Jon Lefcheck

Research Scientist
Jon Lefcheck
Research Scientist
Integration and Application Network


I am a marine community ecologist, biodiversity scientist, and ecological statistician. I test and employ ecological theory to inform nature-based solutions to mitigate response to climate change and other anthropogenic impacts. I have worked in a variety of ecosystems, from marine to terrestrial, but have an special and enduring affinity for seagrasses and other underwater vegetation.

To help with my research, I develop new statistical methods and approaches, principally structural equation modeling (SEM). I write and maintain an R package to conduct SEM and teach international courses on the applications of this method. You can read more about SEM in all its forms in my online book.

Prior to joining UMCES, I was the Tennenbaum Coordinating Scientist for the Smithsonian Institution’s MarineGEO program, and a post-doctoral researcher at Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in East Boothbay, ME and at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science in Gloucester Point, VA. I received my Ph.D. in Marine Science from The College of William & Mary in 2015.

Areas of Expertise

  • community ecology
  • marine conservation
  • marine restoration
  • biodiversity
  • statistics


  • Ph.D., Marine Science, The College of William & Mary, 2015
  • B.A., Biology, Colby College, 2009