrasses of estuaries to the soft sediments of the continental slope.

Professional Experience

Senior Scientist, Southern California Coastal Water Research Project, Costa Mesa, CA 2017-present

Scientist, Southern California Coastal Water Research Project. Costa Mesa, CA. 2010-2017

Graduate Research Fellow, Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve of Virginia. Gloucester Point, VA. 2006-2008

Graduate Fellow, Virginia Institute of Marine Science. Gloucester Point, VA. 2003-2006; 2008-2010

Research Assistant, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. Charleston, SC. 1999-2003

Teaching Assistant, College of Charleston. Charleston, SC. 1998-1999

Professional Appointments

NOAA NCCOS Best Practices for Deep Sea Coral Distribution Modelling Workshop (2019)

Kenny McCune thesis committee California State University Long Beach (2018 – present)

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers East San Pedro Bay Ecosystem Restoration Study Habitat Technical Advisory Commission (2016 – present)

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency National Coastal Condition Assessment Program Great Lakes Benthic Indicator Development Workshop panel (2016)

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RESTORE Act Science Program proposal review panel (2015)

Honors and Awards

National Estuarine Research Reserve Graduate Research Fellowship (2006-2008)
Program Chair, Atlantic Estuarine Research Society (2006-2007)
Best Student Poster Presentation, Atlantic Estuarine Research Society Spring Conference (2006)
Outstanding Student Presentation, Estuarine Research Federation Conference (2005)
Outstanding Graduate Student Award, University of Charleston (Spring 2003)
Virginia Institute of Marine Science Graduate Fellowship (2003-2005)

Professional Societies and Certifications

Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography

California Estuarine Research Society (President-Elect)

Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation

Society of Environmental Chemistry and Toxicology

Society of Freshwater Science

Southern California Association of Marine Taxonomists

 Selected Presentations and Conference Proceedings

Gillett, D.J. 2018. A New Generation of Bioassessment Tools:  Pursing next steps of rocky intertidal health indices. Invited presentation at MARINe Annual Meeting.

Gillett, D.J., and S. Bay.  2017. Developing a causal assessment framework for stressor identification in marine and estuarine systems. Presentation at the Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation in Providence, RI.

Gillett, D.J., and G. Sharp. 2017. Developing a Screening Causal Assessment Framework for California’s Waters. Invited Presentation at SWAMP Data Science Symposium

Gillett, D.J. and K.C. Schiff.  2016. Changes in Condition and Composition of Channel Islands Macrobenthic Communities.  Presentation at the California Islands Symposium in Ventura, CA.

Gillett, D.J. 2015.  Building better bioassessment with ecogenomics. Invited seminar at City of San Diego Ocean Monitoring Division in San Diego, CA.

Gillett, D.J., T. Grayson, A. Hamilton, V. Hansen, E. Leppo, M.C. Pelletier, and S. Weisberg. 2013. Effect of three EG classification schemes on the performance of the AMBI benthic index in US coastal waters. Presentation at the Coastal Estuarine Research Federation meeting in San Diego, CA.

Gillett, D.J., J.A. Ranasinghe, M.A. Sutula, K. Schiff, and D.B. Cadien. 2012. Using Macrobenthic Community Structure to Identify Stressors in Southern California Estuaries, Bays, and Harbors. Presentation at the Society for Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry meeting. Long Beach, CA.

Gillett, D.J. 2012. Causal Assessment in California: Concepts, Case Studies, and a Vision for its Future Application. Invited talk at California Bioassessment Workshop. Sacramento, CA.

Gillett, D.J. 2008. Measuring pollution and its effects in estuaries and coastal waters: A review. Invited seminar at the KORDI South Sea Research Institute. Jangmok, South Korea.

Gillett, D.J., L.C. Schaffner, and I.C. Anderson. 2007. Benthic habitat quality and its effects on food web structure and trophic efficiency. Presentation at the Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation Meeting. Providence RI.

Gillett, D.J. and L.C. Schaffner. 2006. Macrobenthic production and habitat quality along a salinity gradient in Chesapeake Bay, USA. Presentation at the Benthic Ecology Meeting. Atlanta, GA.

Publications


Journal Articles

Pelletier, M.C., D.J. Gillett, A. Hamilton, T. Grayson, V. Hansen, E.W. Leppo, S.B. Weisberg, A. Borja. 2018. Adaptation and application of multivariate AMBI (M-AMBI) in US coastal waters. Ecological Indicators 89:818-827.

Ode, P.R., A.C. Rehn, R.D. Mazor, K.C. Schiff, E.D. Stein, J.T. May, L.R. Brown, D.B. Herbst, D.J. Gillett, K. Lunde, C.P. Hawkins. 2016. Evaluating the adequacy of a reference-site pool for ecological assessments in environmentally complex regions. Freshwater Science 35:237-248.

Mazor, R.D., A.C. Rehn, P.R. Ode, M. Engeln, K.C. Schiff, E.D. Stein, D.J. Gillett, D.B. Herbst, C.P. Hawkins. 2016. Bioassessment in complex environments: designing an index for consistent meaning in different settings. Freshwater Science 35:249-271.

