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Richard Ambrose

Professor Emeritus
Research Professor


DepartmentsType of Faculty
Environmental Health SciencesPart Time
Contact Information
310.825.6144 (office)/ 310.794.9726 (lab)

UCLA Fielding School of Public Health
650 Charles E. Young Drive South, 46-078 CHS
Los Angeles, CA 90095

Richard F. Ambrose is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences and the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability at UCLA.  He received his B.S. from UC Irvine and his Ph.D. from UCLA.  He spent seven years at the Marine Science Institute at U.C. Santa Barbara before returning to UCLA in 1992.  He teaches graduate courses covering environmental assessment, restoration ecology, conservation biology, and the ecological effects of climate change.  His research includes the restoration of degraded coastal habitats, especially wetlands, evaluating the effectiveness of wetland mitigation programs, monitoring change in rocky intertidal habitats using a network of monitoring sites throughout California, evaluating alternatives for managing watershed-level ecological problems resulting from urbanization, evaluating climate change relate to coastal habitats, incluing projected changes in vegetation and carbon sequestration in coastal wetlands as a means for mitigating greenhouse gas emissions, and ecological aspects of biofilters used to capture and treat stormwater and other urban runoff.  He currently chairs the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission’s Technical Advisory Panel and the Scientific Advisory Panel for the California Coastal Commission’s SONGS mitigation project, and he serves on scientific advisory panels for many organizations, including the California Ocean Protection Council and the Southern California Wetland Recovery Project.  He has provided advice about environmental restoration issues to a wide variety of government and private organizations, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, California State Water Resources Control Board, California Coastal Commission, California State Lands Commission, California Coastal Conservancy, California Department of Transportation, City of Malibu, and private organizations. 

PhD, Marine Ecology, University of California, Los Angeles
BS, Biological Sciences, University of California, Irvine
Selected Publications: 


Parker, E.A., M.A. Rippy, A.S. Mehring, B.K. Winfrey, R.F. Ambrose, L.A. Levin, and S.B. Grant.  2017.  The Predictive Power of Clean Bed Filtration Theory for Fecal Indicator Bacteria Removal in Stormwater Biofilters.  Environmental Science and Technology 51: 5703–5712.  DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.7b00752.

Fong, L.S., E. D. Stein and R.F. Ambrose.  2017.  Development of restoration performance curves for streams in southern California using an integrative condition index.  Wetlands 37: 289-299.  DOI 10.1007/s13157-016-0869-x.

Winfrey, B.K., B.E. Hatt and R.F. Ambrose.  2017.  Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in Australian stormwater biofilters.  Ecological Engineering 102: 483-489.  DOI: 10.1016/j.ecoleng.2017.02.041.

Rosencranz, J.R., L.N. Brown, J.R. Holmquist, Y. Sanchez, G.M MacDonald and R.F. Ambrose.  2017.  The role of sediment dynamics for inorganic accretion patterns in southern California's Mediterranean-climate salt marshes.  Estuaries and Coasts 40: 1371-1384.  DOI: 10.1007/s12237-017-0224-3.

Mehring, A.S., B.E. Hatt, D. Kraikittikun, B.D. Orelo, M.A. Rippy, S.B. Grant, J.P. Gonzalez, S.C. Jiang, R.F. Ambrose and L.A. Levin.  2016.  Soil invertebrates in Australian rain gardens and their potential roles in storage and processing of nitrogen.  Ecological Engineering 97: 138-143.  DOI: 10.1016/j.ecoleng.2016.09.005.

Wang, W., Y. Ding, Y. Wang, X. Song, R.F. Ambrose, F.L. Ullman, B.K. Winfrey, J. Wand and J. Gong.  2016.  Treatment of rich ammonia nitrogen wastewater with polyvinyl alcohol immobilized nitrifier biofortified constructed wetlands.  Ecological Engineering 94: 7-11.  DOI: 10.1016/j.ecoleng.2016.05.078.

