Luke Miller

Department of Biology
Assistant Professor, Biology

Office/Lab: SDSU Main Campus, Physical Sciences 150A/150
Phone: 619-594-5391 (office)/619-594-3122 (lab)

Miller Lab

Luke Miller is a marine biologist that can’t decide whether to write in the 1st person or 3rd person on websites. I am an Assistant Professor in the Biology Department at San Diego State University (part of the California State University system) in San Diego, CA. My research interests include ecophysiology and biomechanics, particularly examining the effects of thermal stress, climate change, and species interactions in rocky intertidal communities. I pretend to be a competent programmer in R, C++, MATLAB, and LabVIEW. I dabble in electronics for two purposes: cooking and carrying out temperature stress experiments on intertidal organisms, and I am a strong believer in studying organisms that you can eat.
I am primarily interested in how marine organisms deal with the physical environment including the weather and waves, as well as how organisms deal with each other via competition and predation. Much of my research has focused on northeastern Pacific rocky intertidal habitats from California to Alaska, but I have also worked on New England rocky shore communities, on Antarctic scallops, and in kelp forests and estuary habitats. I am interested in how individual organisms and communities might cope with the effects of climate change, but also how they cope with current day-to-day variation in their environment. I employ a variety of methods and approaches that draw from the fields of biomechanics and physiology, and my group works both in the field and lab.
The Miller Lab accepts students via the SDSU Biology Department’s Ecology Program Area Masters degree program and Joint Doctoral Program in Ecology. Potential applicants should contact Dr. Miller in summer or fall ahead of the respective application deadlines to discuss potential opportunities in the lab.


Gabriella Kalbach (M.S.)

Research Interests: Application of novel technology to monitor cardiac activity in bivalves


Lily McIntire (Ph.D.)

Research Interests: How intertidal ectotherms cope with elevated temperatures like those caused by climate change


Lauren Strope (M.S.)

Research Interests: Species interactions, oysters, algae, rocky intertidal, climate change


Miller, L.P. & W. W. Dowd. (2019). Repeatable patterns of small-scale spatial variation in intertidal mussel beds and their implications for responses to climate change. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology – Part A 236: 1-11.

Miller, L.P. and W.W. Dowd (2019). Dynamic measurements of black oystercatcher (Haematopus bachmani) predation on mussels (Mytilus californianus). Invertebrate Biology 138 (1) 67-73.

Miller, L.P. and W.W. Dowd (2019). Dynamic measurements of black oystercatcher (Haematopus bachmani) predation on mussels (Mytilus californianus). Invertebrate Biology 138 (1) 67-73.

Miller, L.P. and W.W. Dowd (2017). Multimodal in situ datalogging quantifies inter-individual variation in thermal experience and persistent origin effects on gaping behavior among intertidal mussels (Mytilus californianus). Journal of Experimental Biology 220: 4305-4319.

Gleason, L.U., L.P. Miller, J.R. Winnikoff, G.N. Somero, P.H. Yancey, D. Bratz and W.W. Dowd (2017). Thermal history and gape of individual Mytilus californianus correlate with oxidative damage and thermoprotective osmolytes. Journal of Experimental Biology 220(22): 4292-4304.

Helmuth, B., F. Choi, A. Matzelle, J.L. Torossian, S.L. Morello, K.A.S. Mislan, L. Yamane, D. Strickland, P.L. Szathmary, S.E. Gilman, A. Tockstein, T.J. Hilbish, M.T. Burrows, A.M. Power, E. Gosling, N. Mieszkowska, C.D.G. Harley, M. Nishizaki, E. Carrington, B. Menge, L. Petes, M.M. Foley, A. Johnson, M. Poole, M.M. Noble, E.L. Richmond, M. Robart, J. Robinson, J. Sapp, J. Sones, B.R. Broitman, M.W. Denny, K.J. Mach, L.P. Miller, M. O’Donnell, P. Ross, G.E. Hofmann, M. Zippay, C. Blanchette, J.A. Macfarlan, E. Carpizo-Ituarte, B. Ruttenberg, C.E. Peña Mejía, C.D. McQuaid, J. Lathlean, C.J. Monaco, K.R. Nicastro and G. Zardi (2016). Long-term, high frequency in situ measurements of intertidal mussel bed temperatures using biomimetic sensors. Scientific Data 3: 1-11.

Early, R., B.A. Bradley, J.S. Dukes, J.J. Lawler, J.D. Olden, D.M. Blumenthal, P. Gonzalez, E.D. Grosholz, I. Ibanez, L.P. Miller, C.J.B. Sorte & A.J. Tatem (2016). Global threats from invasive alien species in the twenty-first century and national response capacities. Nature Communications 7.

LaScala-Gruenewald, D. E., L. P. Miller, M. E. S. Bracken, B. J. Allen & M. W. Denny (2016). Quantifying the top-down effects of grazers on a rocky shore: selective grazing and the potential for competition. Marine Ecology Progress Series 533: 49-66.

Miller, L. P. & J. D. Long (2015). A tide prediction and tide height control system for laboratory mesocosms. PeerJ 3: e1442.