Tessa Francis, Ph.D.


Tessa Francis, Ph.D.

Lead Ecosystem Ecologist, PI
estuarine ecology and modeling


Tessa Francis is the Lead Ecosystem Ecologist at the Puget Sound Institute, and the Managing Director of the Ocean Modeling Forum. Tessa holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley; a B.S. in Wildlife Science from the University of Washington; and a Ph.D. in Zoology and Urban Ecology from the University of Washington.

Scholarly interests

Tessa is an aquatic ecologist, and her research is related to aquatic food webs, and the impacts of environmental variables and human activities on aquatic species and food-web dynamics. She is interested in the important associations between terrestrial and aquatic habitats, and how watershed and shoreline dynamics impact aquatic food webs and populations. At PSI, Tessa is engaged in projects related to ecosystem-based management of forage fish in Puget Sound, including Pacific herring; food-web dynamics, including trade-offs among trophically-linked targets for recovery (salmon and herring); and linking best available science to ecosystem-based management of Puget Sound. At the Ocean Modeling Forum, Tessa helps bring together multidisciplinary working groups to improve model-based advice for ocean management, using multi-model approaches.


  • Editor, Encyclopedia of Puget Sound
  • Northwest Straits Commission Science Advisory Board
  • Puget Sound Ecosystem Monitoring Program, Forage Fish Working Group
  • Ecological Society of America
  • American Society of Limnology and Oceanography