Interdisciplinary Research Biologist
Ocean Molecular Ecology
Dr. Zachary Gold is the group lead for the PMEL 'Omics program. His research leverages the power of genomics tools, particularly DNA metabarcoding, to conduct detailed assessments of marine community diversity, identifying, and unraveling the complex assembly and trophic interactions that drive ecosystem health. His research is focused on understanding how climate change (ocean acidification/hypoxia and warming oceans) are impacting the Pacific through innovative 'Omics applications as well as developing routine eDNA biomonitoring of key coastal and estuary species and habitats. Critically, his research directly informs conservation and resource management priorities, engages community scientists, and trains the next generation of diverse marine scientists.
Zack comes to PMEL from the Southern California Coastal Watershed Research Project and California Cooperative Fisheries Investigations (CalCOFI) where he lead the development and application of 'Omics methods, particularly environmental DNA (eDNA), for marine conservation efforts. Before this, he was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Washington and the NOAA Northwest Fisheries Science Center working with Dr. Kim Parsons and Prof. Ryan Kelly using eDNA to better understand the trophic ecology and foraging behavior of endangered Cook Inlet Beluga Whales. He received his PhD from UCLA (2020) and B.S. in Marine Biology from Stanford University (2015). Zack is originally from Santa Monica, CA, and is an avid hiker, bike commuter, former ocean lifeguard, National Geographic Young Explorer, and underwater photographer.