GFDL - Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory

Skip to main content

Vincent S. Saba

Research Fishery Biologist

NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service
Northeast Fisheries Science Center
Ecosystem Assessment Program



phone: +1-609-452-6535


My broad, interdisciplinary research interests are in the fields of marine ecosystems and climate variability, fisheries oceanography, climate change impacts on living marine resources, sea turtle biology, ecosystem modeling, and ocean color derived phytoplankton variability. I'm particularly interested in the trophic cascading dynamics within marine ecosystems between lower trophic primary producers and higher trophic organisms through both large- and small-scale climate variability. This includes both bottom-up factors such as resource availability and top-down factors including climate change and fisheries. Since joining the NMFS Northeast Fisheries Science Center's Ecosystem Assessment Program, my current research has mainly focused on the U.S. Northeast Continental Shelf Large Marine Ecosystem. I'm investigating the implications of climate forced changes in phytoplankton abundance and size-class structure on upper trophic fishery resources and protected species. Additionally, I'm considering climate-forced changes in the critical habitats of various species in terms of physiological constraints (i.e. temperature and oxygen) and larval settlement (circulation changes). Understanding contemporary relationships between climate, oceanography, and lower/upper trophic levels is a critical step towards assessing potential impacts of climate change on living marine resources. My research is geared to aid in the process of moving forward towards Ecosystem-Based Fisheries Management. The complex biophysical interactions within marine food webs, coupled with the complicated business of assessing the impacts of fisheries on marine ecosystems (and vice versa) requires interdisciplinary research to elucidate the primary mechanistic underpinnings driving historical, contemporary, and future variability/trends of living marine resources. To accomplish this, I collaborate with a wide range of fellow scientists at NMFS and GFDL, along with those in academia and other national/international organizations.


Saba, V.S., Hyde, K.J.W., Rebuck. N.D., Friedland, K.D., Hare, J.A., Kahru, M., Fogarty, M.J. 2015. Physical associations to spring phytoplankton biomass interannual variability in the U.S. Northeast Continental Shelf. Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences, 120(2), 205-220. Link to pdf.

Cimino, M.A., Fraser, W.R., Patterson-Fraser, D.L., Saba, V.S., Oliver, M.J. 2014. Large-scale climate and local weather drive interannual variability in Adélie penguin chick fledging mass. Marine Ecology Progress Series 513, 253-268. Link to pdf.

Saba, G.K., Fraser, W.R., Saba, V.S., Iannuzzi, R.A., Coleman, K.E., Doney, S.C., Ducklow, H.W., Martinson, D.G., Miles, T.N., Patterson-Fraser, D.L., Stammerjohn, S.E., Steinberg, D.K., Schofield, O. 2014. Winter and spring controls on the summer food web of the coastal West Antarctic Peninsula. Nature Communications 5, 4318. Link to pdf.

Robinson, N.J., Valentine, S.E., Santidrián-Tomillo P., Saba, V.S., Spotila, J.R., Paladino, F.V. 2014. Multidecadal trends in the nesting phenology of Pacific and Atlantic leatherback turtles are associated with population demography. Endangered Species Research 24(3), 197-206.  Link to pdf.

Polovina, J.J., Hobday, A.J., Koslow, J.A., Saba, V.S. 2014. Open Ocean Systems. In: The Sea Volume 16: Marine Ecosystem-Based Management (eds M.J. Fogarty and J.J. McCarthy), p. 429-473.  Link to publisher.

Arendt, M.D., Schwenter, J.A., Witherington, B.E., Meylan, A.B., Saba, V.S. 2013. Historical versus contemporary climate forcing on the annual nesting variability of loggerhead sea turtles in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean. PLoS ONE 8(12): e81097. Link to pdf.

Saba, V.S. 2013. Oceanic habits and habitats: Dermochelys. In: The Biology of Sea Turtles Volume III (eds. J. Wyneken, J. Musick, and K. Lohmann), p. 163-188. Link to publisher.

Saba, V.S., Stock, C.A., Spotila, J.R., Paladino, F.P., Santidrián-Tomillo, P. 2012. Projected response of an endangered marine turtle population to climate change. Nature Climate Change, 2, 814-820. Link to pdf.

Saba, V.S. 2012. Sea Turtles in the Tropical High Seas: Climate Variability, Oceanography, and Ecosystem Responses. In: Sea Turtles of the Eastern Pacific: Advances in Research and Conservation (eds J.A. Seminoff and B.P. Wallace), University of Arizona Press, 368 p.  Link to publisher.

Santidrián-Tomillo, P., Saba, V.S., Blanco, G.S., Stock, C.A., Paladino, F.V., Spotila, J.R. 2012. Climate driven egg and hatchling mortality threaten survival of eastern Pacific leatherback turtles. PLoS One, 7(5), e37602. Link to pdf.