Wang, W., Y. Ding, Y. Wang, R.F. Ambrose and J.L. Ullman.  2016.  Intensified nitrogen removal in immobilized nitrifier enhanced constructed wetlands with external carbon addition.  Bioresource Technology 218: 1261–1265.  DOI: 10.1016/j.biortech.2016.06.135.

Ferguson, D., G.N. Talavera, L.R. Hernández, R.F. Ambrose, J.A. Jay and S. Weisberg.  2016.  Virulence genes among Enterococcus faecalis and Enterococcus faecium isolated from coastal beaches and potential sources in southern California and Puerto Rico.  Journal of Pathogens.  7 pages.  DOI 10.1155/2016/3437214.

Wang, W., Y.Ding, J.L. Ullman, R.F. Ambrose, Y. Wang, X. Song and Z. Zhao.  2016.  Nitrogen removal performance in planted and unplanted horizontal subsurface flow constructed wetlands treating different influent COD/N ratios.  Environmental Science and Pollution Research.  Pages 1-7.  Published online 29 January 2016.  DOI 10.100 7/s 11356-016-6115-S.

Rosencranz, J.A., N.K. Ganju, R.F. Ambrose, S.M. Brosnahan, P.J. Dickhudt, G.R. Guntenspergen, G.M. MacDonald, J.Y. Takekawa and K.M Thorne.  2016.  Balanced sediment fluxes in southern California's Mediterranean-climate zone salt marshes. Estuaries and Coasts.  . Estuaries and Coasts 39: 1035-1049.  DOI 10.1007/s12237-016-0077-1. Erratum published online 17 February 2016.

Murray, S.N., S.B. Weisberg, P.T. Raimondi, R.F. Ambrose, C.A. Bell, C.A. Blanchette, J.L. Burnaford, M.N. Dethier, J.M. Engle M.S. Foster, C.M. Miner, K.J. Nielsen, J.S. Pearse, D.V. Richards, and J.R. Smith.  2016.  Evaluating ecological states of West Coast rocky intertidal communities: A best professional judgment exercise.  Ecological Indicators 60: 802-814.  DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolind.2015.08.017.

Myers, M.R., and R.F. Ambrose.  2015.  Salt marsh reduces fecal indicator bacteria input to coastal waters in southern California.  Bulletin of the Southern California Academy of Sciences 114: 76-88. 

Yap, T.A., M.S. Koo, R.F. Ambrose, D.B. Wake and V.T. Vredenburg.  2015.  Averting a biodiversity crisis.  Science 349: 481-482. 

Needles, L.A., S.E. Lester, R. Ambrose, A. Andren, M. Beyeler, M.S. Connor, J.E. Eckman, B.A. Costa-Pierce, S.D. Gaines, K.D. Lafferty, H.S. Lenihan, J. Parrish, M.S. Peterson, A.E. Scaroni, J.S. Weis, D.E. Wendt. 2015.  Managing bay and estuarine ecosystems for multiple services.  Estuaries and Coasts 38 (Suppl. 1): S35-S48.  DOI 10.1007/s12237-013-9602-7.  (Featured in Coastal and Estuarine Science News.) 

Ambrose, R.F. and B.K. Winfrey.  2015.  Comparison of stormwater biofiltration systems in southeast Australia and southern California.  WIREs Water 2: 131-146.  DOI: 10.1002/wat2.1064 

Zimmer-Faust, A.G., R.F. Ambrose and M.N. Tamburri.  2014.  Evaluation of approaches to quantify total residual oxidants in ballast water management systems employing chlorine for disinfection.  Water Science and Technology 70: 1585-1593.  DOI: 10.2166/wst.2014.394. 

Altstatt, J., R. Ambrose, J. Carroll, J. Coyer, J. Wible and J. Engle.  2014. Eelgrass meadows return to Frenchy’s Cove, Anacapa Island: Recovery ten years after successful transplantation.  Monographs of the Western North America Naturalist 7: 500-517.  

Willette, D.A. and R.F. Ambrose.  2012.  Effects of the invasive seagrass Halophila stipulacea on the native seagrass, Syringodium filiforme, and associated fish and epibiota communities in the eastern Caribbean.  Aquatic Botany 103: 74-82. 

