Kirk Sato
(Graduate Student)
Email: knsato (at) ucsd.edu
Phone: (858) 534-3579
Fax: (858) 822-0562
Address: 9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, California 92093-0218
Click here to download CV.
Research Interests:

My current research focuses on benthic ecology of the Southern California Bight continental shelf and slope. Broadly, I am interested in benthic community and species-specific responses to multiple climate change stressors. Specifically, I am investigating the phenotypic changes in deep echinoid sea urchins along their current depth distributions. This understanding of natural variation throughout a species depth range may provide insight into how species will respond to expanding hypoxia and hypercapnia. Characteristics of immediate interest include biomineral compositions of calcified hardparts, morphology and biomechanical properties.

The valuable experiences I have gained at Scripps in the fields of climate change biology and marine policy have led to my involvement with the UC Revelle Program on Climate Science and Policy and the student-led group, Ocean Scientists for Informed Policy. These opportunities have allowed me to witness the multilateral climate policy process at COP21 in Paris, France, where I helped another group, ParisAgreement.org, track progress at the negotiations. We are currently preparing for COP22 Marrakech with our partners at the Ocean and Climate Platform where we will continue to highlight the important connections among ocean ecosystems, climate and society.

COP21 Poster
Before attending Scripps, I served as a research technician for 2 years at the UC Davis Bodega Marine Laboratory studying climate change and local adaptation in rocky intertidal species. I also researched the effects of ocean acidification on coastal and estuarine species, particularly mussels and oysters with the Bodega Ocean Acidification Research (BOAR) team.

Searching for native Olympia oysters and invasive whelks in Tomales Bay, CA

In July 2012, I had the privilege of collecting samples and analyzing video footage from submarine dives in the Bering Sea. I served as the only scientific support aboard a cruise to Pribilof Canyon in collaboration with Greenpeace and the Scripps Collections museum. Click here to read my blogs from this experience.

I have participated in ROV and HOV surveys in the deep sea and have been a member of many student-led research cruises, including the San Diego Coastal Expedition, studying continental shelf ecosystems in coastal San Diego.

Aft deck of the Greenpeace vessel Esperanza, exploring Pribilof Canyon, Bering Sea (July 2012)


B.S. in Evolution, Ecology and Biodiversity, 2008. University of California, Davis.

M.S. in Marine Biology, 2014. Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego.

Peer Reviewed Publications:

Google Scholar
Research Gate

KN Sato, LA Levin, and K Schiff. 2017. Habitat compression and expansion of sea urchins in response to changing climate conditions on the California continental shelf and slope (1994-2013). Deep Sea Research II. 137: 377-389. Available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.dsr2.2016.08.012.

Levin, LA, K Mengerink, KM Gjerde, AA Rowden, CL Van Dover, MR Clark, E Ramirez-Llodra, B Currie, CR Smith, KN Sato, and N Gallo. 2016. Defining "serious harm" to the marine environment in the context of deep-seabed mining. Marine Policy. 74: 245-259. Available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.marpol.2016.09.032.

Frank, MB, SE Naleway, J-Y Jung, TS Wirth, CL Cheung, FB Loera, S Medina, KN Sato, JRA Taylor, and J McKittrick. 2016. A Protocol for Bioinspired Design: A Ground Sampler Based on Sea Urchin Jaws. Journal of Visualized Experiments. 110: e53554. Available at http://dx.doi.org/10.3791/53554.

Hettinger, A, E Sanford, TM Hill, AD Russell, KN Sato, J Huey, M Forsch, H Page and B Gaylord. 2012. Persistent carry-over effects of planktonic exposure to ocean acidification in the Olympia oyster. Ecology. 93: 2758-2768. Available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1890/12-0567.1.

Bagulayan, A, JN Bartlett, AC Carter, B Inman, E Keen, EC Orenstein, N Patin, KN Sato, A Simonis, EC Sibert, A Van Cise, and P Franks. 2012. Journey to the Center of the Gyre: A Lagrangian perspective on the fate of the Tohoku tsunami debris field. Oceanography 25: 200-207. http://dx.doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2012.55.

Gaylord, B, TM Hill, E Sanford, EA Lenz, LA Jacobs, KN Sato, AD Russell, A Hettinger. 2011. Functional impacts of ocean acidification in an ecologically critical foundation species. Journal of Experimental Biology 214: 2586-2594. http://dx.doi.org/10.1242/jeb.055939.

Gray Literature:

Le, JT, and KN Sato. 2016. Ecosystem services of the deep ocean. In: Ocean and Climate - Scientific Notes. 2nd Edition. pp. 49-54. Available at http://www.ocean-climate.org. Link to PDF.

Levin, LA, N Le Bris, E Cordes, Y Eddebbar, RM Jeffreys, KN Sato, C-L Wei, and the climate change work group of DOSI Deep-Ocean Stewardship Initiative. 2016. A case for the deep ocean. In: Ocean and Climate - Scientific Notes. 2nd Edition. pp. 45-48. Available at http://www.ocean-climate.org. Link to PDF.

Photos: Coming soon...

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Updated July 7, 2016
Edited by Kirk Sato