Saba, V.S., Friedrichs, M.A.M., Antoine, D., Armstrong, R.A., Asanuma, I., Aumont, O., Behrenfeld, M.J., Ciotti, A.M., Dowell, M., Hoepffner, N., Hyde, K.J.W., Ishizaka, J., Kameda, T., Marra, J., Mélin, F., Moore, J.K., Morel, A., O’Reilly, J., Scardi, M., Smith Jr., W.O., Smyth, T.J., Tang, S., Uitz, J., Waters, K., Westberry, T.K. 2011. An evaluation of ocean color model estimates of marine primary productivity in coastal and pelagic regions across the globe. Biogeosciences, 8, 489-503. Link to pdf.

Saba, V.S., Friedrichs, M.A.M., Carr, M-E., Antoine, D., Armstrong, R.A., Asanuma, I., Aumont, O., Bates, N.R., Behrenfeld, M.J., Bennington, V., Bopp, L., Bruggeman, J., Buitenhuis, E.T., Church, M.J., Ciotti, A.M., Doney, S.C., Dowell, M., Dunne, J., Dutkiewicz, S., Gregg, W., Hoepffner, N., Hyde, K.J.W., Ishizaka, J., Kameda, T., Karl, D.M., Lima, I., Lomas, M.W., Marra, J., McKinley, G.A., Mélin, F., Moore, J.K., Morel, A., O’Reilly, J., Salihoglu, B., Scardi, M., Smyth,  T.J., Tang, S., Tjiputra, J., Uitz, J., Vichi, M., Waters, K., Westberry, T.K., Yool,  A. 2010. Challenges of modeling depth-integrated marine primary productivity over multiple decades: A case study at BATS and HOT. Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 24, GB3020, doi:10.1029/2009GB003655. Link to pdf.

Mansfield, K.L., Saba, V.S., Keinath, J.A., Musick, J.A. 2009. Satellite tracking reveals a dichotomy in migration strategies among juvenile loggerhead turtles in the Northwest Atlantic. Marine Biology, 156, 2555-2570. Link to pdf.

Suryan, R.M., Saba, V.S., Wallace, B.P., Hatch, S.A., Frederiksen, M., Wanless, S. 2009. Environmental forcing on life history strategies: Evidence for multi-trophic level responses at ocean basin scales. Progress in Oceanography, 81 (1-4), 214-222. Link to pdf.

Wallace, B.P., Saba, V.S. 2009. Environmental and anthropogenic impacts on intra-specific variation in life history traits and population trends of leatherback turtles: Opportunities for targeted research and conservation. Endangered Species Research, 7 (1), 11-21. Link to pdf.

Friedrichs, M. A. M., Carr, M-E., Barber, R.T., Scardi, M., Antoine, D., Armstrong, R.A., Asanuma, I., Behrenfeld, M.J., Buitenhuis, E.T., Chai, F., Christian, J.R., Ciotti, A.M., Doney, S.C., Dowell, M., Dunne, J., Gentili, B., Gregg, W., Hoepffner, N., Ishizaka, J., Kameda, T., Lima, I., Marra, J., Mélin, F., Moore, J.K., Morel, A., O’Malley, R.T., O’Reilly, J., Saba, V.S., Schmeltz, M., Smyth, T.J., Tjiputra, J., Waters, K., Westberry, T.K., Winguth, A. 2009. Assessing the uncertainties of model estimates of primary productivity in the tropical Pacific Ocean. Journal of Marine Systems, 76 (1-2), 113-133. Link to pdf.

Saba, V.S., Spotila, J.R., Chavez, F.P., Musick, J.A. 2008. Bottom-up and climatic forcing on the worldwide population of leatherback turtles. Ecology 89 (5), 1414-1427. Link to pdf. Editor's Choice in the journal Science.

Saba, V.S., Shillinger, G.L., Swithenbank, A.M., Block, B.A., Spotila, J.R., Musick, J.A., Paladino, F.V. 2008. An oceanographic context for the foraging ecology of eastern Pacific leatherback turtles: Consequences of ENSO. Deep-Sea Research I 55 (5), 646-660. Link to pdf.

Santidrián-Tomillo, P., Saba, V.S., Piedra, R., Paladino, F.V., Spotila, J.R. 2008. Effects of illegal harvest of eggs on the population decline of leatherback turtles in Marino Las Baulas National Park, Costa Rica. Conservation Biology 22 (5), 1216-1224. Link to pdf.

Saba, V.S., Santidrián-Tomillo, P., Reina, R.D., Spotila, J.R., Musick, J.A., Evans, D.A., Paladino, F.V. 2007. The effect of the El Niño Southern Oscillation on the reproductive frequency of eastern Pacific leatherback turtles. Journal of Applied Ecology 44 (2), 395-404. Link to pdf.

Saba, V.S. and Spotila, J.R. 2003. Survival and behavior of freshwater turtles after rehabilitation from an oil spill. Environmental Pollution 126 (2), 213-223. Link to pdf.

Professional Service

Review Editor – Endangered Species Research

Editorial Board Member – Nature: Scientific Reports