Grant, S.B., J-D Saphores, D.L Feldman, A.J. Hamilton, T.D. Fletcher, P.L.M. Cook, M. Stewardson, B.F. Sanders, L.A. Levin, R.F. Ambrose, A. Deletic, R. Brown, S.C. Jiang, D. Rosso, W.J. Cooper and I. Marusic.  2012.  Taking the “waste” out of “wastewater” for human water security and ecosystem sustainability.  Science 337: 681-686. 

Peterson, C.H.,S.S. Anderson, G.N. Cherr, R.F. Ambrose, S. Anghera, S. Bay, M. Blum, R. Condon, T.A. Dean, M. Graham, M. Guzy, S. Hampton, S. Joye, J. Lambrinos, B. Mate, D. Meffert, S.P. Powers, P. Somasundaran, R.B. Spies, C.M. Taylor, R. Tjeerdema, and E.E. Adams.  2012.  A Tale of Two Spills: Novel Science and Policy Implications of an Emerging New Oil Spill Model.  Bioscience 62: 461-469. 

Coffman, G.C., R.F. Ambrose and P.W. Rundel.  2011.  Wildfire promotes dominance by the invasive Giant Reed (Arundo donax) in riparian ecosystems.  Biological Invasions 12: 2723-2734. 

Rothenberg, S.E., M.B. DeRose, C. Lin, M.E. Kirby, B.W. Bird, R.F. Ambrose and J.A. Jay.  2010.  The impact of over 100 years of wildfires on mercury levels and accumulation rates in two lakes in southern California, USA.  Environmental Earth Sciences 60: 993–1005. 

Myers, M.R. and Ambrose, R.F. Differences in benthic cover inside and outside marine protected areas on the Great Barrier Reef: influence of protection or disturbance history?. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems 2009; 19: 736-747. 

Smith, J.R., Fong, P., and Ambrose, R.F. Spatial patterns in recruitment and growth of the mussel Mytilus californianus (Conrad) in southern and northern California, USA, two regions with differing oceanographic conditions. Journal of Sea Research 2009; 61: 165-173. 

Willette, D.A. and Ambrose, R.F. The distribution and expansion of the invasive seagrass Halophila stipulacea in Dominica, West Indies, with a preliminary report from St. Lucia. Aquatic Botany 2009; 91: 137-142. 

Rothenberg, S.E., Ambrose, R.F., and Jay, J.A. Evaluating the potential efficacy of mercury Total Maximum Daily Loads on aqueous methylmercury levels in four coastal watersheds. Environmental Science and Technology 2008; 42: 5400-5406. 

Rothenberg, S.E., Ambrose, R.F., and Jay, J.A. Mercury cycling in surface water, pore water and sediments of Mugu Lagoon, CA., USA. Environmental Pollution 2008; 154: 32-45. 

Smith, J.R., Fong, P., and Ambrose, R.F The impacts of human visitation on mussel bed communities along the California coast: Are regulatory marine reserves effective in protecting these communities?. Environmental Management 2008; 41: 599-612. 

Raimondi, P. T. Sagarin, R. D. Ambrose, R. F. Bell, C. George, M. Lee, S. F. Lohse, D. Miner, C. M. Murray, S. N. Consistent frequency of color morphs in the sea star Pisaster ochraceus (Echinodermata : Asteriidae) across open-coast habitats in the northeastern Pacific. Pacific Science. 2007; 61(2): 201-210. 

Miller, A. W. Ruiz, G. M. Minton, M. S. Ambrose, R. F. Differentiating successful and failed molluscan invaders in estuarine ecosystems. Marine Ecology-Progress Series. 2007; 332: 41-51. 

Sagarin, R. D. Ambrose, R. F. Becker, B. J. Engle, J. M. Kido, J. Lee, S. F. Miner, C. M. Murray, S. N. Raimondi, P. T. Richards, D. Roe, C. Ecological impacts on the limpet Lottia gigantea populations: human pressure over a broad scale on island and mainland intertidal zones. Marine Biology. 2007; 150(3): 399-413. 

