Dr. Petrik’s background is in biological oceanography and ecology, quantitatively rooted in mathematics and physics. She is interested in understanding how the physical marine environment affects the ecology of zooplankton and harvested fish and invertebrate species. Additionally, she explores the implications of climate variability and climate change on these relationships. Dr. Petrik uses coupled numerical models that relate the physiology and behavior of individuals to population and ecosystem dynamics. The goal of her research is to understand the fundamental biological-physical mechanisms controlling marine ecosystems, thereby providing a sound scientific basis to inform decisions in conservation and management.

Dr. Petrik’s research spans all time and space scales, from modeling how an individual fish larva feeds on one copepod, to simulating how different climate change scenarios will impact all the fish in the global ocean over the next 100 years. The Petrik lab seeks students and postdocs with biological backgrounds who are interested in applying modeling techniques or with quantitative backgrounds (math, physics, computer science) who would like to apply their skills to problems in biological oceanography.

Dr. Petrik is currently a co-lead of the NOAA Climate Program Office’s Marine Ecosystems Task Force and a co-coordinator of the Fisheries and Marine Ecosystems Model Intercomparison project.