CordellJeff Cordell

Principal Research Scientist, Wetland Ecosystem Team
phone: 206-543-7532



My research covers a variety of topics, all of which are tied together by my interest in how human activities affect aquatic ecosystems. Although my work has taken me to both coasts of the United States, the Arctic, and the South Pacific, I have most enjoyed those that have involved restoring habitat in the Pacific Northwest. I am also interested in the taxonomy of small crustaceans such as amphipods and copepods. In order to understand patterns of diversity, community ecology, and other aspects of ecosystem health, it is important to be able to identify the plants and animals in that system. Morphological taxonomy, the science of identifying and classifying organisms, has been neglected for many of the small invertebrates in recent years. I have spent much of my career learning to identify these organisms, and I enjoy passing this knowledge on to students and other researchers.

Examples of my current research include:

  • Understanding how juvenile salmon and their invertebrate prey are are affected by the built environment—seawalls, beach armoring, and overwater piers—and testing strategies for improving habitat conditions around these structures.
  • Documenting long-term trends in non-indigenous zooplankton species in the ballast water of ships entering local waters, with the goal of determining the effectiveness of ballast water management techniques.
  • Following the introduction and spread of invasive planktonic copepods in northeast Pacific estuaries and gathering data about how they affect food webs and community ecology of invaded habitats.
  • Measuring the development trajectories and effectiveness of restored habitat in tidal wetlands using metrics such as fish use and invertebrate production.

Areas of Expertise

  • Invasive species
  • Wetland habitat restoration
  • Urban ecology
  • Plankton ecology
  • Invertebrate taxonomy

Select Publications

  • Munsch, S. H., Cordell, J. R., Toft, J. D., & Morgan, E. E. (2014). Effects of seawalls and piers on fish assemblages and juvenile salmon feeding behavior. North American Journal of Fisheries Management, 34(4), 814-827.
  • Cordell, J. R., Levy, C., & Toft, J. D. (2013). Ecological implications of invasive tunicates associated with artificial structures in Puget Sound, Washington, USA. Biological invasions, 15(6), 1303-1318.
  • Cordell, J. R., Toft, J. D., Gray, A., Ruggerone, G. T., & Cooksey, M. (2011). Functions of restored wetlands for juvenile salmon in an industrialized estuary. Ecological Engineering, 37(2), 343-353.
  • Cordell, J. R., Tear, L. M., & Bollens, S. M. (2010). Modelling physico-chemical factors affecting occurrences of a non-indigenous planktonic copepod in northeast Pacific estuaries. Biological invasions, 12(5), 1427-1445.
  • Cordell, J. R., Lawrence, D. J., Ferm, N. C., Tear, L. M., Smith, S. S., & Herwig, R. P. (2009). Factors influencing densities of non‐indigenous species in the ballast water of ships arriving at ports in Puget Sound, Washington, United States. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems, 19(3), 322-343.

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