Ronald Baker, Ph.D.

Senior Marine Scientist I, Dauphin Island Sea Lab

Assistant Professor, University of South Alabama

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Ronald Baker is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Marine Sciences at the University of South Alabama, and Senior Marine Scientist at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab.

He completed his undergraduate and PhD at James Cook University in Queensland, Australia, and post-docs with NOAA Fisheries in Galveston Texas and the Smithsonian at the Marine Station in Fort Pierce Florida.

Ron teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on fish, fisheries, and coastal ecology at DISL/USA.


  • Marine vertebrate zoology
  • Quantitative Methods in Fisheries and Ecology

CV Google Scholar


Ron’s research focuses on the functional roles of coastal ecosystems in support of fisheries, particularly their role as nurseries for fishery species.

Baker Lab Website



  • de Barros, MSF, Rodriguez AR, Bland A, Baker R. Assessing habitat enhancement by living shoreline restoration: exploring potential caveats of nekton community metrics. Restoration Ecology 31(5) e13935.
  • Bardou R, Osland MJ, Scyphers S, Shepard C, Aerni KE, Alemu I JB, Crimian R, Day RH, Enwright NM, Feher LC, Gibbs SL, O’Donnell K, Swinea SH, Thorne K, Truskey S, Armitage AR, Baker R, Breithaupt JL, Cavanaugh KC, Cebrian J, Cummins K, Devlin DJ, Doty J, Ellis WL, Feller IC, Gabler CA Kang Y, Kaplan DA, Kennedy JP, Krauss KW, Lamont MM, Liu K, Martinez M, Matheny AM, McClenachan GM, McKee KL, Mendelssohn IA, Michot TC, Miller CJ, Moon JA, Moyer RP, Nelson J, O’Connor R, Pahl JW, Pitchford JL, Proffitt CE, Quirk T, Radabaugh KR, Scheffel WA, Smee DL, Snyder CM, Sparks E, Swanson KM, Vervaeke WC, Weaver CA, Willis J, Yando ES, Yao Q, Hughes AR. Rapidly Changing Range Limits in a Warming World: Critical Data Limitations and Knowledge Gaps for Advancing Understanding of Mangrove Range Dynamics in the Southeastern USA. Estuaries and Coasts 46: 1123-1140.
  • Legaspi C, de Barros MSF, Rodriguez AR, Baker R. Assessment of living shorelines for restoring fish habitats: a case study from coastal Alabama. Gulf and Caribbean Research 34:SC1-SC5.


  • Baker, R. , D. Bilbrey, A. Bland, F. D'Alonzo III, H. Ehrmann, S. Havard, Z. Porter, S. Ramsden, and A. R. Rodriguez. Underwater Video as a Tool to Quantify Fish Density in Complex Coastal Habitats. Habitats. Diversity 2022, 14, 50.
  • Bradley M, Nagelkerken I, Baker R, Travers M, Sheaves M. Local environmental context structures animal-habitat associations across biogeographic regions. Ecosystems 25:237-251.


  • Ziegler, S.L., R. Baker, S.C. Crosby, D.D. Colombano, M.A. Barbeau, J. Cebrian, R.M. Connolly, L.A. Deegan, B.L. Gilby, D. Mallick, C.W. Martin, J.A. Nelson, J. F. Reinhardt, C.A. Simenstad, N.J. Waltham, T.A. Worthington, and L.P. Rozas. Geographic Variation in Salt Marsh Structure and Function for Nekton: a Guide to Finding Commonality Across Multiple Scales. Estuaries and Coasts. 44, pages1497–1507.
  • zu Ermgassen, P.S.E., DeAngelis, B., Gair, J.R. et al. Estimating and Applying Fish and Invertebrate Density and Production Enhancement from Seagrass, Salt Marsh Edge, and Oyster Reef Nursery Habitats in the Gulf of Mexico. Estuaries and Coasts. 44, 1588–1603.
  • Gilby, B.L., M. P. Weinstein. R. Baker, J. Cebrian, S.B. Alford, A. Chelsky, D. Colombano, R.M. Connolly, C. A. Currin, I.C. Feller, A. Frank, J.A. Goeke, L.A. Goodridge Gaines, F. E. Hardcastle, C. J. Henderson, C. W. Martin, A. E. McDonald, B. H. Morrison, A. D. Olds, J. S. Rehage, N.J. Waltham, and S.L. Ziegler. Human Actions Alter Tidal Marsh Seascapes and the Provision of Ecosystem Services. Estuaries and Coasts. 44, 1628–1636.
  • zu Ermgassen, P.S.E., Baker, R., Beck, M.W. et al. Ecosystem Services: Delivering Decision-Making for Salt Marshes. Estuaries and Coasts. 44, 1691–1698.
  • Baker, R., K. Abrantes, and I.C. Feller. Stable Isotopes Suggest Limited Role of Wetland Macrophyte Production Supporting Aquatic Food Webs Across a Mangrove-Salt Marsh Ecotone. Estuaries and Coasts. 44, pages1619–1627.
  • Taylor, M.D., R. Baker, C. Simenstad, and M. P. Weinstein. Concepts and Controversies in Tidal Marsh Ecology Revisited. Estuaries and Coasts.
  • Colombano, D.D., S.Y. Litvin, S.L. Ziegler, S.B. Alford, R. Baker, M.A. Barbeau, J. Cebrian, R.M. Connolly, C.A. Currin, L. A Deegan, J. S. Lesser, C. W. Martin, A. E. McDonald, C. McLuckie, B. H. Morrison, J.W. Pahl, L.M. Risse, J.A.M. Smith, L. W. Staver, R.E. Turner, and N. J. Waltham. Climate Change Implications for Tidal Marshes and Food Web Linkages to Estuarine and Coastal Nekton. Estuaries and Coasts. 44, 1637–1648.
  • R. Baker and M. Sheaves. Predation in littoral habitats is a complex process: Comment on Whitfield. Mar Ecol Prog Ser. 662:205-208.