Harmon, T. C. Ambrose, R. F. Gilbert, R. M. Fisher, J. C. Stealey, M. Kaiser, W. J. High-resolution river hydraulic and water quality characterization using rapidly deployable networked infomechanical systems (NIMS RD). Environmental Engineering Science. 2007; 24(2): 151-159. 

Tetreault, I. Ambrose, R. F. Temperate marine reserves enhance targeted but not untargeted fishes in multiple no-take mpas. Ecological Applications. 2007; 17(8): 2251-2267. 

Armitage, A. R. Jensen, S. M. Yoon, J. E. Ambrose, R. F. Wintering shorebird assemblages and behavior in restored tidal wetlands in southern California. Restoration Ecology. 2007; 15(1): 139-148. 

Swenson, D. P. Ambrose, R. F. A spatial analysis of cumulative habitat loss in Southern California under the Clean Water Act Section 404 program. Landscape and Urban Planning. 2007; 82(1-2): 41-55. 

Smith, J. R. Fong, P. Ambrose, R. F. Dramatic declines in mussel bed community diversity: Response to climate change?. Ecology. 2006; 87(5): 1153-1161. 

Smith, J. R. Fong, P. Ambrose, R. F. Long-term change in mussel (Mytilus californianus Conrad) populations along the wave-exposed coast of southern California. Marine Biology. 2006; 149(3): 537-545. 

Reed, D. C. Schroeter, S. C. Huang, D. Anderson, T. W. Ambrose, R. F. Quantitative assessment of different artificial reef designs in mitigating losses to kelp forest fishes. Bulletin of Marine Science. 2006; 78(1): 133-150. 

Armitage, A. R. Boyer, K. E. Vance, R. R. Ambrose, R. F. Restoring assemblages of salt marsh halophytes in the presence of a rapidly colonizing dominant species. Wetlands. 2006; 26(3): 667-676. 

Evanson, M. Ambrose, R. F. Sources and growth dynamics of fecal indicator bacteria in a coastal wetland system and potential impacts to adjacent waters. Water Research. 2006; 40(3): 475-486. 

Shuman, C. S. Hodgson, G. Ambrose, R. F. Population impacts of collecting sea anemones and anemonefish for the marine aquarium trade in the Philippines. Coral Reefs. 2005; 24(4): 564-573. 

Shuman, C. S. Hodgson, G. Ambrose, R. F. Managing the marine aquarium trade: is eco-certification the answer?. Environmental Conservation. 2004; 31(4): 339-348.

Shuman, C. S. Ambrose, R. F. A comparison of remote sensing and ground-based methods for monitoring wetland restoration success. Restoration Ecology. 2003; 11(3): 325-333. 

Vance, R. R. Ambrose, R. F. Anderson, S. S. MacNeil, S. McPherson, T. Beers, I. Keeney, T. W. Effects of sewage sludge on the growth of potted salt marsh plants exposed to natural tidal inundation. Restoration Ecology. 2003; 11(2): 155-167. 

Raimondi, P. T. Wilson, C. M. Ambrose, R. F. Engle, J. M. Minchinton, T. E. Continued declines of black abalone along the coast of California: are mass mortalities related to El Nino events?. Marine Ecology-Progress Series. 2002; 242: 143-152. 

Sudol, M. F. Ambrose, R. F. The US Clean Water Act and habitat replacement: Evaluation of mitigation sites in Orange County, California, USA. Environmental Management. 2002; 30(5): 727-734. 

Sudol, M.F. and R.F. Ambrose The Clean Water Act and habitat replacement: Evaluation of mitigation sites in Orange County , California . Environmental Management 2002; 30: 727-734. 

Moeller, A. Ambrose, R. F. Hee, S. S. Q. A comparison of techniques for preparing fish fillet for ICP-AES multielemental analysis and the microwave digestion of whole fish. Food Additives and Contaminants. 2001; 18(1): 19-29. 

