Directory Page Title

David M. Kaplan

Assistant Professor

Email: [[dmk]]
Phone: +1-804-684-7005
Lab phone number: +1-804-684-7467
Interests: Marine spatial management; Population dynamics; Larval dispersal and connectivity; Marine conservation; Tuna fisheries; Coastal oceanography
Office: Andrews Hall 443
Department: Fisheries Science

Curriculum Vitae



Zotero Group

Google Scholar

  • B.S., Mathematics/Physics, Brown University, (Magna Cum Laude) 
  • M.A., Physics, University of California at Santa Barbara. 
  • Ph.D., Physics, University. of California at Santa Barbara. 
Areas of Specialization

Marine protected areas (MPAs); Marine spatial planning; Population dynamics of marine species; Meta-population modeling; Larval dispersal and connectivity; Marine conservation; Fisheries management; Tuna fisheries; Coastal oceanography; Species distribution modeling; Dynamics of upwelling systems


My research currently focuses on assessing the effects of different forms of spatial and non-spatial fisheries management on marine populations.  Using the lenses of meta-population modeling, ecosystem modeling, species distribution modeling, analysis of fisheries catch-effort data and oceanography, I am looking at how marine spatial management relates to sustainability, conservation and community structure of marine populations with distinct dispersal and reproductive potentials.  Recent work has included studies on the implications of offshore marine protected areas for mobile demersal and pelagic species.  I am also studying the effects of oceanographic processes, such as upwelling/relaxation, on temporal and spatial patterns of larval settlement.

Selected Publications - 2010 to present
  • Beckensteiner J, Kaplan DM, Potts WM, Santos CV, O’Farrell MR (2016) Data-limited population-status evaluation of two coastal fishes in southern Angola using recreational catch length-frequency data. PLoS ONE 11:e0147834. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0147834

  • Garavelli L, Colas F, Verley P, Kaplan DM, Yannicelli B, Lett C (2016) Influence of Biological Factors on Connectivity Patterns for Concholepas concholepas (loco) in Chile. PLoS ONE 11:e0146418. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0146418

  • Cuif M, Kaplan DM, Fauvelot C, Lett C, Vigliola L (2015) Monthly variability of self-recruitment for a coral reef damselfish. Coral Reefs 34:759–770. doi:10.1007/s00338-015-1300-4

  • Lett C, Nguyen-Huu T, Cuif M, Saenz-Agudelo P, Kaplan DM (2015) Linking local retention, self-recruitment, and persistence in marine metapopulations. Ecology 96:2236–2244. doi:10.1890/14-1305.1

  • Maufroy A, Chassot E, Joo R, Kaplan DM (2015) Large-Scale Examination of Spatio-Temporal Patterns of Drifting Fish Aggregating Devices (dFADs) from Tropical Tuna Fisheries of the Indian and Atlantic Oceans. PLoS ONE 10:e0128023. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0128023

  • Monsarrat S, Pennino MG, Smith TD, Reeves RR, Meynard CN, Kaplan DM, Rodrigues ASL (2015) Historical summer distribution of the endangered North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis): a hypothesis based on environmental preferences of a congeneric species. Diversity & Distributions 21:925–937. doi:10.1111/ddi.12314

  • Cuif M, Keller F, Chateau O, Kaplan DM, Labonne M, Lett C , Vigliola L (2014) Evaluation of transgenerational isotope labeling of embryonic otoliths in a coral reef damselfish with single and repeated injections of enriched 137Barium. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology 459:151-159. doi:10.1016/j.jembe.2014.05.019

  • Bonhommeau S, Nieblas A-E, Chassot E, Kaplan DM, Dubroca L, Manacorda C, Barde J, Pape OL (2014) Reply to Feeley and Machovina: Trophic ecology complements estimates of land use change due to food production. PNAS 111:E795–E795. doi:10.1073/pnas.1324144111

  • Nieblas A-E, Bonhommeau S, Pape OL, Chassot E, Dubroca L, Barde J, Kaplan DM (2014) Reply to Roopnarine: What is an apex predator? PNAS 111:E797–E797. doi:10.1073/pnas.1324146111

  • Garavelli L, Kaplan DM, Colas F, Stotz W, Yannicelli B, Lett C (2014) Identifying appropriate spatial scales for marine conservation and management using a larval dispersal model: The case of Concholepas concholepas (loco) in Chile. Progress in Oceanography 124:42–53. doi:10.1016/j.pocean.2014.03.011

