Hello, I'm

Julie Gonzalez

Graduate Student Researcher

University of California, Davis

About Me

I am a maker in both my work and my spare time. I love building and creating, whether that's experimental contraptions, conceptual diagrams, sewing clothes, painting & sketching, to name a few.

In my professional work, I am broadly interested in how climate change stressors, such as increased inundation from a rising sea level, will impact biological interactions and ecosystem function in coastal communities. How will feedbacks from interacting abiotic and biotic processes modulate these impacts? Understanding how a changing climate will impact whole-system interactions will aid management efforts to restore habitat or control invasive species impacts now and in the future. I also enjoy the challenge of reconciling multiple persepectives in the process of addressing environmental problems.

Download CV

What I do

Scientific Research

I love the entire process of addressing complicated environmental problems; From observing, asking questions, and facilitating collboration, to experimental design and field work, to thinking about how best to visualize and disperse findings.

Collaboration

Humans are inherently linked to their environment. I enjoy the challenge of balancing the preservation and restoration of our natural world with the needs of all humans. I use both environmental and social science strategies to find creative, multi-beneficial solutions for environmental problems.

Data Visualization

As a visual learner, I enjoy and understand the importance of thinking conceptually about how to portay data. Over the years I have acquired the R, Illustrator and InDesign skills necessary to generate creative data visualizations.

Projects

  • All Categories
  • Research Technician
  • Sea Grant Fellowship
  • Master's
  • Ph.D.

Ph.D. Dissertation Project

April 2019 - Present

I am interested in how coastal estuarine systems will respond to climate change stressors including sea-level rise, and how we can use this knowledge to improve habitat restoration efforts.

BROADLY: How will climate change induced sea-level rise impact abiotic and biotic processes in coastal systems? How will feedbacks from interacting abiotic and biotic processes modulate these impacts?

Specific Research Questions:

(1) Response of Transition Zones to Sea-Level Rise

How will increased inundation resulting from projected sea-level rise impact different habitats within the transitional area (“transition zone”) in coastal systems? Specifically, how will increased inundation impact low marsh vegetation (a monoculture of the ecologically important native cordgrass, Spartina foliosa) relative to high marsh vegetation?

(2) Marsh Response to Multiple Stressors: Sea-Level Rise and Invasive Species

How will the direct and indirect impacts from the invasive European green crab Carcinus maenas interact with sea-level rise to impact S. foliosa?

(3) Defining Marsh Restoration Success: Understanding Multiple Perspectives

What factors are viewed as impacting restoration outcomes and do measured metrics reliably assess these factors? How do the social metrics of success outlined by public end users differ from and link to ecological metrics of success defined by scientists and land managers?

WRP Regional Strategy 2018

January 2018 - March 2019

The Southern California Wetlands Recovery Project (WRP) brings together multiple stakeholders (scientists, landowners, government and non-government agencies) to restore wetlands throughout southern California.

I was involved in the culmination of a 5 year effort to develop and produce the Regional Strategy 2018, an informational directive with goals and quantitative objectives to restore wetlands from Point Conception to the Tijuana Estuary. I worked closely with the San Francisco Estuary Institute to review and bolster the science, create and update data visualizations, and assist with design and layout of the Strategy.

I also was asked to write a blog post for California Sea Grant about my experience and the process of creating the Strategy.

Publication

Lowe, J., E. Stein, E. Beller, J. Collins. [and 16 others, including J.A Gonzalez as Contributing Author; Designer] (2018) Wetlands on the Edge: The Future of Southern California’s Wetlands: Regional Strategy 2018. Prepared by the California State Coastal Conservancy, Oakland, Ca.

Download the Regional Strategy 2018

I created this plot to show wetland change over time, and future projections with and without intervention. The data and analyses were provided by Regional Strategy authors.

I created visualizations for all of the eight archetypes that the WRP designated for southern California; this is an example of an Intermediate Estuary.

Master's Thesis Project

August 2015 - December 2017

Currently a massive restoration effort is underway in San Francisco Bay to re-establish the native cordgrass, Spartina foliosa. I collaborated closely with the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center and the Invasive Spartina Project to explore the distribution of the invasive European green crab, Carcinus maenas and how the crab impacts S. foliosa restoration efforts. Through multiple manipulative field experiments and monitoring I discovered that C. maenas is present at sites where S. foliosa fail to establish and the crab negatively impacts newly planted cordgrass through direct and indirect mechanisms.

Publications

Gonzalez, J. A., G. M. Ruiz, A. L. Chang, C. E. de Rivera, E. D. Grosholz, E. A. Pollard and K. E. Boyer. (2020). Refugia influence the distribution of a non-native crab in an urbanized estuary. Manuscript to be submitted to Marine Ecology Progress Series.

Gonzalez, J. A., Ruiz, G. M., Chang, A. L., and Boyer, K. E, (2020). Non-native Crab Negatively Impacts Restored Native Cordgrass. To be submitted to Restoration Ecology.

Presentations

Gonzalez, J., A., G. M. Ruiz, A. L. Chang, and K. E. Boyer. (2018 December). Distribution of an invasive crab in San Francisco Bay and implications for cordgrass restoration. Contributed Talk presented at Restore America's Estuaries National Summit, Long Beach, CA.

Gonzalez, J., A., G. M. Ruiz, A. L. Chang, and K. E. Boyer. (2017 August). Factors affecting the distribution of an invasive crab and its impacts on cordgrass restoration. Poster Session at the annual meeting of the Ecological Society of America, Portland, OR.

