Dr. William Wright

Dr. William Wright

Associate Professor
Schmid College of Science and Technology; Biological Sciences
Expertise: marine invertebrate behavior; marine reserves; Predator-Prey Interaction; learning and memory; chemical defense; territoriality;
Office Location: Keck Center for Science and Engineering 267
Phone: (714) 997-6954
Scholarly Works:
Digital Commons
University of California, Santa Cruz, Bachelor of Arts
University of California, San Diego, Ph.D.

Video Profile


Bill Wright is an organismal biologist who studies the behavior of marine invertebrates at neurobiological, ecological, and evolutionary levels.  He incorporates training from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Friday Harbor Laboratories (University of Washington), and Yale University into his cross-disciplinary analyses of natural behavior.  His current research examines questions about the chemical, and behavioral defenses of sea hares, ecology of spiny lobsters, territorial ecology of intertidal limpets, and non-lethal effects of global warming.


  • BIOL 204 From Molecules to Cells: Evolution of Life on Earth
  • BIOL 205 Evolution & Diversity of Multicellular Organisms
  • BIOL 250 Biostatistics
  • BIOL 329 Advances in Neuroethology: The Cellular and Molecular Basis of Behavior and Behavioral Plasticity
  • BIOL 384 Directed Research
  • BIOL 440 Marine Biology


  • Evolution of mechanisms of learning in marine mollusks
  • Intertidal Ecology


National Science Foundation (2001-2005 and 2007-2010)

  • Society for Neuroscience
  • Society for Integrated and Comparative Biology
  • Western Society of Naturalists

Recent Creative, Scholarly Work and Publications

Kabala, R.T., N. A. Swinford, M. J. Mason, and W.G. Wright. The role of dislodgement in the territorial ecology of the owl limpet, Lottia gigantea. Ethol. Ecol. & Evol. Accepted with revisions.
Himstead, A, and W.G. Wright. Precise foraging schedule in an intertidal euopisthobranch mollusk. Mar. Freshw. Behav. Physiol. 51(2): 131-141.
M. J. Mason, V. A. Zachary, J. Berriman, A. B. Mason, C. Rakovski, and W. G. Wright. Reduced tenacity during “high-speed” territorial encounters in the intertidal owl limpet, Lottia gigantea: Agonistic escalation increases risk of wash-off. J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol. In Press.
Himstead, A.H., and W. G. Wright. Survival without a shell: Evolutionary loss of chemical and cognitive defenses associated with precise predator avoidance. West. Soc. Nat. Ann Meeting. 79.
Sidun, A.F., and W. G. Wright. Slight acidity abolishes chemically mediated avoidance behavior in an intertidal hermit crab. West. Soc. Nat. Ann Meeting. 162.
Gould, N. G. , T. Gunanto, J. Martinez, W.G. Wright. Field experiments demonstrate that heat spells can reduce territory defense in the owl limpet, Lottia gigantea. West. Soc. Nat. Ann Meeting. 41
2015 Berriman, J. S. , M. Kay, D. Reed, A. Rassweiler, D. Goldstein, and W.G. Wright. Shifts in attack behavior of an important kelp forest predator within marine reserves. Mar. Ecol. Progr. Ser. 522: 193-201.
M. J. Mason, A. J. Watkins, M. Brown, J. Wakabayashi, J. Buechler, and W. G. Wright. Lobster attack induces long-term sensitization and decreased sensory-neuron threshold in the sea hare, Aplysia californica. Learning & Memory: 21: 363-367.
Takagi, K. K., C. R. James, and W. G. Wright. A model system for predicting the effects of global warming: Acute and chronic effects of warm temperature on feeding behavior of Pagurus samuelis. Soc. Integr. Comp. Biol. Ann. Meeting P3.33.
Gomez, S. F., K. K. Takagi, and W. G. Wright. Hermit-crab assay reveals heterogeneity in deterrence by actively secreted chemical defenses in Aplysia californica. Soc. Integr. Comp. Biol. Ann. Meeting P1.44.