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.
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.
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
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.