  • Baker, R. and N. Waltham. Tethering mobile aquatic organisms to measure predation: A renewed call for caution. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology. 523.
  • Bradley, M., I. Nagelkerken, R. Baker, and M. Sheaves. Context Dependence: A Conceptual Approach for Understanding the Habitat Relationships of Coastal Marine Fauna. BioScience. biaa100.
  • Baker, R., M.d. Taylor, K.W. Able, M.W. Beck, J. Cebrian, D. D. Colombano, R. M. Connolly, C. Currin, L. A. Deegan, I. C. Feller, B. L. Gilby, M. E. Kimball, T. J. Minello, L. P. Rozas, C. Simenstad, R. E. Turner, N. J. Waltham, M. P. Weinstein, S. L. Ziegler, P. S.E. zu Ermgassen, C. Alcott, S. B. Alford, M. A. Barbeau, S. C. Crosby, K. Dodds, A. Frank, J. Goeke, L. A. Goodridge Gaines, F. E. Hardcastle, C. J. Henderson, W. R. James, M. D. Kenworthy, J. Lesser, D. Mallick, C. W. Martin, Fisheries rely on threatened salt marshes. Science.Vol. 370, Issue 6517. pp. 670-671.
  • Curry, T., J. Krause, and R. Baker. Small-Scale Variability in Carbon Isotope Ratios of Microphytobenthos and Dissolved Inorganic Carbon in a Northern Gulf of Mexico Salt Marsh. Gulf and Caribbean Research 31, (1): SC41-SC45.


  • Donaldson, J.A., P. Drews, Jr., M. Bradley, D.L. Morgan, R. Baker, and B.C. Ebner . Countering low visibility in video survey of an estuarine fish assemblage. Pacific Conservation Biology.
  • Baker, R., A. Barnett, M. Bradley, K. Abrantes, and M. Sheaves. Contrasting Seascape Use by a Coastal Fish Assemblage: a Multi-methods Approach Estuaries and Coasts. 42 (1) 292-307.
  • Eurich, J.G., J.K. Matley, R. Baker, M.I. McCormick, and G.P. Jones. Stable isotope analysis reveals trophic diversity and partitioning in territorial damselfishes on a low-latitude coral reef Marine Biology 166:17.
  • Dubuc, A., N.J. Waltham, R. Baker, C. Marchand, and M. Sheaves. Patterns of fish utilisation in a tropical Indo-Pacific mangrove-coral seascape, New Caledonia. PLoS One. 14(4):e0207168.
  • Bradley, M., R. Baker, I. Nagelkerken, and M. Sheaves. Context is more important than habitat type in determining use by juvenile fish. Landscape Ecol. 34:427.
  • Deleon, S.N., J.W. Krause, and R. Baker. Variability in microphytobenthos biomass and carbon isotopic values in shallow coastal waters of the northern Gulf of Mexico. Gulf and Caribbean Research. 30, SC22-SC27.


  • Buelow, C.A., A. E. Reside, R. Baker, and M. Sheaves. Stable isotopes reveal opportunistic foraging in a spatiotemporally heterogeneous environment: Bird assemblages in mangrove forests PLoS One. 13(11): e0206145.
  • Buelow CA, Baker R, Reside AE, Sheaves M. Nutrient subsidy indicators predict the presence of an avian mobile-link species. Ecological Indicators, 89:507-515.
  • Baker R, Bradley M, Freddi S, Abrantes K, Barnett A, Sheaves M . Non-lethal aging of tropical catch-and-release sport fishery species. Fisheries Research 207: 110-117.


