Kim Tenggardjaja's Research Web Site

Diving at Pearl and Hermes Atoll in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (Aug 2009).


In May 2014, I finished my PhD in the Bernardi lab at the University of California, Santa Cruz (Ecology & Evolutionary Biology Department). My graduate studies were supported by a Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship from the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, a GAANN Fellowship from the Department of Education, and a graduate traineeship from the Initiative to Maximize Student Diversity.

My research interests focus on larval dispersal and connectivity in marine environments. I am especially interested in studying coral reef organisms because, while coral reefs are among the most biologically diverse ecosystems on the planet, more than half of them are significantly threatened by human activity.

Marine conservation was my main motivation for going to graduate school, and I assumed that scientific research always informs policy. Over the course of my graduate career, I became more aware of the complexity of incorporating research into policy. In order to understand this process better, in Aug 2013, I participated in the Ocean Policy Course offered by the Center for Ocean Solutions, where I learned about current issues in ocean policy, some of the major ocean governance laws, and how to balance the interests of different stakeholders. Making headway in marine conservation requires that scientists become more informed about the policy process.

Ocean Policy class of 2013 (Aug 2013).
View Kimberly Tenggardjaja's profile on LinkedIn

Commitment to increasing the representation of women and minorities in science

During my graduate studies, I worked toward cultivating the participation of women and underrepresented minorities in the sciences. I hope to become a role model who inspires other women and minorities to pursue graduate degrees in the sciences. For five years, I was an officer in the 
UCSC Women in Science and Engineering Group, which is dedicated to supporting the advancement and retention of women in science, math, engineering, and technology fields. During my final year of graduate school, I served as the group's president. Additionally, I mentored undergraduates through the Initiative to Maximize Student Diversity, a program that provides underrepresented students with a paid opportunity to gain experience in biological research. In order to be more effective in these roles, I realized the need to supplement my graduate training with professional development. I was part of the pilot year of the Graduate Student Leadership Certificate Program here at UCSC in 2012, where I was introduced to leadership theory and developed skills relevant for academic and professional contexts. In Jan 2013, I participated in the Ocean Leadership Practicum organized by the Center for Ocean Solutions, which was an interactive workshop designed to teach skills identified as being critical to success in marine conservation.

Ocean Leadership Practicum class of 2013 (Jan 2013).

Recent news

My first dissertation chapter on genetic connectivity in Hawaiian endemic damselfishes was published in the Journal of Marine Biology on Mar 8, 2016.

My third dissertation chapter on connectivity patterns between shallow and mesophotic populations of Chromis verater across the Hawaiian Archipelago and Johnston Atoll was published in PLOS ONE on Dec 17, 2014.

In Jan 2015, I'll be starting a California Sea Grant State Fellowship with the State Water Resources Control Board in Sacramento, CA.

In Aug 2014, I attended the International Marine Conservation Congress in Glasgow, Scotland to give a speed talk titled "Why should mesophotic reefs (30-150 m) be protected? Genetic connectivity insight into a Hawaiian damselfish found on shallow and mesophotic reefs."  

In Feb 2014, I attended the 2014 Ocean Sciences Meeting in Honolulu, HI.  I gave a talk on my third dissertation chapter, which compares connectivity patterns between shallow and mesophotic populations of Chromis verater across the Hawaiian Archipelago and Johnston Atoll.

In Jul 2013, I attended the International Congress of Conservation Biology 2013 in Baltimore, MD, where I gave a speed talk & poster. You can find a PDF of my poster at the bottom of the Dissertation research page.
Posing with my speed talk presentation & poster (July 2013).