Lisa A. Levin 

Director CMBC
Office: 2236 Sverdrup Hall
Phone: 858-534-3579
Lab website:

Lisa Levin is Director of CMBC and Distinguished Professor at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California.  Before moving to Scripps in 1992 she was Assoc. Professor in the Dept. of Marine Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at North Carolina State University in Raleigh. Dr. Levin is a marine ecologist who studies benthic ecosystems in the deep sea and shallow water. Together with her students Dr. Levin has worked with a broad range of taxa, from microbes and microalgae to invertebrates and fishes. Her recent research has emphasized 3 major themes:  (1) the structure, function and vulnerability of continental margin ecosystems, particularly those subject to oxygen and sulfide stress; (2) wetland biotic interactions as they mediate marsh function, invasion and restoration; and  (3) larval ecology of coastal marine populations with emphasis on connectivity and response to ocean acidification and deoxygenation. The deep ocean covers over half of the planet but most of it is less well known than the surface of the moon. Dr. Levin’s research has been conducted over the past 3 decades on the margins of the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic Oceans using ships, submersibles and remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) to sample and conduct experiments. She has participated in over 30 oceanographic expeditions around the world and served as Chief Scientist on 12 of these. She is the author or co-author of more than 160 scientific publications. Dr. Levin has served as North American editor of the journal Marine Ecology, as founding editorial board member of the Annual Reviews of Marine Science, as past contributing editor for Limnology and Oceanography and Marine Ecology Progress Series, and has edited 5 special volumes on aspects of deep-sea biodiversity.

Dr. Levin is a ‘Fellow of the Association’ of AAAS in Biological Sciences and recently served as Pogo Visiting Professor in Namibia and South Africa and as the Anton Bruun Memorial Lecturer at the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission.  She has participated as steering committee member of the Census of Marine Life programs on chemosynthetic ecosystems (ChESS) and continental margins (CoMARGE), and the US Ocean Carbon Biochemistry Program, and in working groups  for the US National Academy of Sciences, SCOR, SCOPE, NCEAS, and INDEEP. For many years she served on the San Diego Wetlands Advisory Board, the San Diego Bay Technical Advisory panel, and as faculty manager of the UCSD Kendall Frost Marsh Reserve.   Within UCSD she has won the Chancellor’s Associates Faculty award for Excellence in Research, and has served at various times as representative to the UC Marine Council, Assoc. Dept. Chair, Chair of the Committee on Academic Personnel, and head of the Biological Oceanography Curricular Group.

Lisa teaching in Namibia

Link to Video:  IOC International Women's Day Promoting Women in Marine Science

Representative Publications

C.L. Van Dover et al. Designating networks of chemosynthetic ecosystem reserves in the deep sea.  Marine Policy 36 (2012) 378-381

Levin, L.A. and M. Sibuet. In press. Understanding continental margin biodiversity: A newi. Annu. Rev. Mar. Sciences. (in press) 

Ramirez-Llodra, E., Tyler, P.A., et al. Man and the last great wilderness: Human impact on the deep sea. PLOS One. (in press) 

Levin, L.A.  and Crooks, J.  Functional consequences of species invasion.  Treatise on Estuaries and Coasts. Vol 7 chapter 4. In Press

Carson, H.S., Lopez-Duarte,, M.P., Wang, D. and Levin, L.A. Time series reveals how reproductive timing alters coastal connectivity. Current Biology 20: 1926-1931. (2010)

Levin, L.A. and Dayton, P.K. Ecological theory and continental margins: where shallow meets deep. Trends in Ecology and Evolution  24: 606-617 (2009).

Levin, L.A. W. Ekau, A. Gooday, F. Jorrisen, J. Middelburg, C. Neira, N. Rabalais, S.W.A. Naqvi, J. Zhang. Effects of natural and human-induced hypoxia on coastal benthos. Biogeosciences 6, 2063-2098 (2009)

Middelburg, J. and Levin, L.A. Coastal hypoxia and sediment biogeochemistry. Biogeosciences 6, 1273-1293. (2009)

Becker, B.J., Levin, L.A., Fodrie, F.J. and McMillan, P.A. Complex larval retention patterns in marine invertebrates. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci.  104: 3267-3272 (2007)

Levin, L.A. 2006. Recent progress in understanding larval dispersal: New directions and digressions. Integrative and Comparative Biology 46: 282-297.

Levin, L.A., Neira, C., Grosholz, E.D.  Invasive cordgrass modifies wetland trophic function. Ecology 87: 419-432. (2006).

Levin, L. A. Ecology of cold seep sediments:  Interactions of fauna with flow, chemistry, and microbes. Oceanography and Marine Biology, an Annual Review. 43: 1-46. (2005)

Helly, J. and L.A. Levin. Global distribution of naturally occurring marine hypoxia on continental margins. Deep Sea Research. 51: 1159-1168.(2004)

Levin, L.A.  Oxygen minimum zone benthos: Adaptation and community response to hypoxia.  Oceanography and Marine Biology: An Annual Review  41: 1-45. (2003)

Levin, L.A. R.J. Etter, M.A. Rex, A.J. Gooday, C.R. Smith, J. Pineda, C.T. Stuart, R.R. Hessler,  and D. Pawson.  Environmental influences on regional deep-sea species diversity. Ann. Rev. Ecol. Syst. 132: 51-93 (2001)

Editorials and Opinion

Diaz, R., Rosenberg, R., Rabalais, N. Levin, L. Dead zone dilemma. Marine Pollution Bulletin. Doi:10.1016.j.marpolbul.2009.09.o30 (2009)

Levin, L.A. 2010.  Anaerobic Metazoans: No Longer an Oxymoron.  BMC Biology. BMC Biology 2010, 8:31doi:10.1186/1741-7007-8-31

Van Dover CL, Smith CR, Ardron J, Dunn D, Gjerde K, Levin L and the Dinard Workshop Contributors*  Uncharted Waters: Placing Deep-Sea Chemosynthetic Ecosystems In Reserve. J. Marine Policy. (in press)

For a complete list of publications see website:

The Fate of the Last Great Wilderness - Blog by Julia Whitty (2 Aug 2011)

Sabbaticals in Namibia
- by Lisa Levin and David Checkley Jr. ; Science (26 Aug 2011)