Dr. Lewis is a CA SeaGrant Delta Science Research Fellow and the PI of the Biogeochemistry and Fish Ecology Laboratory at the University of California, Davis. His current work utilizes field observations and otolith image analysis and microchemical techniques to better understand habitat use and suitability for common and endangered estuarine fishes in the San Francisco Estuary.

Postdoc Manuscripts:

Hobbs JA, LS Lewis, M Willmes, C Denney, and E Bush. 2019. Complex life history diversity discovered in a critically-endangered fish. Nature Scientific Reports.

Lewis, LS, M Willmes, A Barros, P Crain, J Hobbs. 2019. Newly discovered spawning and recruitment of threatened Longfin Smelt in restored and underexplored tidal wetlands. Ecology.

Willmes, M, LS Lewis, BE Davis, LL Hannah, F. James, C Denny R Baxter J., L Conrad, NA Fangue, T Hung, RA Armstrong, IS Williams, P Holden, JA Hobbs. 2019. Calibrating temperature reconstructions from fish otolith oxygen isotope analysis for California’s critically endangered Delta Smelt. Rapid Commun Mass Spectrom. 2019; 33: 1207– 1220.

Willmes M, Ransom KM, Lewis LS, Denney CT, Glessner JJG, Hobbs JA. 2018. IsoFishR: An application for reproducible data reduction and analysis of strontium isotope ratios (87Sr/86Sr) obtained via laser-ablation MC-ICP-MS. PLoS ONE 13(9): e0204519.

Willmes, M., J. A. Hobbs, A. M. Sturrock, Z. Bess, LS Lewis, J. J. G. Glessner, R. C. Johnson, R. Kurth, and J. Kindopp. 2018. Fishery collapse, recovery, and the cryptic decline of wild salmon on a major California river. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences.


Levi completed his Ph.D. in the Coral Reef Ecology Lab at Scripps Institution of Oceanography.  His dissertation research explored species interactions and ecological processes in coral reef ecosystems and how humans alter them.

Doctoral Manuscripts:

Lewis, LS and JE Smith. 2019. Functional diversity among herbivorous sea urchins on a coral reef: grazing rate, dietary preference, and metabolism. Marine Ecology Progress Series. MEPS 625:71-87.

Carter, AL, CB Edwards, Y Eynaud, MD Fox, MD Johnson, LS. Lewis, CG Amir, SA Sandin, and JE Smith. 2019. Variability in the spatial and temporal dynamics of an invasive corallimorph, Rhodactis howesii, at Palmyra Atoll. Coral Reefs.

Lewis LS, Smith JE, Eynaud Y. 2018. Comparative metabolic ecology of tropical herbivorous echinoids on a coral reef. PLoS ONE 13(1): e0190470.

Nakajima R., H Yamazaki, LS Lewis, A Khen, JE Smith, N Nakatomi, H Kurihara. 2017. Planktonic trophic structure in a coral reef ecosystem – Grazing versus microbial food webs and the production of mesozooplankton. Progress in Oceanography156:104–120.

Smith, JE, PS Vroom, D Obura, A Carter, JL Harris, LS Lewis, S Dugas, C Edwards, E Sala, S Sandin, R Brainard. 2016. Re-evaluating the health of coral reef communities: baselines and evidence for human impacts across the central Pacific. Proc. R. Soc. B. 283: 20151985.

Harris, JL, LS Lewis, JE Smith. 2015. Quantifying scales of spatial variability in algal turf communities on coral reefs. Marine Ecology Progress Series. 532 : 41-57.

Levi data
Dr. Lewis collecting data on a coral reef in Maui, HI

After completing his M.S., Levi accepted a summer position at the Interdisciplinary Center for Mass Spectrometry at UC Davis. There he processed otoliths (ear bones) of threatened & endangered fishes from the Sacramento River Delta, using image analysis and laser ablation microchemistry to reconstruct their age, growth, and origins.

Post-MS Manuscript:

Hobbs, JA, Lewis, LS, Ikemiyagi, N, Sommer, T and Baxter, R. 2010. The use of otolith strontium isotopes to identify critical nursery habitat for a threatened estuarine fish. Environmental Biology of Fishes. 89:557–569.

Long-jawed mudsucker sagitae normal and fluorecent from 19mm SL fish
Otolith showing fluorescent internal tag (left) & daily rings (right)

Levi attained his M.S. in Biology in the Fish Ecology Lab at San Diego State University under the guidance of Dr. Todd Anderson.  Levi’s master’s thesis examined the community-wide effects of small predators in seagrass ecosystems and trophic diversity among amphipod mesograzers.

MS Manuscripts:

Lewis, LS and Anderson, TW. 2012. Top-down control of epifauna by fishes enhances seagrass production. Ecology 93(12): 2746-2757.

Farlin, JA, Lewis, LS, Anderson, TW, and Lai, C. 2010. Functional diversity in amphipods revealed by stable isotopes in an eelgrass ecosystem. Marine Ecology Progress Series. 420: 277–281.

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Dr. Lewis conducting experiments in seagrass beds in San Diego.

After attaining his B.S., Levi accepted a research position at the UCD Bodega Marine Lab where he studied the condition of fish populations in salt marshes bordering San Francisco and Tomales Bays.

Post-BS Manuscript:

McGourty, CR, JA Hobbs, WA Bennett, PG Green, H Hwang, N Ikemiyagi, LS Lewis, and JMCope. 2009. Likely population-level effects of contaminants on a resident estuarine fish species: Comparing Gillichthys mirabilis population static measurements and vital rates in San Francisco and Tomales Bays. Estuaries and Coasts. 32(6): 1111-1120.

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Dr. Lewis conducting experiments in marshes of San Francisco Bay.

As an undergraduate student at UC Davis, Levi received a fellowship to conduct his own research project on fishes in the seagrass beds of Bodega Bay, CA. He also worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Sacramento, CA, evaluating salmon spawning habitat in rivers and drafting flow recommendations for hydropower projects.

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Dr. Lewis & Dr. Hobbs sampling fish communities at the Bodega Marine Laboratory.

Levi grew up in San Diego playing in, on and around the ocean.  His delight in fishing and reverence for conservation led him to a career in ecology and conservation.

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Dr. Lewis en route toward his Ph.D.

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