  • Buelow CA, Baker R, Reside AE, Sheaves M. Spatial dynamics of coastal forest bird assemblages: the influence of landscape context, forest type, and structural connectivity. Landscape Ecology, 32: 547-561.
  • Buckland A, Baker R, Loneragan N, Sheaves M. Standardising fish stomach content analysis: The importance of prey condition. Fisheries Research, 196: 126-140.
  • Bradley M, Baker R, Sheaves M. Hidden components in tropical seascapes: Deep-estuary habitats support unique fish assemblages. Estuaries and Coasts, 40: 1195-1206.
  • Sheaves M, Baker R, Abrantes K, Connolly RM. Fish biomass in tropical estuaries: substantial variation in food web structure, sources of nutrition, and ecosystem-supporting processes. Estuaries and Coasts, 40: 580-593.
  • Dunbar K, Baker R, and Sheaves M. Effects of forest width on fish use of fringing mangroves in a highly urbanized tropical estuary. Marine and Freshwater Research, 68: 1764-1770.


  • R. Baker. Project Progress Report to Papua New Guinea National Fisheries Authority. James Cook University, Australia. 14pp.
  • Sheaves M, Johnston R, Baker R. Use of mangrove by fish: new insights from in-forest videos. Marine Ecology Progress Series 549: 167-182.
  • Sheaves M, Baker R, McLeod I, Abrantes K, Wani J, Barnett A. The conservation status of Niugini Black Bass: a world-renowned sport fish with an uncertain future. Fisheries Management and Ecology 23: 243-252.
  • Barnett A, Abrantes KG, Baker R, Diedrich A, Kuilboer A, Mahony T, McLeod I, Moscardo G, Prideaux M, van Luyn A, Sheaves M . Sportfisheries, conservation, and sustainable livelihoods: A multidisciplinary assessment of best practice. Fish and Fisheries 17: 696-713.


  • Nagelkerken I, Sheaves M, Baker R, Connolly R. The seascape nursery: a novel spatial approach to identify and manage nurseries for coastal marine fauna. Fish and Fisheries 16:362-371.
  • Abrantes KG, Barnett, A, Baker R, Sheaves M. Habitat-specific food webs and trophic interactions supporting coastal-dependent fishery species: An Australian case study. Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries 25: 337-363.
  • Sheaves M, Baker R, Nagelkerken I, Connolly RM. True values of estuarine and coastal nurseries for fish: incorporating complexity and dynamics. Estuaries and Coasts 38:401-414.
  • Baker R, Sheaves M, Johnston R. Geographic variation in functional access to tidal wetlands. Hydrobiologia 762: 1-14.


  • Baker R, Fujiwara M, Minello T. Juvenile growth and mortality effects on white shrimp Litopenaeus setiferus population dynamics in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Fisheries Research 155:74-82.
  • Baker R, *Buckland A, Sheaves M. Fish gut content analysis: robust measures of diet composition. Fish and Fisheries 15:170-177.
  • Frisch AJ, Ireland M, Baker R. Trophic ecology of large predatory reef fishes: energy pathways, trophic level, and implications for fisheries in a changing climate. Marine Biology 161:61-73.
  • Davis B, Baker R, Sheaves M. Seascape and metacommunity processes regulate fish assemblage structure in coastal wetlands. Marine Ecology Progress Series 500:187-202.


  • Baker R, Fry B, Rozas L, Minello T. Hydrodynamic regulation of salt marsh contributions to aquatic food webs. Marine Ecology Progress Series 490:37-52.
  • Sheaves M, Johnston R, Johnson A, Connolly R, Baker R. Nursery function drives termporal patterns in fish assemblage structure in four tropical estuaries. Estuaries and Coasts 36:893-905.



  • Baker R, Minello T. Trade-offs between logistics and gear selectivity when sampling nekton from shallow open-water habitats: a gear comparison study. Gulf and Caribbean Research 23:37-48.


  • Baker R, Minello T. Growth and mortality of juvenile white shrimp, Litopenaeus setiferus in a marsh pond. Marine Ecology Progress Series 413:95-104.


  • Baker R, Sheaves M. Refugees or ravenous predators: detecting predation on new recruits to tropical estuarine nurseries. Wetlands Ecology and Management 17:317-330.
  • Baker R, Sheaves M. Overlooked small and juvenile piscivores dominate shallow-water estuarine “refuges” in tropical Australia. Estuarine Coastal and Shelf Science 85:618-626.


  • Frisch A, Baker R, Hobbs J-P, Nankervis L. A quantitative comparison of recreational spearfishing and linefishing on the Great Barrier Reef: implications for management of multi-sector coral reef fisheries. Coral Reefs 27:85-95.


  • Baker R, Sheaves M. Shallow water refuge paradigm: conflicting evidence from tethering experiments in a tropical estuary. Marine Ecology Progress Series 349:13-22.


  • Sheaves M, Baker R, Johnston R. Marine nurseries and effective juvenile habitats: an alternative view. Marine Ecology Progress Series 318:303-306.
  • Baker R, Sheaves M. Visual surveys reveal high densities of large piscivores in shallow estuarine nurseries. Marine Ecology Progress Series 323:75-82.


  • Baker R, Sheaves M. Redefining the piscivore assemblage of shallow estuarine nursery habitats. Marine Ecology Progress Series 291:197-213.