Gonzalez, J., A., G. M. Ruiz, A. L. Chang, and K. E. Boyer. (2017 June). A Potential Trophic Cascade and Impacts on Cordgrass Restoration. Contributed Talk presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Wetland Scientists, San Juan, PR.

Gonzalez, J., A., G. M. Ruiz, A. L. Chang, and K. E. Boyer. (2016 November). Distribution and impacts of a nonnative crab on cordgrass restoration in San Francisco Bay: A predator-mediated interaction? Poster session at the annual meeting of the Western Society of Naturalists, Monterey, CA.

One element of my thesis was a field cage experiment, designed to uncover impacts of a native and invasive crab on the native cordgrass, Spartina foliosa.

Workshop on Homelessness in Ventura County watersheds

November 2018 - March 2019

Environmental and social issues are often intermingled.
A recent symposia series facilitated conversations between social services and water sector representatives about homelessness impacts on the Santa Ana River watershed. These events spurred this similar effort, focused on Ventura County watersheds. Collaborating closely with representatives from multiple agencies in Ventura County (Watersheds Coalition of Ventura County, Public Works, Continuum of Care), I organized and facilitated a workshop to discuss the issue and come up with a plan for Ventura County to address environmental impacts of homelessness, while being concious of and sensitive to the human right to water.

This half-day event was extremely successful; over 60 people from multiple sectors and agencies attended and participated. We had two panels; one composed of Ventura County social services representatives, and one composed of Ventura County water and environmental sector representatives. We also had presenters from Orange County discuss some of the beneficial outcomes and action items that came out of their workshops on this topic. We identified barriers to mitigating some of the more pressing issues, such as a lack of regulation on bacterial and trash loads in the rivers and potential avenues to resolve those barriers. All those involved gained new connections and knowledge of new mechanisms for multi-sector collaboration, including an Esri dashboard application for reporting and addressing homeless encampments.

I organized and designed the workshop agenda.

Marsh Adaptation Planning Tool

July 2018 - March 2019

Collaborating closely with the Conservation Biology Institute, my colleagues with the Coastal Conservany and the Southern California Wetlands Recovery Project (WRP) and I created the Marsh Adaptation Planning Tool (MAPT), an online platform to house the WRP's Regional Strategy 2018 and all of the associated mapping data used in the process of creating the document. MAPT also contains an additional tool that allows restoration practictioners an easy and straightforward way to apply for the WRP Work Plan. Before and after the site launch, I was involved in deciding on content for the site, designing the look and feel of the individual pages, developing and testing the Work Plan application tool, and developing and updating some of the mapping layers available on this platform.

Visit the Marsh Adaptation Planning Tool

Vancouver Island Green Crab Project

June 2017 - August 2017

During my master's I received the Sally Casanova Pre-Doctoral scholarship, which provides summer research funding to support a project in partnership with a potential PhD advisor. Collaborating with my now PhD advisor, Ted Grosholz at UC Davis, I used this funding to study populations of C. maenas and the native red rock crab, Cancer productus in Sooke Inlet and Bamfield Inlet on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. C. productus prey on C. maenas and can limit their populations. My findings suggest that C. maenas inhabit a broad salinity range but C. productus avoid areas of low salinity. I also found that eelgrass is an important source of refuge where these two species co-occur. C. maenas negatively impact eelgrass in other locations and, when released from predation in the low-salinity areas avoided by C. productus, may negatively influence eelgrass. This work ignited my interest in the ways a changing climate will induce novel stressors like variability in salinity and temperature, and in turn how these changes will influence both species interactions and vegetative refuge that prey utilize.

Publication

Gonzalez, J. A., G. M. Ruiz, A. L. Chang, C. E. de Rivera, E. D. Grosholz, E. A. Pollard and K. E. Boyer. (2020). Refugia influence the distribution of a non-native crab in an urbanized estuary. Manuscript to be submitted to Marine Ecology Progress Series.

Sooke Inlet, B.C. - I gathered physical data along with crab surveys and predation assays

Site scouting in Grappler Inlet, Bamfield, B.C.

Seadrift Green Crab Study

July 2014 - December 2015

This was a joint project with researchers from UC Davis, Portland State University, the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, and we worked with the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary on the community outreach portion. We studied a large population of the invasive European green crab, Carcinus maenas in a semi-enclosed lagoon system in Stinson Beach, CA. Studying the population dynamics in this system informed our knowledge of factors that influence the success of an invasive species eradication program. These include using traps that target all size classes of the species, factoring in a target number of the species to remove before the next breeding season, and the importance of native predators in ensuring the population is either eradicated or stays at inconsequential levels. Importantly, this research maintains the idea that the focus of invasive species eradication programs should be on prevention of the establishment of invasive species.

Presentation

Gonzalez, J., A., A. L. Chang, L. McCann, E. Pollard, M. Bradley, M. Marraffini, C. E. de Rivera, G. M. Ruiz and E. D. Grosholz. (2015 November). Demonstrating overcompensation in response to intensive removal of an invasive marine crab. Poster session at the annual conference of the Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation, Portland, OR.

Green Crab Project Website

ANACONDAS Cruise.

August - October 2011

Content coming soon!

ECOGIG Cruises.

Summer 2011 & 2012

Content coming soon!

More information on the ECOGIG project.