Steve Palumbi use molecular genetics to understand the evolution, population biology and conservation of marine species and ecosystems. His research interests are widespread and he has published on the genetics and evolution of sea urchins, whales, cone snails, corals, sharks, spiders, shrimps, bryozoans, and butterflyfishes. A primary focus is the use of molecular genetic techniques in conservation, including the identification of whale and dolphin products available in commercial markets. Current conservation work centers on how coral reefs can adapt to climate change and the genetics of marine reserves designed for conservation and fisheries enhancement, with projects in the Philippines, Bahamas and western US coast. 

In addition, basic work on the molecular evolution of reproductive isolation and its influence on patterns of speciation uses marine model systems such as sea urchins. This work is expanding our view of the evolution of gamete morphology and the genes involved. Steve's recent book, The Evolution Explosion: How humans cause rapid evolutionary change, shows how rapid evolution is central to emerging problems in modern society. In January 2003, Steve appears in the TV series The Future is Wild, an computer-animated exploration of the possible courses of evolution in the next few hundred million years.

Professor Palumbi moved his laboratory from Harvard University in August 2002 to Stanford University's Hopkin Marine Station. Stephen R. Palumbi received his Ph.D. from University of Washington in marine ecology. Steve is a Pew Fellow in Marine Conservation, married to physician Mary Roberts, father of two teenagers, and founding member of the band Flagella.