Cheryl Ann Zimmer, Ph.D.


Cheryl Ann Zimmer, Ph.D.
Cheryl Zimmer
UCLA - Organismic Biology, Ecology & Evolution
2208 Botany, Box 160606
City, State, ZIP
Los Angeles, California 90095-1606
[email protected]
Award year


Project Details

The Effectiveness of Marine Reserves as Nurseries Adjacent to Areas Impacted by Human Activity

Zimmer's Pew Fellowship addressed the effectiveness of marine reserves as "nurseries" seeding planktonic larvae of bivalves to adjacent ocean floor areas that have been impacted by human activities. Such studies are challenging due to the large numbers of samples required and because the early larval stages of most bivalves cannot be identified using morphological criteria alone. Hence, Zimmer worked collaboratively to develop cost-effective DNA and antibody probes to identify larvae to species in order to assess regional-scale larval dispersal of commercially important bivalves (clams and scallops). This procedure involves the serial application of a generic, or familial, level antibody probe to locate samples in which the targeted species may be present and then a species-specific DNA probe to enumerate the individuals of that species.


Cheryl Ann Zimmer's scientific roots are in conservation biology, as inspired by a particularly dynamic environmentalist/zoology professor at San Jose State University, where she was an undergraduate. Her overall research addresses fluid-dynamics and biological processes in determining the distributions of benthic invertebrates. Zimmer is a world leader in the use of flumes (steady flow tanks) for experimental studies of physical-biological interactions in the laboratory, and in the development of moored instrumentation to do similar studies in the field.

She was on the science staff at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) from 1986 to 2000 and was a senior scientist at the institution. Zimmer is now a professor at UCLA. She has also played a leadership role in developing a national agenda on marine biological diversity. From 1993-1995 she co-chaired a U.S. National Research Council Committee on Biological Diversity in Marine Systems, which produced the book Understanding Marine Biodiversity: A Research Agenda for the Nation and she remains active in national policy issues.



Ph.D., MIT/WHOI Joint Program
1984: Biological Oceanography, Massachusetts, USA

Master of Arts, San Jose State University
1980: Marine Biology, California, USA

Bachelor of Arts, San Jose State University
1976: Zoology, California, USA


Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology
1997-Present: Committee on Conservation

SCOPE Committee
1996-Present: Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning: Soils and Sediments

Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology
1992-Present: Editorial Advisory Board

National Science Foundation, Global Ocean Ecosystems Dynamics (GLOBEC)
1989-Present: Steering Committee

National Research Council, Committee, Biological Diversity in Marine Systems
1993-1995: Co-Chair

National Science Foundation
1988-1992: Advisory Committee for Ocean Sciences


Marine Fellow
1997: Pew Fellows Program in Marine Conservation

1996: American Association for the Advancement of Science

Mellon Independent Study Awards (WHOI)

Young Investigator Award
1986: Office of Naval Research


  • Schubel, J.R. and C.A. Butman. 1998. Keeping a finger on the pulse of marine biodiversity: How healthy is it? In: Nature and Human Society: The Quest for a Sustainable Future (P.H. Raven and T. Williams eds.). National Academy Press, Washington, D.C.
  • Snelgrove, P.V.R., C.A. Butman and J.P. Grassle. 1998. Sediment choice by settling larvae of the bivalve, Spisula solidissima (Dillwyn), in flow and still water. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 231(2): 171
  • Committee on Biological Diversity in Marine Systems. 1995. In: Understanding Marine Biodiversity. National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., p. 114
  • Butman, C.A., M. Fréchette, W.R. Geyer an dV.R. Starczak. 1994. Flume experiments of food supply to mussels as a function of the boundary-layer flow. Limnol. Oceanogr 39:1755-1768
  • Snelgrove, P.V.R., C.A. Butman and J.P. Grassle. 1993. Hydrodynamic enhancement of larval settlement in the bivalve Mulinia lateralis (Say) and the polychaete Capitella sp. I in microdepositional environments. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 168(1): 7
  • Bachelet, G., C.A. Butman and C.M. Webb. 1992. Non-selective settlement of Mercenaria mercenaria (L.) larvae in short-term, still-water, laboratory experiments. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 161(2): 241
  • Findlay, R.H., S.L. Kim and C.A. Butman. 1992. Colonization of freshly deposited barite and silica sediments by marine microorganisms in a laboratory flume flow. Marine Ecology Progress Series 90(1): 73
  • Grassle, J.P., P.V.R. Snelgrove and C.A. Butman. 1992. Larval habitat choice in still water and flume flows by the opportunistic bivalve Mulinia lateralis. Netherlands Journal of Sea Research 30:33
  • Butman, C.A. 1989. Sediment-trap experiments on the importance of hydrodynamical processes in distributing settling invertebrate larvae in near-bottom waters. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 134(1): 37
  • Butman, C.A., J.P. Grassle and E.J. Buskey. 1988. Horizontal swimming and gravitational sinking of Capitella sp. I (Annelida: Polychaeta) larvae: Implications for settlement. Ophelia 29(1): 43

Search Pew Scholars