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Marine Science Graduate Program

Jeff A. Crooks, PhD

Research Coordinator, Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve

Dr. Crooks has been the Research Coordinator of the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve, a Marine Protected Area just north of the US / Mexico border, since 2002. Jeff runs the Reserve's research and monitoring program, which focuses on using sound science to adaptively manage urban marine ecosystems such as salt marshes and lagoons. One key area of research is the ecology and management of invasive species, including the development of unifying principles for invasion biology by exploring roles of exotic species across various habitat types.


Ph.D., Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Oceanography M.S., San Diego State University, Marine Ecology B.S., Colorado State University, Zoology

Scholarly and Creative Work

Crooks has been working on the ecology of San Diego's coastal wetlands for over 20 years, and has examined biological and physical changes in these systems over time. Much of this work has focused on viewing invasive species as both causes and consequences of environmental change. He has examined the ability of exotics to impact invaded areas by changing physical habitat structure via ecosystem engineering, and has explored the temporal dynamics of invasion, particularly related to an often-observed "lag effect." Another current theme of his research is understanding the degree to which human alteration of ecosystems, caused by factors such as pollution and climate change, might facilitate invasions. A related research focus is investigating temporal changes in coastal ecosystems, and integrating the past, present, and future to steer recovery and restoration efforts.