Rebecca Asch

Ph.D., Biological Oceanography

2013-2016 Senior Research Fellow (Princeton University)

Assistant Professor of Fisheries Biology, East Carolina University

Rebecca Asch is a fisheries oceanographer whose research focuses on interactions between fisheries, plankton ecology, and climate. Her research combines fieldwork, time series analysis, and ecosystem modeling, spanning local-to-global and subseasonal-to-centennial scales. Rebecca’s research primarily investigates whether climate change could lead to increased seasonal mismatches between trophic levels. Many fishes spawn synchronously with plankton blooms to maximize food availability for their offspring. Seasonal timing of both fish reproduction and plankton blooms is changing under global warming, but these shifts do not always occur at the same rate. Mismatches between trophic levels can lead to lower recruitment and decreased fisheries productivity.


Asch et al (2017) Future marine ecosystem drivers, biodiversity and fisheries maximum catch potential in Pacific Island countries and territories under climate change:

Singh, G. G., Cisneros-Montemayor, A. M., Swartz, W., Cheung, W., Guy, J. A., Kenny, T. A., McOwen, C. J., Asch. R., Geffert, J. L., Wabnitz, C. C. C., Sumaila, U. R., Hanich, Q., Ota, Y., 2017, A rapid assessment of co-benefits and trade-offs among Sustainable Development Goals, Marine Policy,, link

Cheung W., Frölicher T., Asch R., Jones M., Pinsky M., Reygondeau G., Rodgers K., Rykaczewski R., Sarmiento J., Stock C., Watson J., 2015, Building confidence in projections of the responses of living marine resources to climate change, Climate Change, Marine Management, ICES Journal of Marine Science, link

Coble A., Asch R., Rivero-Calle S., Heerhartz S., Holding J., Kremer C., Finiguerra M., Strock, K., 2016, Climate Is Variable, but Is Our Science?, Marine Ecosystem, Climate Change, Limnology and Oceanography Bulletinlink

Asch R., 2015, Climate change and decadal shifts in the phenology of larval fishes in the California Current ecosystem, Marine Ecosystem, Climate Change, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS)link

Checkley, D., Asch, R., Rykaczewski, R., 2017, Climate, Anchovy, and Sardine, Marine Ecosystem, Climate Change, Annual Review of Marine Science, Volume 9, link

Asch R., Pilcher D., Rivero-Calle S., Holding J., 2016, Demystifying Models: Answers to Ten Common Questions That Ecologists Have About Earth System Models, Marine Ecosystem, Climate Change, Limnology and Oceanography Bulletinlink

Asch, R. G., Cheung, W. W. L., Reygondeau, G., 2017. Future marine ecosystem drivers, biodiversity, and fisheries maximum catch potential in Pacific Island countries and territories under climate change, Fisheries, Biodiversity, Marine Policy,, link

Tommasi, D., Stock, C. A., Hobday, A. J., Methot, R., Kaplan, I. C., Eveson, J. P., Holsman, K., Miller, T. J., Gaichas, S., Gehlen, M., Pershing, A., Vecchi, G. A., Msadek, R., Delworth, T., Eakin, C. M., Haltuch, M. A., Séférian, R., Spillman, C. M., Hartog, J. R., Siedlecki, S., Samhouri, J. F., Muhling, B., Asch, R. G., Pinsky, M. L., Saba, V. S., Kapnick, S. B., Gaitan, C. B., Rykaczewski, R. R., Alexander, M. A., Xue, Y., Pegion, K. V., Lynch, P., Payne, M. R., Kristiansen, T., Lehodey, P., Werner, F. E., 2017, Managing living marine resources in a dynamic environment: The role of seasonal to decadal climate forecasts, Fisheries Management, Climate Change, Progress in Oceanography, 52, 15-49, link

Stock, C. A., John, J. G., Rykaczewski, R. R., Asch, R. G., Cheung, W. W. L., Dunne, J. P., Friedland, K. D., Lam, V. W. Y., Sarmiento, J. L., Watson, R. A. , 2017, Reconciling fisheries catch and ocean productivity, Fisheries Management, Biodiversity, Policy, PNAS, doi:10.1073, link

Friedland K., Record N., Asch R., Kristiansen T., Saba V., Drinkwater K., Henson S., Leaf R., Morse R., Johns D., Large S., Hjøllo, Nye J., Alexander M., Ji R., 2016, Seasonal phytoplankton blooms in the North Atlantic linked to the overwintering strategies of copepods, Marine Ecosystem, Oceanography, Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene, Volume 4, link

Friedland K.D., Leaf R.T., Kane J., Tommasi D., Asch R.G., Rebuck N., Ji R., Large S.I., Stockk C., Saba V.S., 2015, Spring bloom dynamics and zooplankton biomass response on the US Northeast Continental Shelf, Biodiversity, Aquaculture, Continental Shelf Research, vol 102, pages 47-61, link

The East Carolina University (ECU) Fisheries Oceanography Lab is now open and being run by Rebecca Asch, a Senior Nereus Fellow at Princeton University from 2013 to 2016.

November 7, 2017

Climate change is resulting in the earlier arrival of spring conditions in many ecosystems around the world.

December 1, 2015 | Climate Change

In spring, as the plant buds push up through the ground and the days get warmer and longer, the baby salmon fry hatch out of their eggs and start swimming and feeding. At this time, their food – phytoplankton – should also bloom.

September 26, 2016 | Climate ChangeFisheries

“Seasonal phytoplankton blooms in the North Atlantic linked to the overwintering strategies of copepods,” co-authored by Nereus Fellow Rebecca Asch (Princeton University), was recently published in Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene.

Past Event

25 January 2018 - 27 January 2018

From January 25 to 27, 2018, Nereus Alumnus Rebecca Asch will be attending the 32nd Annual Tidewater American Fisheries Society (AFS) Meeting in North Carolina. The event will feature a Roundtable panel discussion, a poster session, and plenary talks.
Past Event

6 March 2017 - 11 March 2017

Nereus Fellow Rebecca Asch will be attending this symposium, which has the goal of revitalizing nternational cooperation on investigations of small pelagic fishes, and developing a framework to address unresolved questions, such as the impact of climate and fishing pressure on the resilience of small pelagic populations.
Past Event

15 March 2017 - 15 March 2017

Nereus Alumna and Assistant Professor at East Carolina University Rebecca Asch has been invited to speak at at Horn Point Laboratory (HPL), a part of the University of Maryland's Center for Environmental Science.
Past Event

20 May 2017 - 25 May 2017

Nereus Program Alumnus Rebecca Asch (Princeton University/East Carolina University), Fellow Colleen Petrik (Princeton University), Fellow Gabriel Reygondeau (University of British Columbia), and Fellow Maria de Oca (Duke University) will be convening the session "Beyond physics-to-fish: Integrative impacts of climate change on living marine resources" at the JpGU-AGU Joint Meeting Session

Nereus alumnus Rebecca Asch (East Carolina University) writes a blog about her upcoming publication in the journal Global Change Biology, which focuses on how climate change is influencing seasonality, thereby creating critical mismatches in the timing between fish spawning and phytoplankton blooms in marine food webs.