Dr. David Gillett
Dr. David 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 focuses on the development of biologically-based methods of habitat quality assessment in marine and freshwater systems using both traditional and DNA-based tools. He is leading the development of causal and protective assessment methodologies for California’s freshwater and marine habitats, using changes in biological communities to identify stressors that impact degraded systems or pose a risk to non-degraded systems. Dr. Gillett is also leading regional efforts to build a seagrass monitoring and condition assessment framework centered on the extent and functioning of eelgrass. More broadly, he is 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.
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. He joined SCCWRP in 2010.
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
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
Alabama Center of Excellence RESTORE Act proposal review panel (2023)
Washington Department of Ecology Benthic Index Technical Advisory Group (2022-2023)
UC Santa Barbra-RESON Coastal Monitoring workshop (2021)
Alabama Center of Excellence RESTORE Act proposal review panel (2021)
Osmar Roberto Araujo Leyva dissertation committee Universidad Autónoma de Baja California (2019-2022)
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
Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation
Estuarine and Coastal Sciences Association
Society of Environmental Chemistry and Toxicology
Society of Freshwater Science
Southern California Association of Marine Taxonomists
Selected Presentations and Conference Proceedings
Gillett, D.J. 2023. The evolution of causal assessment in California. Presentation to US EPA National Biocriteria webinar series.
Gillett, D.J., K. McCune, E. Stein, and C. Whitcraft. 2020. A conceptual framework and sampling methodology for bioassessment in eelgrass (Zostera marina) beds in California’s estuaries. Presentation at California Bioassessment Workshop, Virtual.
Gillett, D.J., S. Weisberg, M. O’Mahoney, and C. Meyer. 2019. Choose your weapon: comparing the identification of benthic infauna via eDNA, single-specimen barcodes, and morphology. Presentation at the Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation in Mobile, AL.
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. 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.