Gillett, D.J., S.B. Weisberg, T. Grayson, A. Hamilton, V. Hansen, E.W. Leppo, M.C. Pelletier, A. Borja, D. Cadien, D. Dauer, R. Diaz, M. Dutch, J.L. Hyland, M. Kellogg, P.F. Larsen, J.S. Levinton, R. Llanso, L.L. Lovell, P.A. Montagna, D. Pasko, C.A. Phillips, C. Rakocinski, J.A. Ranasinghe, D.M. Sanger, H. Teixeira, R.F. Van Dolah, R.G. Velarde, K.I. Welch. 2015. Effect of ecological group classification schemes on performance of the AMBI benthic index in US coastal waters. Ecological Indicators 50:99-107.

Schiff, K.C., D.J. Greenstein, N. Dodder, D.J. Gillett. 2015. Southern California Bight regional monitoring. Regional Studies in Marine Science 4:34-46.

Gillett, D.J., D.J. Pondella II, J. Freiwald, K.C. Schiff, J.E. Caselle, C. Shuman, S.B. Weisberg. 2012. Comparing volunteer and professionally collected monitoring data from the rocky subtidal reefs of Southern California, USA. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 184:3239-3257.

Technical Reports

Kacev, D., D.J. Gillett, A.F. de Carvalho, C. Cash, S. Walther, C.D. Larsen, A. Thompson, L. Thompson, N. Bowlin, K. Goodwin, E.D. Stein. 2018. Assessment of Ichthyoplankton Metabarcoding for Routine Monitoring. Technical Report 1031. Southern California Coastal Water Research Project. Costa Mesa, CA.

Gillett, D.J., L.L. Lovell, K.C. Schiff. 2017. Southern California Bight 2013 Regional Monitoring Program: Volume VI. Benthic Infauna. Technical Report 971. Southern California Coastal Water Research Project. Costa Mesa, CA.

Sutula, M., D.J. Gillett, A. Jones. 2016. Status of Eutrophication in San Elijo Lagoon and its Relevance for Restoration. Technical Report 938. Southern California Coastal Water Research Project. Costa Mesa, CA.

Schiff, K.C., D.J. Gillett, A. Rehn, M. Paul. 2015. Causal Assessment Evaluation and Guidance for California. Technical Report 750. Southern California Coastal Water Research Project. Costa Mesa, CA.

Schiff, K.C., D.J. Gillett, A. Rehn, M. Paul. 2015. Causal Assessment Evaluation and Guidance for California (Appendix A). Technical Report 750.A. Southern California Coastal Water Research Project Authority. Costa Mesa, CA.

Schiff, K.C., D.J. Gillett, A. Rehn, M. Paul. 2015. Causal Assessment Evaluation and Guidance for California (Appendix B). Technical Report 750.B. Southern California Coastal Water Research Project Authority. Costa Mesa, CA.

Schiff, K.C., D.J. Gillett, A. Rehn, M. Paul. 2015. Causal Assessment Evaluation and Guidance for California (Appendix C). Technical Report 750.C. Southern California Coastal Water Research Project Authority. Costa Mesa, CA.

Schiff, K.C., D.J. Gillett, A. Rehn, M. Paul. 2015. Causal Assessment Evaluation and Guidance for California (Appendix D). Technical Report 750.D. Southern California Coastal Water Research Project Authority. Costa Mesa, CA.

Ranasinghe, J.A., E.D. Stein, M.R. Frazier, D.J. Gillett. 2013. Development of Puget Sound Benthic Indicators. Technical Report 755. Southern California Coastal Water Research Project. Costa Mesa, CA.

Mazor, R.D., D.J. Gillett, K.C. Schiff, K. Ritter, E.D. Stein. 2011. Ecological Condition of Watersheds in Coastal Southern California: Progress Report of the Stormwater Monitoring Coalition's Stream Monitoring Program First Year (2009). Technical Report 639. Southern California Coastal Water Research Project. Costa Mesa, CA.

Annual Report Articles

Ode, P., A. Rehn, R.D. Mazor, K.C. Schiff, E.D. Stein, J. May, L. Brown, D. Herbst, D.J. Gillett, K. Lunde, C.P. Hawkins. 2013. Evaluating the adequacy of a reference-site pool for the ecological assessment of streams in environmentally complex regions. in: K.C. Schiff, K. Miller (eds.), Southern California Coastal Water Research Project 2013 Annual Report pp. 337-355. Southern California Coastal Water Research Project. Costa Mesa, CA.

Gillett, D.J., D.J. Pondella II, K.C. Schiff, J. Freiwald, J.E. Casselle, C. Shuman, S.B. Weisberg. 2010. Comparing volunteer and professionally collected monitoring data from subtidal rocky reefs in southern California. in: S.B. Weisberg, K. Miller (eds.), Southern California Coastal Water Research Project 2010 Annual Report pp. 219-237. Southern California Coastal Water Research Project. Costa Mesa, CA.