Clarissa R. Anderson
Executive Director
Southern California Coastal Ocean Observing Syste
Scripps Institution of Oceanography
8880 Biological Grade - 157 MESOM
La Jolla, CA 92093-0206
clrander AT ucsd DOT edu
(858) 246-2226

Research Questions

What factors control algal bloom development and distribution in the coastal ocean?  What conditions are required for certain microalgal species to bloom and produce harmful toxins that affect marine and coastal food webs? How are these important biological phenomena tied to long-term natural or anthropogenic variability and climate? Can we predict them on short and long time scales to both protect ecosystem health and understand the future of coastal ocean ecology in a changing world? How can we apply and incorporate marine ecosystem science into the broader fields of global change and cultural adaptability?   


Ph.D. Marine Science, UC Santa Barbara
          Dissertation: Environmental Controls of Phytoplankton Community Structure in the Santa Barbara Channel: Application to the Dynamics and
                                      Detection of Toxigenic Pseudo-nitzschia Blooms

B.A.  Integrative Biology & Art History, UC Berkeley 1999

            Honor's Thesis: Aggregation in the Semi-Social Long-Jawed Orb Weaver (Tetragnatha
) as a Function of River-Subsidized Prey Density

Tropical Biology Study Abroad Program - Monteverde , Costa Rica  1997
French Language Intensive - Sorbonne University, Paris  Summer 1995
Art History Intensive - E.U. Summer 1994

Positions & Awards

Elected Member - National Harmful Algal Bloom Committee (NHC)
Elected Steering Committee Member - Harmful Algal Bloom Monitoring and Alert Program (HABMAP)
President Elect - Eastern Pacific Ocean Conference (EPOC)
Member - NOAA Unified Modeling Framework, Marine Modeling Working Group
Executive Director - SCCOOS, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
California Sea Grant "New Investigator" Award - UC Santa Cruz
Professional Researcher/Research Faculty/Lecturer - UC Santa Cruz
Postdoctoral Researcher - UC Santa Cruz  Kudela Lab
Postdoctoral Researcher -  University of South Carolina Benitez-Nelson Lab
Visiting Scientist - University of Maryland College Park  Murtugudde Lab
National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellowship - NOAA/NESDIS, Chris Brown
NASA Earth System Science Graduate Research Fellowship
 Siegel & Brzezinski Labs
Gompertz Undergraduate Research Fellowship Power Lab


Anderson, C.R., R.M. Kudela, M. Kahru, Y. Chao, F.L. Bahr, L. Rosenfeld, D.M. Anderson, and T. Norris (2016) Initial skill assessment of the California Harmful Algae Risk Mapping (C-HARM) system, Harmful Algae, 59: 1-18.

Anderson, C.R., K.G. Sellner, and D.M. Anderson (2016) Bloom Prevention and Control. Invited chapter for UNESCO Manual: Desalination and Harmful Algal Blooms, Eds: D. Anderson, S. Boerlage, and M. Dixon, in press.

Karslon, B., C.R. Anderson, K.J. Coyne, R.M. Kudela, K.G. Sellner, and D.M. Anderson (2016) Designing an observing system for early detection of harmful algal blooms. UNESCO Manual: Desalination and Harmful Algal Blooms, Eds: D. Anderson, S. Boerlage, and M. Dixon, in press.

Kahru, M., R.M. Kudela, C.R. Anderson, and B.G.Mitchell (2015) Optimized merger of ocean chlorophyll algorithms ofMODIS-Aqua and VIIRS. IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Letters, 12.11(2015): 2282-2285.

Anderson, C.R., S. Moore, M. Tomlinson, J. Silke, and C. Cusak (2015) Living with harmful algal blooms in a changing world: Strategies for modeling and mitigating their effects in coastal marine ecosystems. Invited chapter for Coastal and Marine Hazards, Risks, and Disasters volume, Eds:J. Ellis and D. Sherman, Elsevier B.V.,

Bograd, S., M.M. P. Buil, E. Di Lorenzo, C. Castro, I.D.Schroeder, R. Goericke, C.R. Anderson, C. Benitez-Nelson, and F. Whitney (2015) Changes in source waters to the Southern California Bight, Deep-SeaResearch II, Special Issue onCCE-LTER, 112:42-52.

Kahru, M., R.M. Kudela. C.R. Anderson, M. Manzano-Sarabia, B. G. Mitchell (2014) Evaluation of satellite retrievals of ocean chlorophyll-a in the California Current. Remote Sensing, 6: 8524-8540, doi: 10.3390/rs6098524

Kudela, R.M., S.A. Frolov, C.R. Anderson, and J.G.Bellingham (2013) Leveraging ocean observations to monitor and forecast harmful algal blooms: a case study of the U.S. West Coast, U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System Summit Report

Sekula-Wood, E.S.,C.R. Benitez-Nelson, S.L. Morton, C.R. Anderson, C.W. Burrell, and R. Thunell (2011) Pseudo-nitzschia and domoic acid fluxes in Santa Barbara Basin (CA) from 1993 to 2008. Harmful Algae, doi:10.1016/j.hal.2011.04.009

Anderson, C.R.,R.M. Kudela, C.R. Benitez-Nelson, E.S. Sekula-Wood, C. Burrell, Y. Chao, G. Langlois, J. Goodman, D.A.Siegel (2011) Detecting toxic diatom blooms from ocean color and a regional model. Geophysical Research Letters, 38,L04603, doi:10.1029/2010GL045858. 

