Skip to main content


Marlene Brito-Millán, PhD

Title/s:  Assistant Professor

Specialty Area: Ecology, Socio-Environmental Systems, Environmental Justice, Critical Ecology, Indigenous Ecologies

Office #:  BVM 424

Phone: 773.508.8194


CV Link: BritoMillan CV


Marlene Brito-Millán is an ecologist whose research draws on complex dynamical systems and Indigenous lifeways to understand spatio-temporal dynamics of land- and waterscapes as emergent expressions of socio-environmental systems using fieldwork, computer modeling, and geography. She is a Chicago-born Mexican American woman of Campesino heritage committed to decolonial, feminist, environmental, and climate justice movements and centering grassroots alternatives to build a world where many worlds fit. Marlene obtained her PhD in oceanography/marine ecology at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, after which she completed a UC MEXUS and a Ford Foundation Postdoc Fellowship jointly at Northwestern University and the Universidad Autónoma de Guerrero. In Mexico, she is advancing solidarity science projects alongside Indigenous Campesinos of the mountain region of Guerrero, where there is a collective effort to understand spatio-temporal dynamics of Indigenous Campesino socio-environmental systems and waterscapes to support local autonomies. Overall, her work spans coastal and terrestrial systems as she investigates the role of traditional management practices and cosmologies on the nature of human-environmental relations. She finds passion in teaching subjects such as critical ecology, environmental justice, and indigenous ecologies. She was drawn to Loyola's School of Environmental Sustainability because of a shared commitment to advancing knowledge in service to humanity and a more socially just world. Finally, Marlene strives to make her courses intersectional, immersive, and multidisciplinary by including diverse worldviews, science practice, and community partnerships in her classes.


  • Ph.D. Oceanography, Emphasis: Complexity & Socio-Environmental Systems, Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO), University of California - San Diego (2017)
  • M.S. Marine Ecology, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California - San Diego (2014)
  • B.S. Biology, Northeastern Illinois University (2006)

Research Interests

Brito-Millán's research draws on ecology, complexity science, and Indigenous onto-epistemologies to understand spatio-temporal dynamics of land- and waterscapes as emergent expressions of socio-environmental systems using computer modeling, cartography, and fieldwork (ecological and participatory action research).

Professional & Community Affiliations

Professional Service

  • Journal Reviewer: PeerJ (IF 2.984), Ecological Modelling (IF 2.634), Coral Reefs (IF 3.631)
  • Admissions Committees: CONACYT PIES AGILES (agroecology) Fellow’s selection committee

Professional Memberships

  • Sociedad Científica Mexicana de Ecología, A.C. (SCME)
  • American Association of Geographers (AAG)
  • American Studies Association (ASA)
  • Society for the Advancement of Chicanos & Native Americans (SACNAS)
  • SIO Center for Marine Biology and Conservation (CMBC)
  • International Society of Reef Studies (ISRS)
  • Ecological Society of America (ESA)

Courses Taught

ENVS 286: Principles of Ecology Lab


  • Inducted member of Sistema Nacional de Investigadores (SNI) mexicanos – Nivel Candidata, 2021
  • Rachel’s Network Catalyst Award Nominee, 2019
  • USD Woman of Impact Award, 2018
  • University-wide UCSD Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action and Diversity Award, 2017
  • SIO Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation – Mentoring Award, 2016

Selected Publications

Flores Castro, A., Corrales Pablo, N., Rendón Godines, C., Bolito González, A., Hernández Tapia, M., Hernández Tapia, V., Lucas Bartolo, S., Nava Xinol, H., García Villanueva, R., Flores Feliciano, F., Rayón Casarrubias, W., Atempa Caltenco, L., Rayón Návez, G., Atempa Tolentino, F., Atempa Tolentino, E., Saldaña Santos, A., Villanueva Navarrete, S., Andreu Marcos, J.S., Flórez Jimón, D., Jimón Pablo, G., Marielle Meyer, C., Salazar Arredondo, S., Chávez Segura, P.G., Rodríguez Flores, L.N., Miranda Molina, M.A., and M Brito Millán. (2021). Escuchando los ECCCOS - Epicentros Comunitarios de Ciencias Campesinas – Caminos hacia la construcción de diálogos de saberes con y desde la Región Montaña de Guerrero. (Listening to the ECCCOS – Community Epicenters of Campesino Science – Journeys towards constructing knowledge dialogues with and from the Mountain Region of Guerrero) Guardaletras Press.

Brito-Millán M, Cheng T, Salomón A, Mendoza M, Belmonte M, Guzmán-Morales J, Martínez A, Harrison EJ, Quintanilla LJ, and RK Sugla. 2019 Nosotros no comemos baterías: solidarity science against false climate change solutions. Theme: The Return of Radical Science. Science for the People 22 (1): 33-41.

Brito-Millán M, Werner BT, Sandin SA, and DE McNamara. 2019 Influence of aggregation on benthic coral reef spatio-temporal dynamics. Royal Society Open Science 6: 181703