Stein, E. D. Ambrose, R. F. Landscape-scale analysis and management of cumulative impacts to riparian ecosystems: Past, present, and future. Journal of the American Water Resources Association. 2001; 37(6): 1597-1614. 

Boyer, K. E. Fong, P. Vance, R. R. Ambrose, R. F. Salicornia virginica in a Southern California salt marsh: Seasonal patterns and a nutrient-enrichment experiment. Wetlands. 2001; 21(3): 315-326. 

Downs, T. J. Ambrose, R. F. Syntropic ecotoxicology: A heuristic model for understanding the vulnerability of ecological systems to stress. Ecosystem Health. 2001; 7(4): 266-283. 

Cohen, T. Hee, S. S. Q. Ambrose, R. F. Trace metals in fish and invertebrates of three California coastal wetlands. Marine Pollution Bulletin. 2001; 42(3): 224-232. 

Stein, E.D. and R.F. Ambrose Landscape-scale analysis and management of cumulative impacts to riparian ecosystems: Past, present and future. Journal of American Water Resources Association 2001; 37(6): 1597-1614. 

Miller, A. W. Ambrose, R. F. Sampling patchy distributions: comparison of sampling designs in rocky intertidal habitats. Marine Ecology-Progress Series. 2000; 196: 1-14. 

Stein, E. D. Tabatabai, F. Ambrose, R. F. Wetland mitigation banking: A framework for crediting and debiting. Environmental Management. 2000; 26(3): 233-250. 

Lafferty, K. D. Swift, C. C. Ambrose, R. F. Extirpation and recolonization in a metapopulation of an endangered fish, the tidewater goby. Conservation Biology. 1999; 13(6): 1447-1453. 

Ambrose, R. F. Meffert, D. J. Fish-assemblage dynamics in Malibu Lagoon, a small, hydrologically altered estuary in southern California. Wetlands. 1999; 19(2): 327-340. 

Murray, S. N. Ambrose, R. F. Bohnsack, J. A. Botsford, L. W. Carr, M. H. Davis, G. E. Dayton, P. K. Gotshall, D. Gunderson, D. R. Hixon, M. A. Lubchenco, J. Mangel, M. MacCall, A. McArdle, D. A. Ogden, J. C. Roughgarden, J. Starr, R. M. Tegner, M. J. Yoklavich, M. M. No-take reserve networks: Sustaining fishery populations and marine ecosystems. Fisheries. 1999; 24(11): 11-25. 

Lafferty, K., C. Swift and R.F. Ambrose Extirpation and recovery of local populations of the endangered tidewater goby, Eucyclogobius newberryi. Conservation Biology 1999; 13: 1447-1453. 

Stein, E. D. Ambrose, R. F. Rapid impact assessment method for use in a regulatory context. Wetlands. 1998; 18(3): 379-392. 

Palmer, M. A. Ambrose, R. F. Poff, N. L. Ecological theory and community restoration ecology. Restoration Ecology. 1997; 5(4): 291-300. 

Altstatt, J. M. Ambrose, R. F. Engle, J. M. Haaker, P. L. Lafferty, K. D. Raimondi, P. T. Recent declines of black abalone Haliotis cracherodii on the mainland coast of central California. Marine Ecology-Progress Series. 1996; 142(1-3): 185-192. 

Johnson, T. D. Barnett, A. M. Demartini, E. E. Craft, L. L. Ambrose, R. F. Purcell, L. J. Fish Production and Habitat Utilization on a Southern California Artificial Reef. Bulletin of Marine Science. 1994; 55(2-3): 709-723. 

Demartini, E. E. Barnett, A. M. Johnson, T. D. Ambrose, R. F. Growth and Production Estimates for Biomass-Dominant Fishes on a Southern California Artificial Reef. Bulletin of Marine Science. 1994; 55(2-3): 484-500. 

Ambrose, R. F. Mitigating the Effects of a Coastal Power-Plant on a Kelp Forest Community - Rationale and Requirements for an Artificial Reef. Bulletin of Marine Science. 1994; 55(2-3): 694-708. 