Anderson, C.R., M.R.P. Sapiano, M.B.K.,Prasad, W. Long,P.J. Tango, C.W. Brown, R. Murtugudde, (2010) Predicting toxigenic Pseudo-nitzschia blooms in the Chesapeake Bay.  Journal of Marine Systems, GEOHAB Modeling Special Issue, doi10106/j.jmarsys.2010.04.003.

Prasad, M.B.K., M.R.P. Sapiano, W. Long, C.R. Anderson, R. Murtugudde (2010) Long-term variability of nutrients in the Chesapeake Bay: A retrospective analysis, 1990-2006. Estuaries and Coasts, 33: 1128-1143, doi: 10.1007/s12237-010-9325-y

Sekula-Wood, E.S., A. Schnetzer, C.R. Benitez-Nelson, C.R.Anderson, W. Berelson, J.Burns, D. Caron, J. Ferry, S.L. Morton, R.Thunell (2009) The toxin express:Rapid downward transport of the neurotoxin domoic acid in coastal waters. Nature Geoscience 2(4): 272-275, doi: 10.1038/NGEO472

Anderson, C.R., D.A. Siegel, R.M. Kudela, M.A.Brzezinski (2009) Empirical habitat models of toxigenic Pseudo-nitzschia spp.: Potential use as a remote detection tool in the Santa Barbara Channel. Harmful Algae, 8: 478-492, doi: 10.1016/j.hal.2008.10.005

Anderson, C.R., D.A. Siegel, N. Guillocheau, M.A. Brzezinski (2008) Controls on temporal patterns in phytoplankton community structure in the Santa Barbara Channel, California, Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans, 113: C04038,doi:10.1029/2007JC004321.

Anderson, C.R., M.A. Brzezinski, L. Washburn, R.Kudela (2006) Circulation and environmental conditions during a toxigenic Pseudo-nitzschia australis bloom in the Santa Barbara Channel,California.  Marine Ecology Progress Series, 327: 119-133.

Power, M.E., W.E. Rainey, M.S. Parker, J.L. Sabo, A. Smyth, S. Khandwala, J.C. Finlay, F.C. McNeely, K. Marsee, and Anderson, C. (2004)  River-to-watershed subsidies in an old growth conifer forest.  In Food Webs at the Landscape Level. Eds: Gary A. Polis, Mary E. Power, and Gary R. Huxel., University of Chicago Press.


Umhau, B., C.R. Benitez-Nelson, C.R. Anderson. Surface to depth transfer efficiency of Pseudo-nitzschia and domoic acid in the Santa Barbara Basin. submitted to Limnology and Oceanography, September 2016

Anderson, C.R., R.M. Kudela, F. Bahr, Y. Chao, E. Bjorkstedt, K. Negrey, G. J. Smith, and J. Ryan. Assessing California’s Harmful Algal Bloom forecasting system during the historic toxic bloom of 2015. For submission to Special Issue in Remote Sensing

Anderson, C.R., C.A. Edwards, C.A., R.M. Kudela, and N. Goebel. Testing the effects of terrestrial macronutrient delivery on algal toxin production in coastal California with a coupled physical-biological model. For submission to Ecological Modeling.

Anderson, C.R
., R.M. Kudela, I. Shulman. Application of a coupled physical-biological model to predicting harmful algal blooms in coastal California. For submission to Harmful Algae

Siegel, D.A., N. Guillocheau, L. Washburn, J.A. Warrick, D.A. Toole, T.S. Kostadinov, M.A. Brzezinski, C.R. Anderson. A time-series assessment of sediment plumes and phytoplankton blooms in the Santa Barbara Channel, CA. For submission to Journal of Geophysical Research

Bograd, S., C. Castro, C. Anderson, and C. Benitez-Nelson.  The anoxic potential of the Santa Barbara Basin. For submission to Geophysical Research Letters

Constantin de Magny, G., R. Murtugudde, R., C.R. Anderson, A. Sapkota, J.D. Parker, and A. Srinivasan, Regional Earth System Prediction: A way forward for predictive, preemptive, and personalized health information, For submission to Journal of Health Geographics


Invited Talks

21st Annual Perspectives on Science Lecture/Dinner Series at Point Loma Nazarene University



Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography

The Marine Institute, Galway, Ireland

CICESE, Ensenada, Mexico

International Ocean Color Conference, San Francisco, CA

Humboldt State University, Humboldt, CA

The Marine Mammal Center, Sausalito, CA

Central and Northern California Ocean Observing System, Moss Landing, CA

Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, Elkhorn Slough, CA

Moss Landing Marine Laboratory, SJSU, Moss Landing, CA

NOAA Pacific Environmental Fisheries Laboratory, Pacific Grove, CA

Bodega Marine Laboratory, UC Davis, Bodega, CA            

University of Hawaii SOEST, Manoa, HI

Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, CA (2011, 2015)

West Coast Regional Harmful Algal Bloom Summit, Portland, OR

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA

University of South Carolina, Charleston & Columbia, SC

University of Maryland, Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center

University of Maryland, Horn Point Laboratory, Cambridge, MD

In the News


New York Times


Wild Wild West Coast

Watch AMERICA TONIGHT broadcast about domoic acid in California

The Press Democrat

LA Times article on 2015 historic domoic acid event

San Francisco Magazine

BBC Interview

NPR KQED Interview

Daily Nexus

NPR KALW Interview

KZSC interview


NASA Remote Sensing of Water Quality, NASA Ecological Forecasting, NASA Rapid Response and Novel Research in Earth Science, NSF Chemical Oceanography, CA Sea Grant, Packard Foundation, UC MEXUS-CONACYT, U.S. IOOS, NOAA ECOHAB