Stanford Liaison Since Spring 2017kmgreen@stanford.edu

Kristen is a 2nd year PhD student at Stanford University where she seeks to understand how stakeholders in communities dependent on coastal resources will adapt and maintain resiliency in the face of climate change and other environmental challenges. Her dissertation work specifically focuses on access to subsistence marine resources in the Northwest Arctic Alaska and the use of local knowledge in management. Prior to her PhD, she completed a Master's degree in Marine Science at Moss Landing Marine Labs and worked for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game designing fisheries management strategies and communicating fisheries policies to commercial fishermen.




Nicole manages communications for the Stanford Center for Ocean Solutions. She works closely with the team as well as with collaborators and partners to develop, implement, and oversee strategic communication initiatives to advance the Center’s mission. Nicole brings over a decade of experience in international strategic communications, most recently with the international non-profit Room to Read, where she ran corporate communications and public relations. 

Nicole is a mission-driven communicator, with a particular passion for marine conservation. Her previous experience includes work with the USAID-funded Lowering Emissions in Asia’s Forests (LEAF) program in Thailand, the United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Marine Program in Paris, W.W.F. in Washington D.C. and Malaysian Borneo, and with the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust in rural Kenya. Nicole also worked previously as a Research Associate and Teaching Assistant at Harvard Business School. 

Nicole received her B.S. in communication and applied economics and management from Cornell University and her M.A. in international environmental policy, communication, and human security from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. She also holds a certificate in environmental communications from the Nicholas School of the Environment from Duke University. Nicole enjoys traveling internationally, especially when combined with surfing and yoga.



Twenty-four bright and enthusiastic students from across the country descended upon Monterey in July for the fourth iteration of the MARINE (Monterey Area Research Institutions’ Network for Education) Ocean Policy Course.

The course introduces ocean-interested early career professionals to ocean policy and governance, and how science influences public policy decisions at the international, national, and state levels. Participants learn about pressing challenges to ocean health, and together with leaders in ocean science and policy, examine how scientists (e.g., social, economic, natural) and researchers can and do work within the policy-making process to address these challenges.

Using current case studies in ocean policy along with interactive activities, discussions, and field trips, the course aims to immerse students in the complexity of ocean-related decision-making. For example, students spent one full day engaged in a role-playing scenario acting out stakeholder meetings to discuss oil drilling in the Arctic. They also had the opportunity to get outside and talk to members of the public about ocean issues, meet leaders in the field of ocean management at a career night, and mingle with students from China during a crossover day with the Middlebury Institute for International Studies’ Blue Pioneers program. For their final project, the participants worked in groups to draft and submit a public comment letter on a current listing in the Federal Register.

This year’s course organizers included Laura Good, Education Manager at the Center for Ocean Solutions (COS); Angee Doerr, Research Associate in coupled human-natural systems at COS; and Whit Saumweber, a visiting fellow at COS who has worked with the White House Council on Environmental Quality and on the National Ocean Policy. Several guest lecturers, whose backgrounds spanned environmental law, policy, management, and science, also helped lead interactive sessions throughout the course. By the end of two weeks, the course participants had not only covered a wide range of topics and material, but also forged friendships and made connections that will stay with them into the future.

Watch a video of students talking about their experience during the course.

Read more about the course and download the course curriculum package.

View course photos on the COS Facebook page.



Sierra works with a variety of projects at COS, ranging in topic from small-scale fisheries to coastal adaptation policy. She is a rising senior at Stanford studying Earth Systems, an interdisciplinary environmental science program, and is planning to pursue a career in environmental policy. Prior to coming to COS, she interned at the U.S. Department of Justice in the Environment and Natural Resources Division and with environmental nonprofits in Chile and the San Juan Islands in Washington state. More recently, she sailed from Tahiti to American Samoa with the Stanford at SEA program. During the program, she studied the distribution and ingestion of plastics in the South Pacific subtropical gyre.


Over the last year The Center for Ocean Solutions worked with incredible scientists, policy makers and innovators to address and solve some of the ocean’s most difficult challenges. The 2016 Annual Report breaks down some exciting projects we have worked on over the last year, including updates on current ongoing projects like Environmental DNA, recaps from completed projects like “Bright Spots” research and a Q&A with Cassandra Brooks, one of the main scientists who pushed forward for the establishment of the largest international Marine Protected Area, the Ross Sea. Other stories covered include our Ocean Tipping Points project and their brand new website, showcasing four years of synthesized data and knowledge based tools for ocean management. The report also expands on the MARINE program, highlighting key events that they focused on this last year to support young incoming scientists of the future.

Don’t miss the welcome video starring Science Director Larry Crowder as he recaps some of the most relevant projects of the last year and welcomes in our two new co-directors, Fiorenza Micheli and Jim Leape.

Read the Report here

Watch the welcome video here


Crossing an ecosystem tipping point creates dramatic change. From collapsed fisheries and coastal dead zones, to melting sea ice and dying coral reefs, the consequences are often devastating to both the environment and the people who depend on it. Tipping points occur when small shifts in human pressure or environmental conditions bring about large, sometimes abrupt changes in a system - whether in a human society, a physical system, an ecosystem, or our planet’s climate.  

Researchers and ocean managers working together on the Ocean Tipping Points Project have just launched a new website portal that provides concrete analytical tools, guidance and resources to help ocean managers predict and prevent the crossing of tipping points, or recover from ones already crossed, in order to keep ecosystems healthy and resilient.

Fisheries collapses are a prime example of ocean tipping points—as a result of overfishing, many ocean systems have undergone ecosystem shifts that make it difficult to recover or restore fish stocks to desired levels. Globally nearly 30% of all fisheries are collapsed or overfished, resulting in negative impacts on human communities around the world, at an estimated cost of $50 billion a year.

While the costly impacts of tipping points are well known, practical tools for coping with them have been limited. Today, global climate change and other large-scale alterations to our environment are making ecosystems even more dynamic and unpredictable. The materials housed in the Ocean Tipping Points portal are a timely and valuable addition to the management toolkit in the face of dramatic ocean change.

“Over the last five years, our collaborative research team has developed new science, tools and guidance to help ocean and coastal managers safeguard ecological and human wellbeing, even in a changing world. The purpose of the website is to make those resources easily accessible to managers, with practical recommendations and lots of examples from our work and others’ around the world,” said Carrie Kappel, Ocean Tipping Points lead principal investigator and Senior Fellow at UC Santa Barbara’s National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis .

The information in the portal links best available science, law and policy to practical management guidance, and is based on global synthesis as well as in-depth case studies on coral reef management in Hawaii and fisheries management in British Columbia. The Ocean Tipping Points Guide, featured on the website, walks users through four strategies for incorporating knowledge about ocean tipping points into existing management decision-making. The portal also provides information for specific management contexts, including water quality, fisheries, vulnerable species recovery, restoration, and ecosystem-based management.

Other sections of the portal describe how tipping points science aligns with current U.S. and Canadian environmental laws and regulations, and provide links to tools, data and publications relevant to tipping points management. A ‘community of practice’ section of the site allows scientists, managers, and others working to protect ocean resources to post questions and connect with peers and experts.

Said project researcher Ashley Erickson, Assistant Director for Law and Policy at Stanford University’s Center for Ocean Solutions: "We have worked hard to make sure the science we’ve generated isn’t just theoretical or conceptual, but is instead grounded in reality, to make it as useful and accessible to ocean managers, policy makers, and scientists as possible.”