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Marine Spatial Ecologist

Dr. Rikki Eriksen has been with CMSF since 2005.  She works with communities, businesses, non-governmental organizations, foundations, academic institutions, and government agencies across a variety of marine issues.  Her work has helped implement California's Marine Life Protection Act, educated communities about sea level rise, solved complicated water quality problems in waterfront and agricultural areas, and reduced plastic pollution.

Rikki holds a Master’s degree from Duke University and a Ph.D. at the University of Florida where she applied landscape ecology principles to the design and management of MPAs in coral reef ecosystems. Her field work has taken her throughout the Caribbean, the wider Indo-Pacific region and Latin America conducting field surveys and working with local communities to examine the effectiveness of MPAs. She has more than 50 publications addressing a range of topics, and her research has focused on the use of science in marine resource policy development and implementation through use of spatial ecological analysis, ecosystem-based management, climate resilience, plastic pollution, and education and outreach.


Rikki also has extensive experience at sea. She has sailed across the Mediterranean and Caribbean Sea several times, worked on a commercial Alaskan fishing boat, collaborated with fisherwomen in Fiji to acoustically tag reef fish, and helped South Pacific Islands prepare for sea level rise. In 2020, Rikki went on an all-women’s “eXXpedition” to raise awareness about the issue of marine plastic pollution and the dangers it poses to both human health and marine life. 


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