In general, I study how and why marine communities and populations vary in space and time. Most recently, I have focused on biodiversity and body size change in response to local human impacts and ocean warming. In the Micheli lab, I am studying trawl fisheries in the Adriatic Sea, with the goal of optimizing the placement of a large marine protected area in the context of economic and conservation goals.

Professional Education

  • Bachelor of Science, Northeastern University (2003)
  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Washington (2012)

Stanford Advisors

All Publications

  • The Resilience of Marine Ecosystems to Climatic Disturbances BIOSCIENCE O'Leary, J. K., Micheli, F., Airoldi, L., Boch, C., De Leo, G., Elahi, R., Ferretti, F., Graham, N. A., Litvin, S. Y., Low, N. H., Lummis, S., Nickols, K. J., Wong, J. 2017; 67 (3): 208-220
  • Ocean warming and the demography of declines in coral body size MARINE ECOLOGY PROGRESS SERIES Elahi, R., Sebens, K. P., De Leo, G. A. 2016; 560: 147-158

    View details for DOI 10.3354/meps11931

    View details for Web of Science ID 000390104900010

  • Recent Trends in Local-Scale Marine Biodiversity Reflect Community Structure and Human Impacts CURRENT BIOLOGY Elahi, R., O'Connor, M. I., Byrnes, J. E., Dunic, J., Eriksson, B. K., Hensel, M. J., Kearns, P. J. 2015; 25 (14): 1938-1943


    The modern biodiversity crisis reflects global extinctions and local introductions. Human activities have dramatically altered rates and scales of processes that regulate biodiversity at local scales [1-7]. Reconciling the threat of global biodiversity loss [2, 4, 6-9] with recent evidence of stability at fine spatial scales [10,11] is a major challenge and requires a nuanced approach to biodiversity change that integrates ecological understanding. With a new dataset of 471 diversity time series spanning from 1962 to 2015 from marine coastal ecosystems, we tested (1) whether biodiversity changed at local scales in recent decades, and (2) whether we can ignore ecological context (e.g., proximate human impacts, trophic level, spatial scale) and still make informative inferences regarding local change. We detected a predominant signal of increasing species richness in coastal systems since 1962 in our dataset, though net species loss was associated with localized effects of anthropogenic impacts. Our geographically extensive dataset is unlikely to be a random sample of marine coastal habitats; impacted sites (3% of our time series) were underrepresented relative to their global presence. These local-scale patterns do not contradict the prospect of accelerating global extinctions [2,4,6-9] but are consistent with local species loss in areas with direct human impacts and increases in diversity due to invasions and range expansions in lower impact areas. Attempts to detect and understand local biodiversity trends are incomplete without information on local human activities and ecological context.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.cub.2015.05.030

    View details for Web of Science ID 000358465600035