Sarah Lester

Associate Professor
Graduate Program Committee
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee

(850) 644-1619
Bellamy 303
Personal Website
Google Scholar


Ph.D. University of California Santa Barbara
B.S. University of North Carolina Chapel Hill

Research Interests

Marine conservation and protected areas, natural resource management and policy, marine spatial planning/ocean zoning, sustainable seafood, fisheries assessment and management, biogeography and macroecology

Research Activities

Offshore aquaculture siting in the context of multiple ocean uses

Ocean zoning and sustainable fisheries management in the Caribbean (in collaboration with the Waitt Institute Blue Halo Initiative)

Coupling Territorial Use Rights in Fisheries (TURFs) with marine reserves

Vulnerability of Caribbean small-scale fisheries and marine-based tourism to climate change-induced coral bleaching

Quantifying the potential for marine aquaculture expansion in the Caribbean

Additional Affiliations

Sustainable Fisheries Group, University of California Santa Barbara

Selected Publications

Lester, S.E., E. O. Ruff, K. Mayall, J. McHenry. 2017. Exploring stakeholder perceptions of marine management in Bermuda. Marine Policy. 84: 235-243.

Gill, D. A., M. B. Mascia, G. N. Ahmadia, L. Glew, S. E. Lester….& H. E. Fox. 2017. Capacity shortfalls hinder the performance of marine protected areas globally. Nature. 543: 665-669.

Ojea, E., I. Pearlman, S.D. Gaines, S. E. Lester. 2017. Fisheries regulatory regimes and resilience to climate change. Ambio. 46: 399-412. DOI: 10.1007/s13280-016-0850-1.

Lester, S. E., G. McDonald, M. Clemence, D. T. Dougherty, C. S. Szuwalski. 2017. Impacts of TURFs and marine reserves on fisheries and conservation goals: theory, empirical evidence, and modeling. Bulletin of Marine Science. 93: 173-198.

Gentry R, S. E. Lester, C. V. Kappel, C. White, T. W. Bell, J. Stevens, S. D. Gaines. 2017. Offshore aquaculture: spatial planning principles for sustainable development. Ecology and Evolution. 7: 733-743.

Lester, S.E., C. White, K. Mayall, R.K. Walter. 2016. Environmental and economic implications of alternative cruise ship pathways in Bermuda. Ocean & Coastal Management. 132: 70-79.

Lester, S. E., C. Costello, A. Rassweiler, S. D. Gaines, R. Deacon. 2013. Encourage sustainability by giving credit for MPAs in seafood certification. PLoS Biology. 11: e1001730.

Lester, S. E., C. Costello, S. D. Gaines, B. S. Halpern, C. White, J. A. Barth. 2013. Evaluating tradeoffs among ecosystem services to inform marine spatial planning. Marine Policy. 38:80-89.

Costello, C., D. Ovando, R. Hilborn, S. D. Gaines, O. Deschenes, S.E. Lester. 2012. Status and solutions for the world’s unassessed fisheries. Science. 338: 517-520.

Halpern, B.S., C.Longo, D. Hardy, K. McLeod, J.F. Samhouri, S.K. Katona, K. Kleisner, S.E. Lester, et al. 2012. An index to assess the health and benefits of the global ocean. Nature. 488: 615-622.

Lester, S. E., B. S. Halpern, K. Grorud-Colvert, J. Lubchenco, B. I. Ruttenberg, S. D. Gaines, S. Airamé, R. R. Warner. 2009. Biological effects within no-take marine reserves: a global synthesis. Marine Ecology Progress Series. 384: 33-46.

Lester, S. E. and B. S. Halpern. 2008. Biological responses in marine no-take reserves versus partially protected areas. Marine Ecology Progress Series. 367: 49-56.

Lester, S. E., S. D. Gaines, B. P. Kinlan. 2007. Reproduction on the edge: large-scale patterns of individual performance in a marine invertebrate. Ecology. 88: 2229-2239.

Lester, S. E., B. I. Ruttenberg, S. D. Gaines, B. P. Kinlan. 2007. The relationship between dispersal ability and geographic range size. Ecology Letters. 10:745-758.

Courses Taught

GEO4300/GEO5305 Biogeography
GEO4930/GEO5934 Marine Conservation
GEO6093 Professional Development