Coyer, J. A. Ambrose, R. F. Engle, J. M. Carroll, J. C. Interactions between Corals and Algae on a Temperate Zone Rocky Reef - Mediation by Sea-Urchins. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology. 1993; 167(1): 21-37. 

Holbrook, S. J. Schmitt, R. J. Ambrose, R. F. Biogenic Habitat Structure and Characteristics of Temperate Reef Fish Assemblages. Australian Journal of Ecology. 1990; 15(4): 489-503. 

Ambrose, R. F. Anderson, T. W. Influence of an Artificial Reef on the Surrounding Infaunal Community. Marine Biology. 1990; 107(1): 41-52. 

Ambrose, R. F. Swarbrick, S. L. Comparison of Fish Assemblages on Artificial and Natural Reefs Off the Coast of Southern-California. Bulletin of Marine Science. 1989; 44(2): 718-733. 

Ambrose, R. F. Leighton, B. J. Hartwick, E. B. Characterization of Boreholes by Octopus-Dofleini in the Bivalve Saxidomus-Giganteus. Journal of Zoology. 1988; 214: 491-503. 

Hartwick, E. B. Robinson, S. M. C. Ambrose, R. F. Trotter, D. Walsh, M. Inshore-Offshore Comparison of Octopus-Dofleini with Special Reference to Abundance, Growth and Physical Condition during Winter. Malacologia. 1988; 29(1): 57-68. 

Ambrose, R. F. Population-Dynamics of Octopus-Bimaculatus - Influence of Life-History Patterns, Synchronous Reproduction and Recruitment. Malacologia. 1988; 29(1): 23-39. 

Coyer, J. A. Engle, J. M. Ambrose, R. F. Nelson, B. V. Utilization of Purple and Red-Sea Urchins (Strongylocentrotus-Purpuratus Stimpson and S-Franciscanus-Agassiz) as Food by the White Sea-Urchin (Lytechinus-Anamesus Clark) in the Field and Laboratory. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology. 1987; 105(1): 21-38. 

Ambrose, R. F. Effects of Octopus Predation on Motile Invertebrates in a Rocky Subtidal Community. Marine Ecology-Progress Series. 1986; 30(2-3): 261-273. 

Hartwick, E. B. Ambrose, R. F. Robinson, S. M. C. Den Utilization and the Movements of Tagged Octopus-Dofleini. Marine Behaviour and Physiology. 1984; 11(2): 95-110. 

Hartwick, E. B. Ambrose, R. F. Robinson, S. M. C. Dynamics of Shallow-Water Populations of Octopus-Dofleini. Marine Biology. 1984; 82(1): 65-72. 

Ambrose, R. F. Food Preferences, Prey Availability, and the Diet of Octopus-Bimaculatus Verrill. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology. 1984; 77(1-2): 29-44. 

Ambrose, R. F. Midden Formation by Octopuses - the Role of Biotic and Abiotic Factors. Marine Behaviour and Physiology. 1983; 10(2): 137-144. 

Ambrose, R. F. Nelson, B. V. Inhibition of Giant-Kelp Recruitment by an Introduced Brown Alga. Botanica Marina. 1982; 25(6): 265-267. 

Ambrose, R. F. Shelter Utilization by the Molluscan Cephalopod Octopus-Bimaculatus. Marine Ecology-Progress Series. 1982; 7(1): 67-73. 

Ambrose, R. F. Observations on the Embryonic-Development and Early Post-Embryonic Behavior of Octopus-Bimaculatus (Mollusca, Cephalopoda). Veliger. 1981; 24(2): 139-146. 

Ambrose, R. F. Importance of Octopus Predation in a Southern-California Subtidal Community. American Zoologist. 1980; 20(4): 884-884. 

Ambrose, R. F. Meehan, T. E. Aggressive-Behavior of Perognathus-Parvus and Peromyscus-Maniculatus. Journal of Mammalogy. 1977; 58(4): 665-668.