Jennifer Caselle
Marine Science Institute

Dr. Caselle’s research is broadly focused on marine conservation and reef ecology. She currently works in both coral reef and kelp forest ecosystems, studying community dynamics, recruitment and larval dispersal, and movement patterns of fishes. She also manages a large-scale field-based monitoring program of kelp forests in the California ecosystem with the goal of assessing long-term changes due to climate and anthropogenic impacts.

Christopher Costello

Dr. Costello’s research focuses on natural resource management and property rights under uncertainty, with a particular emphasis on information, its value, and its effect on management decisions. He studies how to design and evaluate the performance of markets for environmental goods; specifically, he concentrates on sustainable fisheries and environmental markets.

Steve Gaines
Ecology, Evolution & Marine Biology

Dr. Gaines’ research addresses a broad range of issues in ecology, sustainable fisheries, conservation biology, and climate change. More specifically, he focuses on how different populations respond to climate variation, as well as on the design elements that enhance both conservation and fisheries management. Gaines also studies exotic species patterns and biodiversity.

Hunter Lenihan

Dr. Lenihan’s primary research interests lie in population and community ecology, especially in connection with coral reefs, estuaries, marine fisheries management, habitat restoration, aquaculture, and ecotoxicology. He is working on projects that aim to enhance coral reef management and restoration, sustainable aquaculture, mitigating environmental harm caused by emerging chemicals, and managing coastal marine fisheries, for example those targeting sharks and invertebrates.

Milton Love
Marine Science Institute

Dr. Love’s research interests include restoration ecology of coastal marine environments, as well as evaluating the interface between environmental biology and resource management policy. Much of his recent research has focused on the impact of offshore oil and gas platforms on local ocean ecosystems.

Sarah Lester
Marine Science Institute

Sarah Lester has been the Research and Program Manager of the Sustainable Fisheries Group at UCSB for the last three years. She also helps SFG with science communications and works with on-the-ground partners to connect science and research with the implementation of conservation and sustainable fisheries projects. Her recent research has focused on the ecological effects of marine protected areas, applying tradeoff analysis to marine resource management and spatial planning, sustainable fisheries management, and ecosystem-based management. She has also worked recently as scientific staff for the Ocean Health Index project, which aims to establish a new world standard for measuring ocean health and to improve ocean governance and health.

Jennifer Thorsch
CCBER/Earth Research Institute

As Director of the Cheadle Center for Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration, Jennifer Thorsch focuses on our three main programmatic areas—collections management, education, and restoration. Through her work at the CCBER, she support campus sustainability efforts by managing over 260 acres of campus lands which are planted with native species and therefore require little or no watering.

Carolynn Culver
Marine Science Institute

Dr. Culver’s research interests include understanding the life history characteristics and population dynamics of aquatic organisms and applying this information to improve management of non-native invasive species and fisheries resources and to enhance culture technologies of marine species. She also is evaluating ways to assist the state with management of fisheries resources, through collaborative fisheries research to collect field data and promote its integration into the management process.

John Engle
Marine Science Institute

John Engle is a research biologist that works with the Multi-Agency Rocky Interdidal Network (MARINe). As a MARINe Coordinator, John helps to conduct long-term marine life monitoring at over 200 West Coast rocky intertidal sites to evaluate environmental health and establish dynamic baselines with relation to climate change, disease, human impacts, and Marine Protected Areas, while also facilitating communications, websites, and data exchange; overseeing sites and protocols; and coordinating the management of databases.

David Herbst
Marine Science Institute

David Herbst’s research involves studies of salt lake ecosystems and the ecology and physiology of aquatic invertebrates and algae. In addition, his research extends to spring ecosystems and streams. David Herbst’s past projects include studies of sediment deposition and its effects on benthic invertebrates, establishing a monitoring network to detect the effects of climate change on mountain stream hydrobiology, and investigations of the impacts of a variety of disturbance stressors on stream community ecology, including livestock grazing and management, forest use practices, acid mine drainage, introduced invasive species (Trout, New Zealand Mud Snails), roads and erosion, and restoration of degraded habitats. The focus of many of these studies has been to provide a scientific foundation to inform management decisions by state and federal environmental and regulatory agencies.

Carrie Kappel
Marine Science Institute

Carrie Kappel is a conservation biologist and community ecologist. Major themes of her work include quantifying the ways humans depend upon and impact marine species, habitats, and ecosystems; understanding the spatial distribution of ecological and human components of ecosystems in order to inform conservation and management; and developing ways to integrate biophysical and socioeconomic data to support environmental decision making in coastal ecosystems. Her research has been aimed at informing marine protected area design, ecosystem based management, and marine spatial planning.

National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis

Andrew Rassweiler
Marine Science Institute

Dr. Andrew Rassweiler is a marine ecologist who combines field experiments, data analysis, and mathematical modeling to address both basic and applied questions, mainly regarding temperate reef ecosystems. His work has been applied toward answering fishery management and marine conservation questions, using spatially explicit models to explore optimal fisheries management strategies and tradeoffs between achieving fishery and conservation goals. His models have been used in practical contexts as well, most notably in guiding the placement of marine protected areas as part of California’s Marine Life Protection Act process. Although his expertise is in community ecology, he works closely with oceanographers, geographers, and economists to better understand the many abiotic factors influencing ecological dynamics.

Kim Selkoe
Marine Science Institute

Kim Selkoe’s primary research interests are split between three diverse topics: advancing scientific tools for ecosystem based management and marine spatial planning, multi-species approaches to understanding marine population connectivity with ‘seascape’ genetic techniques, and both studying and improving consumer access to local and sustainable seafood. She is currently a P.I. on two main projects: Ecosystem Thresholds and Indicators for Marine Spatial Planning (Moore Foundation, 2012-16) and Multispecies Connectivity of Hawaii Coral Reefs (National Science Foundation, 2013-2017), as well as additional projects to quantify the genetic effects of hatchery releases on wild fish populations and incorporate genetic diversity into strategies for biodiversity conservation and restoration. She is an adjunct professor the Bren School as well as an associate at UCSB’s National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis and Marine Science Institute, and the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology. Selkoe has also conducted underwater fieldwork in nearshore reef environments of Morocco, Sardinia, and the Solomon Islands as part of a continuing research project to understand how community structure changes along gradients of human impact.

Barbara Walker
Marine Science Institute

Barbara Walker’s research focuses on political ecology and human-environment relationships related to marine and coastal resources in California, French Polynesia, and Ghana. In Ghana, her research explores the historical social and environmental antecedents of contemporary patterns of marine environmental conservation and use. In French Polynesia, her research addresses disparities among stakeholder perceptions of environmental and climate change and the challenges associated with translating multiple and often opposing perceptions into effective marine management and climate change adaptation policies. In California, Walker studies new alternative seafood marketing arrangements to understand why and how direct marketing programs are adopted by fishermen and whether these marketing arrangements might increase the sustainability of fisheries and coastal communities.
Director, Research Development, Office of Research

Carol Blanchette
Marine Science Institute

Dr. Blanchette’s research focuses mainly on marine ecology. Her main areas of study include an examination of how certain species adapt to ocean acidification as CO2 emissions increase, the ecological responses to climate change, and sustainable fisheries management.