Elora López is a Ph.D. candidate in Biology at Stanford University. She uses genomics to address questions about the ecology, evolution, and conservation of marine life. Her research spans a wide range of topics, including coral bleaching recovery in American Samoa, somatic mutations in very long-lived organisms, and the effects of nuclear radiation on wildlife at Bikini Atoll, a former nuclear testing site in the Marshall Islands.

López's first research expedition to Bikini Atoll was featured on the PBS documentary series Big Pacific in June 2017. Her research projects have also been featured in USA Today, The Atlantic, The Guardian, and Hakai Magazine.

López is a National Geographic Early Career Explorer, an Explorers Club Rolex Explorer, a Stanford Graduate Fellow in Science & Engineering, and a National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellow.

Stanford Advisors

All Publications

  • Mechanisms of Thermal Tolerance in Reef-Building Corals across a Fine-Grained Environmental Mosaic: Lessons from Ofu, American Samoa Frontiers in Marine Science Thomas, L., Rose, N. H., Bay, R. A., López, E. H., Morikawa, M. K., Ruiz-Jones, L., Palumbi, S. R. 2018; 4 (434)

    View details for DOI 10.3389/fmars.2017.00434

  • Genetic connectivity among populations of lollyfish (Holothuria atra) Fiji’s Sea Cucumber Fishery: Advances in Science for Improved Management. López, E. H., Eastwood, E., Drew, J. edited by Mangubhai, S., Lalavanua , W., Purcell, S. Wildlife Conservation Society. 2017: 62–70
  • Population Connectivity Measures of Fishery-Targeted Coral Reef Species to Inform Marine Reserve Network Design in Fiji SCIENTIFIC REPORTS Eastwood, E. K., Lopez, E. H., Drew, J. A. 2016; 6


    Coral reef fish serve as food sources to coastal communities worldwide, yet are vulnerable to mounting anthropogenic pressures like overfishing and climate change. Marine reserve networks have become important tools for mitigating these pressures, and one of the most critical factors in determining their spatial design is the degree of connectivity among different populations of species prioritized for protection. To help inform the spatial design of an expanded reserve network in Fiji, we used rapidly evolving mitochondrial genes to investigate connectivity patterns of three coral reef species targeted by fisheries in Fiji: Epinephelus merra (Serranidae), Halichoeres trimaculatus (Labridae), and Holothuria atra (Holothuriidae). The two fish species, E. merra and Ha. trimaculatus, exhibited low genetic structuring and high amounts of gene flow, whereas the sea cucumber Ho. atra displayed high genetic partitioning and predominantly westward gene flow. The idiosyncratic patterns observed among these species indicate that patterns of connectivity in Fiji are likely determined by a combination of oceanographic and ecological characteristics. Our data indicate that in the cases of species with high connectivity, other factors such as representation or political availability may dictate where reserves are placed. In low connectivity species, ensuring upstream and downstream connections is critical.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/srep19318

    View details for Web of Science ID 000368815000001

    View details for PubMedID 26805954

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4726325

  • Collateral damage to marine and terrestrial ecosystems from Yankee whaling in the 19th century Ecology and Evolution Drew, J., López, E. H., Gill, L., McKeon, M., Miller, N., Steinberg, M., Shen, C., McClenachan, L. 2016; 06 (22): 8181–8192

    View details for DOI 10.1002/ece3.2542