  • Cuif M, Kaplan DM, Lefèvre J, Faure VM, Caillaud M, Verley P, Vigliola L, Lett C. (2014) Wind-induced variability in larval retention in a coral reef system: a biophysical modelling study in the South-West Lagoon of New Caledonia. Progress in Oceanography 122:105-115. doi:10.1016/j.pocean.2013.12.006

  • Ban NC, Maxwell SM, Dunn DC, Hobday AJ, Bax NJ, Ardron JA, Gjerde KM, Game ET, Devillers R, Kaplan DM, Dunstan PK, Halpin PN, Pressey RL. (2014) Better integration of sectoral planning and management approaches for the interlinked ecology of the open oceans. Marine Policy 49:127-136. doi:10.1016/j.marpol.2013.11.024

  • Grüss A, Kaplan DM, Robinson J. (2014) Evaluation of the effectiveness of marine protected areas for transient spawning aggregations in data-limited situation.  ICES Journal of Marine Science 71:435–449. doi: 10.1093/icesjms/fst028

  • Kaplan DM, Chassot E, Amande J, Dueri S, Demarcq H, Dagorn L, Fonteneau A. (2014) Potential consequences of pelagic marine protected areas: Insight from  the Indian Ocean tropical tuna fisheries. ICES Journal of Marine Science 71:1728–1749. doi:10.1093/icesjms/fst233

  • Ban NC, Bax NJ, Gjerde KM, Devillers R, Dunn DC, Dunstan PK, Hobday AJ, Maxwell SM, Kaplan DM, Pressey RL, Ardron JA, Game ET, Halpin PN (2014) Systematic Conservation Planning: A new recipe for managing the High Seas.  Conservation Letters 7(1):41-54. doi:10.1111/conl.12010

  • Bonhommeau S, Dubroca L, Pape OL, Barde J, Kaplan DM, Chassot E, Nieblas A-E David M. Kaplan (2013) Eating up the world’s food web and the human trophic level. Proceedings of  the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) 110:20617–20620. doi:10.1073/pnas.1305827110

  • Kaplan DM, Bach P, Bonhommeau S, Chassot E, Chavance P, Dagorn L, Davies T,  Dueri S, Fletcher R, Fonteneau A, Fromentin J-M, Gaertner D, Hampton J, Hilborn  R, Hobday A, Kearney R, Kleiber P, Lehodey P, Marsac F, Maury O, Mees C,  Ménard F, Pearce J, Sibert J (2013) The True Challenge of Giant Marine Reserves.  Science 340:810–811. doi:10.1126/science.340.6134.810-b

  • Currie J, Lengaigne M, Vialard J, Kaplan DM, Aumont O, Maury O (2013) Indian  Ocean Dipole and El Niño/Southern Oscillation impacts on regional chlorophyll  anomalies in the Indian Ocean. Biogeosciences 10:6677 6698. doi:10.5194/bg-10- 6677-2013

  • White JW, Botsford LW, Hastings A, Baskett ML, Kaplan DM, Barnett LA. (2013)  Transient responses of fished populations to marine reserve establishment. Conservation Letters 6:180-191. doi:10.1111/j.1755 263X.2012.00295.x

  • Brochier T, Ecoutin JM, Morais LT de, Kaplan DM, Lae R (2013) A multi-agent  ecosystem model for studying changes in a tropical estuarine fish assemblage within  a marine protected area. Aquatic Living Resources 26:147-158.  doi:10.1051/alr/2012028

  • Meynard CN, Kaplan DM (2013) Using virtual species to study species distributions  and model performance. Journal of Biogeography 40:1-8. doi:10.1111/jbi.12006

  • Garavelli L, Grüss A, Grote B, Chang N, Smith M, Verley P, Stenevik EK, Kaplan DM, Lett C (2012) Modeling the Dispersal of Cape Hake Ichthyoplankton. J  Plankton Res 34:655–669. doi:10.1093/plankt/fbs039

  • Grüss A, Kaplan DM, Lett C (2012) Estimating local settler–recruit relationship  parameters for complex spatially explicit models. Fisheries Research 127–128:34– 39. doi:10.1016/j.fishres.2012.04.016

  • Meynard CN, Kaplan DM (2012) The effect of a gradual response to the environment  on species distribution modeling performance. Ecography 35:499–509. doi:10.1111/j.1600-0587.2011.07157.x

  • Marinesque S, Kaplan DM, Rodwell LD (2012) Global implementation of marine protected areas: Is the developing world being left behind? Marine Policy 36:727-737. doi:10.1016/j.marpol.2011.10.010.

  • Fischer DT, White JW, Botsford LW, Largier J, Kaplan DM (2011) A GIS-Based Tool  for Representing Larval Dispersal for Marine Reserve Selection. The Professional Geographer 64:1-25, doi:10.1080/00330124.2011.585079.

