Kiva L. Oken, Ph.D.

Quantitative Ecologist and Fishery Scientist

Saltmarsh resilience to oil spills in the Mississippi Delta

My postdoctoral work focuses on the influence of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on Louisiana saltmarshes in the Mississippi Delta region. A number of papers, including one I am currently collaborating on, have shown limited effects of the massive 2010 oil spill on fish at the population level. This is despite a number of physiological studies that have shown that fish were indeed exposed to oil, and when you expose fish to oil, they respond with changes in vital rates that should lead to population changes. Many hypotheses have been presented to explain this apparent paradox. I am using food web modeling to test whether this phenomenon can be explained by top down effects: fishing closures and/or predator mortality. In January, 2018, I ran a workshop at the Rutgers University Marine Field Station in Tuckerton, NJ with a number of experts to begin to parameterize a suite of models to answer this question.

Helping out with saltmarsh fieldwork, May, 2017

Workshop group photo









Jensen O.P., C.W. Martin, K.L. Oken, F.J. Fodrie, P.C. López-Duarte, K.W. Able, and B.J. Roberts. (2019) Simultaneous estimation of dispersal and survival of the Gulf Killifish (Fundulus grandis) from a batch tagging experiment. Marine Ecology Progress Series. 624:183-194 (link)

Ward E.J., K.L. Oken, K.A. Rose, S.E. Sable, K. Watkins, E.E. Holmes, and M.D. Scheuerell. (2018) Applying spatiotemporal models to monitoring data to quantify fish population responses to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment. 190:530. (link)

Presentations and Posters:
American Fisheries Society Annual Meeting, Atlantic City, NJ, 2018

Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill and Ecosystem Science Conference, New Orleans, LA, 2018

ICES Annual Science Conference, Ft. Lauderdale, FL, 2017 (link, winner best early career scientist poster)