Academic Credentials
  • Ph.D., Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, 2021
  • M.S., Earth Sciences, Stanford University, 2013
  • B.S., Earth Sciences, Stanford University, 2012
Professional Honors
  • Fulbright Futures Postdoctoral Fellow, 2022
  • National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow, 2016-2020
  • Phi Beta Kappa, 2012
Professional Affiliations
  • Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO)
  • Spanish

Dr. Laura Lilly is a biological oceanographer with interdisciplinary background and statistical analysis skills in marine food web dynamics, habitat mapping, and climate-ocean perturbations. She brings over 8 years of experience in multivariate statistical analyses, computer programming, and dynamical modeling, with particular emphasis on mapping seasonal ocean dynamics and developing zooplankton prediction metrics to improve marine ecosystem models and protected species management. Dr. Lilly also has experience developing and implementing institutional waste reduction programs.

Dr. Lilly's doctoral and postdoctoral research focused on quantifying habitat ranges and seasonal-to-decadal variability in zooplankton species compositions in various regions of the California Current System using multivariate statistics, spatial mapping, generalized additive models, and dynamical particle tracking forced by ocean state estimate models. She also has expertise in long-term timeseries analysis and trend detection. She has extensive experience combining disparate data types, interpolating patchy data, and working with large datasets in various programming languages (MATLAB, R, Python). Dr. Lilly has contributed to efforts to improve forecasts of fisheries stock assessments and protected marine species migrations, and has worked for and collaborated with agencies that provide public data access, summary, and visualization.

In addition to ocean-climate ecosystem research, Dr. Lilly helped initiate and collaborated with university-level administrators on sustainable waste reduction practices at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego. Dr. Lilly co-founded and led the Scripps Sustainability Group, a student/staff-run group that collaborated with campus-wide sustainability partners to implement composting programs, assess efficacy of compostable dining-ware materials, eliminate single-use plastics from campus events, and encourage and raise awareness of campus sustainability practices.

Through her scientific work, Dr. Lilly has collaborated with researchers along the U.S. West Coast, Mexico, Chile, and Australia. She has over 250 days of sea-going experience, including various multi-week trips, as well as field experience in coral reefs, mangroves, and tropical rainforests. She has developed and taught oceanography courses for students ranging from middle school to post-graduate curriculum, including a three-week course for graduate students at Oregon State University in "Applied Statistical Analyses for Biological Oceanographers". Dr. Lilly is an experienced science communicator and has authored several science blogs and articles for public audiences.