  • Grüss A, Kaplan DM, Hart DR (2011) Relative Impacts of Adult Movement, Larval Dispersal and Harvester Movement on the Effectiveness of Reserve Networks. PLoS ONE 6:e19960, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0019960.

  • Grüss A, Kaplan DM, Guénette S, Roberts CM, Botsford LW (2011) Consequences of adult and juvenile movement for marine protected areas. Biological Conservation  144:692-702, doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2010.12.015.

  • Chassot E, Kaplan DM, Ortiz de Zarate V, Romanov E, Fonteneau A (2010) Comment on “Clarification regarding the distribution of bigeye tuna Thunnus obesus in the Atlantic Ocean, including British waters.” Journal of Fish Biology 77:1449-1454, doi:10.1111/j.1095-8649.2010.02816.x.

  • Kaplan DM, Hart DR, Botsford LW (2010) Rotating spatial harvests and fishing effort displacement: a comment on Game et al. (2009). Ecology Letters 13:E10-E12, doi:10.1111/j.1461-0248.2010.01499.x.

  • Kaplan DM, Planes S, Fauvelot C, Brochier T, Lett C, Bodin N, Le Loc’h F, Tremblay Y, Georges J (2010) New tools for the spatial management of living marine resources. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 2:88-93, doi:10.1016/j.cosust.2010.02.002.

  • Kaplan DM, Chassot E, Gruss A, Fonteneau A (2010) Pelagic MPAs: The devil is in the details. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 25:62-63, doi:10.1016/j.tree.2009.09.003.

Beckensteiner J, Kaplan DM, Potts WM, Santos CV, O’Farrell MR (2016) Data-limited population-status evaluation of two coastal fishes in southern Angola using recreational catch length-frequency data. PLOS ONE 11:e0147834. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0147834

Garavelli L, Colas F, Verley P, Kaplan DM, Yannicelli B, Lett C (2016) Influence of Biological Factors on Connectivity Patterns for Concholepas concholepas (loco) in Chile. PLoS ONE 11:e0146418. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0146418

Graduate Students


  • 2014-. Bianca Santos. MSc (Director): Oceanographic modeling of sea turtle carcass drift patterns to predict locations of at-sea mortality.
  • 2013-. Jennifer Beckensteiner. Masters 2 (Co-director): Conservation and potential for spatial management of marine fish assemblages in southern Angola. PhD (Director): Understanding the couplings of biological, economic and societal factors in the “spatialization” of marine management


  • 2015-2016. Julia Snouck-Hurgronje. MSc (Director): The Effects of Drifting Fish Aggregating Devices (dFADs) on Bycatch in the Tropical Tuna Purse Seine Fisheries in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans
  • 2012-2016. Alexandra Maufroy. Masters 2 & PhD (Co-director): Drifting Fish Aggregating Devices of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans: modalities of use, fishing efficiency and potential management.
  • 2011 .Sophie Marinesque. Masters 2 (Director): Global implementation of marine protected areas: Is the developing world being left behind?
  • 2011-2014. Marion Cuif. Masters 2 & PhD (Co-director): Empirical and modelingestimates of connectivity in damselfish (Dascyllus aruanus) of New Caledonia.
  • 2010. Misael Morales. Masters 2 (Director): The effect of Somali piracy on tropical tuna fisheries of the Indian Ocean.
  • 2010-2013. Lysel Garavelli. Masters 2 (Co-director): Modeling dispersal of Cape hake ichthyoplankton. PhD (Thesis committee): Dispersal and population  dynamics of loco (Concholepas concholepas) in north-central Chile.
  • 2009-2012. Arnaud Gruss. PhD (Director): Evaluation of marine protected areas as a management tool for highly-mobile exploited marine species.
  • 2009-2012. Jeanne Fortilus. PhD (Thesis committee): Bio-economic modeling of tuna fisheries: Implementation of marine protected areas in the Indian Ocean.
  • 2005-2009. Julio Palleiro. PhD (Thesis committee; CICESE, Ensenada, Mexico): Population structure of red sea urchin (Strongylocentrotus franciscanus) on the west coast of Baja California, Mexico.
Information for prospective students

Prospective students should have a strong quantitative background, and be interested in problems relating to dynamics of marine ecosystems, fisheries management, marine conservation and/or coastal oceanography. If you have any questions, please contact me by email or phone as listed on this homepage.

When contacting me, please send at least the following four items:

  • A short letter of motivation

  • A detailed CV

  • Names and contact information for 3-5 professional references

  • Most recent course grades and class rankings