I lead the team of scientists in the Tiburon, California section of the Marine Invasions Research Lab. My research examines how geographic patterns of diversity in estuarine and coastal systems are controlled by environmental drivers and biotic interactions. Estuaries are extraordinarily dynamic and often highly impacted, and serve as terrific laboratories for understanding human influences on coastal ecosystems. The natural physical and biotic gradients in estuaries also afford a good opportunity to test fundamental ecological theories about the factors that control species diversity, abundance, and ecosystem functioning.
With colleagues in the Marine Invasions Lab, I use models, field surveys, and manipulative field and lab experiments to study the ways species and communities respond to environmental changes and invasions by non-native species. This work includes several long-term studies of the San Francisco Bay estuary and the California coast with a particular focus on the influence of freshwater flow and temperature variation on marine invertebrate community assembly, biogeography, invasion patterns, and native oyster population dynamics. Recent work has also included collaborative projects with the San Francisco Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve to assess the conditions promoting sustainable oyster populations.
Education & Employment
2014 – present: Ecologist and Program Lead (Tiburon), Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
2008 – present: Adjunct Professor, MS Program in Environmental Management, University of San Francisco
2011 – 2014: Postdoctoral Research Associate, San Francisco Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (Advisor: Matthew Ferner)
2012 – 2013: Postdoctoral Researcher, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (Advisor: Gregory Ruiz)
2009 – 2011: Smithsonian Institution Postdoctoral Fellow (Advisors: Gregory Ruiz and Whitman Miller)
2009 – 2012: CALFED Science Program Postdoctoral Fellow, University of California Davis (Advisor: Steven Morgan)
2003 – 2009: PhD Ecology, University of California Davis (Advisor: Edwin Grosholz)
2002 – 2003: Lab Supervisor (Tiburon), Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, Tiburon, CA
2000 – 2003: Research Technician, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, Tiburon, CA
1996 – 2000: B. A. cum laude, Marine Sciences, Williams College
Newcomer KA, Marraffini ML, and AL Chang (2018) Distribution patterns of an introduced encrusting bryozoan, Conopeum chesapeakensis (Banta, Perez and Santagata, 1995) in an estuarine environment in upper San Francisco Bay. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 504: 20–31.
Chang AL, Brown CW, Crooks JA, and GM Ruiz (2017). Dry and wet periods drive rapid shifts in community assembly in an estuarine ecosystem. Global Change Biology. DOI: 10.1111/gcb.13972
Marraffini ML, Brown CW, Ashton G, Chang AL, and GM Ruiz (2017) Do settlement plates effectively sample established fouling communities for non-indigenous species? Management of Biological Invasions.
Jimenez H, Keppel E, Chang AL, Ruiz GM (2017) Invasions in marine communities: contrasting patterns of species richness and community composition across habitats and salinity. Estuaries and Coasts. DOI: 10.1007/s12237-017-0292-4
Bible J, Cheng BS, Chang AL, Ferner MC, Wasson K, Zabin CJ, Latta M, Sanford E, Deck A, Grosholz ED (2017) Timing of climate-driven stressors alters interactive effects on a coastal foundation species. Ecology. DOI: 10.1002/ecy.1943
Tracy B, Larson K, Ashton G, Lambert G, Chang AL, and GM Ruiz (2017) Northward range expansion of three non-native ascidians on the west coast of North America. BioInvasions Records.
Chang AL, Deck AK, Sullivan LJ, Morgan SG, and MC Ferner (2016) Upstream – downstream shifts in a recruitment hotspot of the native Olympia oyster in San Francisco Bay during wet and dry years. Estuaries and Coasts. DOI: 10.1007/s12237-016-0182-1
Cheng BS, Chang AL, Deck A, Ferner MC (2016) Extreme low salinity drives mass mortality in northern San Francisco Bay: a consequence of atmospheric rivers? Proceedings of the Royal Society B 283: 20161462. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2016.1462
Wasson K, Hughes B, Berriman J, Chang A, Deck A, Dinnel P, Endris C, Espinoza M, Dudas S, Ferner M, Grosholz E, Kimbro D, Ruesink J, Trimble A, Vander Schaaf D, Zabin C, Zacherl D (2016) Coast-wide recruitment dynamics of Olympia oysters reveal limited synchrony and multiple predictors of failure. Ecology. DOI: 10.1002/ecy.1602
Crooks JA, Chang AL, Ruiz GM (2016) Decoupling the response of an estuarine shrimp to architectural components of habitat structure. PeerJ 4: e2244.
