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Chelsea M. Rochman

Assistant Professor

BSc, UC San Diego
PhD, Joint Program: San Diego State & UC Davis

ESC 3054


Motivated by basic and applied questions, my research seeks to understand the sources, fate and ecological implications of anthropogenic pollutants in freshwater and marine ecosystems. Modern aquatic ecosystems are infiltrated with diverse mixtures of pollutants that can act together as a multiple stressor to alter biotic systems at all levels of biological organization, including populations and communities. Although animals are never exposed to just one contaminant, most studies focus on effects from one or two contaminants at a time. My research program uses tools from ecology, ecotoxicology, environmental chemistry and physiology to investigate (1) the sources, (2) fate and (3) the ecological implications of the complex mixture of contaminants to aquatic habitats. Because microplastics provide a unique opportunity to examine a complex mixture of contaminants, my past and current body of work focuses on microplastics. Their presence is associated with the physical stressor of the particle, innate chemicals added during manufacturing, and chemicals that accumulate on microplastics from surrounding water. I look forward to continuing work on this topic, but also expanding my research to examine other emerging and legacy contaminants. I am also committed to doing ecological research that is applicable to management. To bridge the gap between academia and management, I collaborate with non-profit organizations and government agencies.