Julianna Renzi

PhD Student

Marine Sciences Institute: University of California, Santa Barbara


I study community ecology and the role of biodiversity in ecosystem stability. I work in coastal environments, with a current focus on coral reefs, although I’ve conducted research in salt marsh, oyster reef, mangrove, and desert ecosystems. I’m currently a first year PhD student in the Burkepile lab at UC Santa Barbara where I am studying the coral reefs of Mo’orea, French Polynesia. I love coding, data analysis, and Thai food.


2013-2017 Tucson, Arizona B.S. in Environmental Science (University of Arizona)

2018-2020 Beaufort, North Carolina M.S. in Marine Science and Conservation (Duke University Marine Lab)

2020-Present Santa Barbara, California PhD (University of California Santa Barbara)


Gaskins, L., Morton, J., Renzi, J., Valdez, S., & Silliman, B. (2020). Habitat features associated with newborn giant shovelnose rays (glaucostegus typus). North Queensland Naturalist, 50, 73–79.
Shaver, E. C., Renzi, J. J., Bucher, M. G., & Silliman, B. R. (2020). Relationships between a common caribbean corallivorous snail and protected area status, coral cover, and predator abundance. Scientific Reports, 10(1), 16463. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-73568-1
Ainsworth, T. D., Renzi, J. J., & Silliman, B. R. (2020). Positive interactions in the coral macro and microbiome. Trends in Microbiology, 28(8), 602–604. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tim.2020.02.009
Reeves, S. E., Renzi, J. J., Fobert, E. K., Silliman, B. R., Hancock, B., & Gillies, C. L. (2020). Facilitating better outcomes: How positive species interactions can improve oyster reef restoration. Frontiers in Marine Science, 7. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2020.00656
Smith, C. S., Rudd, M. E., Gittman, R. K., Melvin, E. C., Patterson, V. S., Renzi, J. J., Wellman, E. H., & Silliman, B. R. (2020). Coming to terms with living shorelines: A scoping review of novel restoration strategies for shoreline protection. Frontiers in Marine Science, 7. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2020.00434
Silliman, B. R., He, Q., Angelini, C., Smith, C. S., Kirwan, M. L., Daleo, P., Renzi, J. J., Butler, J., Osborne, T. Z., Nifong, J. C., & Koppel, J. van de. (2019). Field experiments and meta-analysis reveal wetland vegetation as a crucial element in the coastal protection paradigm. Current Biology, 29(11), 1800–1806.e3. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2019.05.017
Renzi, J. J., Peachey, W. D., & Gerst, K. L. (2019). A decade of flowering phenology of the keystone saguaro cactus (carnegiea gigantea). American Journal of Botany, 106(2), 199–210. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1002/ajb2.1231
Renzi, J. J., He, Q., & Silliman, B. R. (2019). Harnessing positive species interactions to enhance coastal wetland restoration. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 7. https://doi.org/10.3389/fevo.2019.00131
Fong, C., Chancellor, K., Renzi, J., Robinson, D., Barber, P., Habtes, S., & Fong, P. (2018). Epibionts on turbinaria ornata , a secondary foundational macroalga on coral reefs, provide diverse trophic support to fishes. Marine Environmental Research, 141. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marenvres.2018.08.001

Work & Research Experience

2018 ____ Smithsonian Institution Intern at the National Museum of Natural History (Conducted research under the guidance of Dr. Chris Meyer using genetic techniques to examine invertebrate diversity on coral reefs.)

2017 ____ Summer Student Fellow at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (NSF-funded fellowship to conduct independent research under the guidance of Dr. Simon Thorrold. Project focused on compound-specific stable isotope analysis of amino acids (CSIA-AA) and its potential uses for food web studies. )

2015-2017 ____ NASA Space Grant Research Intern and Intern Advisor (Awarded two NASA grants to study shifting lifecycles in organisms with changes in climate with the USA National Phenology Network and to advise new Space Grant interns.)

2016 ____ Summer Researcher with The Diversity Project (UCLA/NSF undergraduate research program in California and Mo’orea, French Polynesia. Activities included conducting an independent research project under the guidance of Dr. Paul Barber and Dr. Peggy Fong.)

2015 ____ Intern with The South African Shark Conservancy (Research and outreach intern in Hermanus, South Africa. Duties included conducting elasmobranch and cetacean monitoring, Baited Remote Underwater Surveys, marine education, and egg case monitoring, as well as designing, implementing, and presenting a study on shyshark behavior.)

2015 ____ Intern with The Nature Conservancy, Indonesia (Conservation Intern with The Nature Conservancy in Jakarta, Indonesia. Created conservation modules for potential business partners and helped establish the Center for Conservation Excellence.)

2015 ____ Intern with the Center for Oceanic Research and Education in South East Asia (Marine research intern in the Gulf of Thailand. Duties included underwater data collection (e.g. live coral cover surveys, biodiversity estimates, and fish density surveys) in addition to out-of-water research preparation and data analysis.)