Ruiz G, Chang A, Jimenez H, Ashton G, Ceballos L, DiMaria R, Fofonoff P, Havard S, Keppel E, Larson K, Marraffini M, McCann L, Repetto M, Steves B, and C Zabin (2016) Part 1. Morphological Detection and Analysis of NIS by Habitat. In: Ruiz GM and JB Geller. Spatial and temporal analysis of marine invasions in California: Morphological and molecular comparisons across habitats. Final Report to California Dept of Fish and Wildlife, 190 pp.
Cheng BS, Bible JM, Chang AL, Ferner MC, Wasson K, Zabin CJ, Latta M, Deck AK, Todgham A, and ED Grosholz (2015) Testing local and global stressor impacts on a coastal foundation species using an ecologically realistic framework. Global Change Biology. doi: 10.1111/gcb.12895
Chang AL, Ruiz GM, Ashton GV, Ceballos L, Fofonoff PW, Havard SC, Keppel E, Larson K, Marraffini M, McCann LD, Repetto M, Steves BP (2015) Spatial and temporal analysis of marine invasions in three major US ports. Report to US Coast Guard, 52 pp.
Wasson K, Zabin C, Bible J, Briley S, Ceballos E, Chang A, Cheng B, Deck A, Grosholz T, Helms A, Latta M, Yednock B, Zacherl D, and M Ferner (2015) A Guide to Olympia Oyster Restoration and Conservation (revised and expanded for the North American Pacific Coast). Report for NOAA National Estuarine Research Reserve System Science Collaborative, 64 pp.
Wasson K, Zabin C, Bible J, Ceballos E, Chang A, Cheng B, Deck A, Grosholz T, Latta M, and M Ferner (2014) A Guide to Olympia Oyster Restoration and Conservation: Environmental Conditions and Sites that Support Sustainable Populations in Central California. Report for NOAA National Estuarine Research Reserve System Science Collaborative, 44 pp.
Ruiz GM, Brown CW, Steves BP, Chang AL, Ashton G, Larson K, McCann LD, Havard S, and P Fofonoff (2012) Establishing a baseline to detect and measure temporal changes in non-native marine species diversity in California. Report to Marine Invasive Species Program, California Department of Fish & Game, 30 pp.
Chang AL, Blakeslee AMH, Miller AW, and GM Ruiz (2011) Genetic and demographic characteristics of the snail Littorina littorea at an early stage of the invasion process in California, USA. PLoS One 6: e16035. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0016035
Crooks JA, Chang AL, and GM Ruiz (2011) Disentangling the roles of pollution and propagule pressure in affecting relative success of invasive species. Biological Invasions 13: 165-176.
Davidson IC, Zabin CJ, Chang AL, Brown CW, Sytsma MD, and GM Ruiz (2010) Recreational craft as vectors of marine organisms at an invasion hotspot. Aquatic Biology 11: 179-191.
Chang AL and N Cosentino-Manning (2010) New occurrences and methods of eradication of the Northern Atlantic alga Ascophyllum nodosum from San Francisco Bay. Report for NOAA Restoration Center, 32 pp.
Chang AL, Grossman JD, Sabol Spezio T, Weiskel HW, Blum JC, Burt JW, Muir AA, Piovia-Scott J, Veblen KE, and ED Grosholz (2009) Tackling aquatic invasions: risks and opportunities for the aquarium industry. Biological Invasions 11: 773-785.
Davidson I, Zabin C, Chang A, Sytsma M, and G Ruiz (2008) Characterizing the risk of species transfers on recreational boats in marine systems via hull fouling: A pilot study. Final report, US Fish and Wildlife Service.
Burt JW, Muir A, Piovia-Scott J, Veblen K, Chang AL, Grossman J, and H Weiskel (2007) Preventing horticultural introductions of invasive plants: potential efficacy of voluntary initiatives. Biological Invasions 9: 909-923.
Blum JC, Chang AL, Liljesthrom M, Schenk ME, Steinberg MK, and GM Ruiz (2007) Does the non-native solitary ascidian Ciona intestinalis depress species richness? Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 342: 5-14.
Miller AW, Chang AL, Cosentino-Manning N, and GM Ruiz (2004) A new record and eradication of the northern Atlantic alga Ascophyllum nodosum (Phaeophyceae) from San Francisco Bay, California, USA. Journal of Phycology 40: 1028-1031.