Professional Education

  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of California Davis (2013)
  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of California, Davis, Ecology (2013)
  • Master of Arts, Stony Brook University, Ecology (2005)
  • Bachelor of Science, Stanford University, CS-BS (1999)

Stanford Advisors

Current Research and Scholarly Interests

My primary research interest is theoretical fisheries ecology, with a focus on population dynamics, spatial dynamics, and response to disease and catastrophic events. My current work involves the incorporation of the effects of ocean acidification and low-oxygen events into an abalone growth and reproduction model. Past projects include modeling indirect positive effects from fishing-induced competitive release and the effects of size-specific obligate predation on post-harvest recovery time.

Lab Affiliations

All Publications

  • Quantifying 60 years of declining European eel (Anguilla anguilla L., 1758) fishery yields in Mediterranean coastal lagoons ICES JOURNAL OF MARINE SCIENCE Aalto, E., Capoccioni, F., Mas, J. T., Schiavina, M., Leone, C., De Leo, G., Ciccotti, E. 2016; 73 (1): 101-110
  • Separating recruitment and mortality time lags for a delay-difference production model CANADIAN JOURNAL OF FISHERIES AND AQUATIC SCIENCES Aalto, E. A., Dick, E. J., MacCall, A. D. 2015; 72 (2): 161-165
  • Quantifying the balance between bycatch and predator or competitor release for nontarget species ECOLOGICAL APPLICATIONS Aalto, E. A., Baskett, M. L. 2013; 23 (5): 972-983


    If a species is bycatch in a fishery targeted at its competitor or predator, it experiences both direct anthropogenic mortality and indirect positive effects through species interactions. If the species involved interact strongly, the release from competition or predation can counteract or exceed the negative effects of bycatch. We used a set of two- and three-species community modules to analyze the relative importance of species interactions when modeling the overall effect of harvest with bycatch on a nontarget species. To measure the trade-off between direct mortality and indirect positive effects, we developed a "bycatch transition point" metric to determine, for different scenarios, what levels of bycatch shift overall harvest impact from positive to negative. Under strong direct competition with a targeted competitor, release from competition due to harvest leads to a net increase in abundance even under moderate levels of bycatch. For a three-species model with a shared obligate predator, the release from apparent competition exceeds direct competitive release and outweighs the decrease from bycatch mortality under a wide range of parameters. Therefore, in communities where a shared predator forms a strong link between the target and nontarget species, the effects of indirect interactions on populations can be larger than those of direct interactions. The bycatch transition point metric can be used for tightly linked species to evaluate the relative strengths of positive indirect effects and negative anthropogenic impacts such as bycatch, habitat degradation, and introduction of invasive species.

    View details for DOI 10.1890/12-1316.1

    View details for Web of Science ID 000321489100002

    View details for PubMedID 23967569