Avery B. Paxton

Photo credit: UNC Research

I am a marine ecologist and conservation biologist. Currently, I am a doctoral candidate in Pete Peterson’s lab in the Biology Department at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, based at the Institute of Marine Sciences. My research aims to understand basic questions in marine ecology to guide applied conservation and management decisions in the face of global change. The focus of my dissertation research is on developing a mechanistic understanding of how fish rely on subtidal, temperate reefs composed of natural substrate and artificial (man-made) materials. I use a combination of field, laboratory, and analytical methods to assess reefs in local systems off the coast of North Carolina and international systems, including the Adriatic and Ionian Seas. Before attending graduate school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, I earned a BS in Environmental Science from the University of Virginia, during which my research focused on ecologically conserving shipwrecks in North Carolina. I am particularly passionate about communicating science to the general public, especially through media and education.