Frances Farabaugh

Graduate Student


   PhD Student, Florida International University


Frances Farabaugh is a native of San Diego where she grew up exploring the beaches, tide pools and kelp beds of southern California. She graduated with a B.S. in 2014 from Humboldt State University with a double major in Marine Biology & Zoology and a minor in Scientific Diving. Her passion for biology and science outreach has taken her all over the world and included work as an instructor at Sea Camp San Diego, a scientific blogger for the Smithsonian’s NMNH in Washington, D.C., and research internships with STRI in Panama and OTS in Costa Rica. She is currently a Ph.D. student in the Heithaus Lab at Florida International University. Her research focuses on behavioral ecology of marine predators. In particular, she hopes to elucidate the role sharks play in structuring reef communities by investigating predation risk effects and the functional redundancy of top predators.

    How does shark abundance and community composition vary regionally across French Polynesia in relation to factors such as intensity of human impact and island/reef type?

   Are reef predators such as sharks functionally redundant in coral reef communities? Does health of coral reef communities vary in response to shark and teleost predator abundance?

  How does predator identity and prey type interact to influence the strength of risk effects for both acute and chronic risk? Do these effects cascade to the wider reef community?

    French Polynesia

  New Caledonia

  Investigates factors affecting shark distribution in French Polynesia.

  Investigates the role of multiple predators in one community.

  Studies how prey change their behavior in response to predators on coral reefs.

    Scientist team member for the 2015 & 2016 “Teacher Under the Sea” missions at FIU’s Aquarius Research Base. Worked with K-12 educators and involved them directly in ongoing research. Provided talks and tours from 50 ft. underwater to students from grade school to college.

  Engages the public in research through the use of social and video media across multiple platforms. Including past internship with Smithsonian working on the “No Bones” Science Blog.