Laura Jurgens

Assistant Professor
Department of Marine Biology

I'm fascinated by the resilience of marine species and ecosystems. How do they do it? What can we learn from them so that we can better manage the shared resources that people and nature depend on?

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Learn more about Laura Jurgens

Get To Know Laura Jurgens

What in your life drew you to your current field of study?

The diversity of life in the ocean is endlessly fascinating to me. The ocean is where life began on this blue planet and it still holds the most amazing variety of animals. I have also always been excited about asking questions about the world around us, and other life forms in particular. So it's inspiring to get to spend my time discovering how marine species, humans, and our physical world interact. I enjoy working to solve problems in coastal marine conservation and sustainability, and mentoring students. Truly, I think extinction is an enormous tragedy. That we are losing species every day to human activities, some before we've even really studied them, is devastating. My research aims to improve people's ability to conserve biodiversity.

What do you hope your students gain from studying or working with you?

I want my students to see science as a human endeavor that involves a lot of trial and error -- and learn to be okay with that. I encourage my students to be creative and open-minded, and to see how people are connected to and affected by everything we do. We're not an ivory-tower bunch. We design our studies to fill key knowledge gaps that can help improve how people approach marine conservation.

What are you passionate about in your personal life?

I can usually be found, when not at work, swimming, biking, scuba diving, gardening, cooking, hiking or backpacking, traveling, reading, petting my cats, or learning new things like languages or crafts.

Ph.D. Ecology, Marine Ecology, University Of California Davis, 2015
B.S. Ecology and Evolutionary BiologyUniversity of California Santa Cruz, 2009
B.S. Transfer PreparationPeralta Community Colleges, 2007

Courses Taught

MARB 435: Invertebrate Zoology


Jurgens, L.J., Ashlock, L., and Gaylord, B. Facilitation alters climate change risk on rocky shores. Ecology. DOI: 10.1002/ecy.3596

Freestone, A.L., Torchin, M.E., Jurgens, L.J., Bonfim, M., Lopez,D., Repetto, M.F., Schloder, C., Sewall, B., Ruiz, G.M. 2021. Stronger predation intensity and impact on prey communities in the tropics. Ecology 102( 8):e03428.DOI: 10.1002/ecy.3428

Ninokawa, A., Takeshita, Y., Jellison, B., Jurgens, L.J. and B. Gaylord. 2020. Biological modification of seawater chemistry by an ecosystem engineer, the California mussel, Mytilus californianus. Limnology & Oceanography 65: 157-172 DOI: 10.1002/lno.11258

Gaylord, B., Barclay, K.M., Jellison, B.M., Jurgens, L.J., Ninokawa, A.T., Rivest, E.B., and L.R. Leighton. 2019. Ocean change within shoreline communities: From biomechanics to behavior and beyond. Conservation Physiology 7(1) DOI: 10.1093/conphys/coz077

Jurgens, L.J., Bonfim, M, Lopez, D, Repetto, MF, Freitag, G, McCann, L, Larson, K, Ruiz, G.M., and A.L. Freestone. 2018. Poleward range expansion of a non-indigenous bryozoan and new occurrences of exotic ascidians in southeast Alaska. BioInvasions Records7(4): 357-366. DOI: 10.3391/bir.2018.7.4.02.

Jurgens, L.J. and B. Gaylord. 2018. Physical effects of habitat-forming species override latitudinal trends in temperature. Ecology Letters 21(2): 190-196. DOI: 10.1111/ele.12881

Ebert, T… Jurgens, L.J., et al. [more than 20 authors]. 2018. Size, growth, and density data for shallow water sea urchins of the North American Pacific coast from Mexico to Alaska including the Aleutian Island chain, 1956 – 2016. Ecology. Data paper. DOI: 10.1002/ecy.2123

Jurgens, L. J., Freestone, A.L, Torchin, M.E. and G. Ruiz. 2017. Prior predation shapes community resistance to an extreme climate event. Ecosphere. DOI: 10.1002/ecs2.1986

Jurgens, L.J. and B. Gaylord. 2016. Edge effects reverse facilitation in a widespread foundation species. Scientific Reports. DOI:10.1038/srep37573

Raimondi, P.T., Jurgens, L.J. and M.T. Tinker. 2015. Evaluating potential conservation conflicts between two listed species: sea otters and black abalone. Ecology 96(11): 3102–3108.

Jurgens, L.J., Rogers-Bennett, L.R.B., Raimondi, P.T., Schiebelhut, L., Dawson, M., Grosberg, R. and B. Gaylord, B. 2015. Patterns of mass mortality among rocky shore invertebrates across 100 km of northeastern Pacific coastline. PLoS ONE. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0126280

Gaylord, B., Nickols, K. and Jurgens, L.J. 2012. Roles of transport and mixing processes in kelp forest ecology. Journal of Experimental Biology 215:997-1007.

Professional Appointments

Postdoctoral Fellow, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, and Temple University Department of Biology. 2015–2018

Graduate Student Researcher, Bodega Ocean Acidification Research (BOAR); Bodega Bay, CA; 2010-2013

Research Assistant, Partnership for Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans (PISCO); Santa Cruz, CA; 2006­–2008

Current Graduate Students

Incoming August 2019:

Anika Agrawal
Emily Hubbard

Contact Info

Laura Jurgens
Assistant Professor
Department of Marine Biology
Phone: +1 (409) 740-4918
Fax: +1 (409) 740-5001

Ocean & Coastal Studies Bldg., Office 251

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