The pillage of the world’s oceans represents threats to vital U.S. and global economic, environmental and security interests. There is a growing body of evidence suggesting that our oceans are the world’s largest crime scene due to rampant illegal fishing, trafficking of drugs, arms, and persons, and growing conflict over fishing grounds.

Where: Irvine Auditorium, Middlebury Institute of International Studies

When: Tuesday, November 1st, 6:00-8:00pm

The event is free, but registration is required.  To register, please CLICK HERE.


6:00-7:30pm–Lecture and Panel Discussion.  Audience members will have the opportunity to pose questions via question cards. 
7:30-8:00pm–Attendees are invited to join the speaker and panelists for a wine and cheese reception in the atrium following the discussion.

About the Topic:

Roughly one billion people rely on the world’s oceans for fish as their primary source of animal protein, and an estimated 880 million people rely on it for their livelihoods.  Rising economic powers such as China have seen fish consumption rates increase 6 percent annually on average  since 1990. As fishing fleets deplete stocks and expand operations to every corner of the ocean, global demand for their catch only continues to grow alongside increasing populations worldwide. Countries like China worry that a shortage of fish could trigger societal instability among its growing population.   In short, there are conservation, geostrategic, economic and security reasons to make our oceans safer and to fight crimes on the seas.  Join us for a lecture from Johan Bergenäs, Director of the Partnerships in Security and Development Program at the Stimson Center and author of “Secure Oceans,” followed by a panel discussion on innovative policy and technological solutions to amplify, accelerate and strengthen the global response to protecting our oceans.  A reception with the speaker and panelists will follow the discussion.

About the Speaker:

Johan Bergenäs
Director of the Partnerships in Security and Development Program at the Stimson Center 

Johan Bergenas is a Senior Associate and Director of the  Partnerships in Security and Development Program. One of Bergenas’ current primary focus is “natural security” – the interlinkages between environmental challenges and U.S. national and global security – as well as on technology and public-private sector partnerships. His background cuts across a wide range of transnational security challenges – from WMD proliferation, terrorism and transnational organized crime.

About the Moderator:

Jason Scorse
Director of the Center for the Blue Economy

Jason Scorse is the Director of the Center for the Blue Economy (CBE) and Chair of the International Environmental Policy (IEP) program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. He completed his Ph.D. in Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics at UC-Berkley in 2005 with a focus on environmental economics and policy, international development, and behavioral economics. Upon graduation, he joined the faculty of the Monterey Institute of International Studies, was promoted to Chair in 2009, and launched the CBE in 2011. He teaches courses in environmental and natural resource economics, ocean and coastal economics, and sustainable development. Professor Scorse consults for major environmental organizations, including the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Sierra Club.

About the Panelists:

Captain Timothy (Tim) Doorey, US Navy (Retired)
Maritime Security Program Manager and Lecturer, Center for Civil-Military Relations, Naval Postgraduate School

Captain Timothy Doorey is a lecturer for the Center for Civil-Military Relations (CCMR). In that capacity he travels extensively around the world providing executive education programs to allies and partners on counter-terrorism, anti-piracy, maritime security, cyber threats and inter-agency efforts against organized crime. Prior to joining CCMR, he served for 28 years in naval intelligence in various tactical, operational and national-level assignments. His last assignment on active duty was as the Naval Postgraduate School’s (NPS) Senior Intelligence Officer, where he developed and taught graduate-level intelligence courses and mentored mid-career U.S. and allied officers from all services. Prior to coming to NPS, he was assigned to the Pentagon’s Joint Staff Intelligence Directorate.

During his Navy career, Captain Doorey provided intelligence support for U.S. and coalition military operations in Beirut, Lebanon (1982-1984), Grenada (1983), El Salvador and Panama (1987-1989) and Iraq and Afghanistan during the first Gulf War and following 9/11. From 1995 to 1998, he was Special Assistant to NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic and Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Atlantic Command. His sea duty assignments included, Senior Intelligence Officer on the aircraft carrier USS CARL VINSON (CVN-70); Senior Air Wing Intelligence Officer for Carrier Air Wing Seven (CVW-7) onboard the aircraft carrier USS GEORGE WASHINGTON (CVN-73) during its maiden deployment and in support of the United Nation’s peacekeepers in Bosnia (UNPROFOR) and OPERATION SOUTHERN WATCH over Iraq; and as the Squadron Intelligence Officer with Attack Squadron 176 onboard the USS Independence (CV-62).

CAPT Doorey was awarded Masters’ degrees in National Security Affairs and Strategic Studies from the Naval Postgraduate School (1986) and the Naval War College (2002). He was also the Navy’s Federal Executive Fellow to Harvard University’s John M. Olin Institute for Strategic Studies in 1998-1999.

Captain Wayne Porter, US Navy (Retired)

Wayne Porter holds a PhD in Information Sciences and two Masters of Science degrees – in Computer Science and Joint C4I Systems Technology – from the Naval Postgraduate School.  Military duty included Japan, England, Italy, the Balkans, Bahrain (Navy’s Director of Intelligence in the Persian Gulf/East Africa), and three tours on the personal staff of ADM Mike Mullen, including Special Assistant for Strategy to both the Chief of Naval Operations and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs.  He is a “Walton Fellow” at Arizona State University’s Global Institute of Sustainability and recently served as Chair, Systemic Strategy and Complexity at Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif.  He retired from the Navy in July 2014 after 28 years of military service.

He co-authored, with Colonel Mark Mykleby, “A National Strategic Narrative,” published by the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars with a forward by Dr. Anne-Marie Slaughter.  A National Strategic Narrative has been cited by Pulitzer Award winning author Tom Friedman, CNN commentator Fareed Zakaria, former UK Secretary for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs David Miliband, former Foreign Minister of Israel Shlomo Ben Ami, among many others.  Wayne’s writings have appeared in the Harvard Business Review, Journal of American Foreign Policy Interests, The HotSpring Quarterly, Washington Times, and Naval Institute Proceedings.


By Kristen Weiss

Coral reefs in the Pacific Ocean are making a lot of headlines this year. In June, Pacific Island leaders joined forces with leading coral reef experts in a call to action for stronger stewardship of these valuable marine ecosystems. Two months later, President Obama announced a proclamation to expand Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument off the coast of Hawaii, making it the largest marine protected area in the world.

On August 31, President Obama addressed attendees of the Pacific Island Conference of Leaders and the IUCN World Conservation Congress on the opening night of the Congress in Honolulu. He discussed the significance of this monument designation and highlighted how the threat of climate change makes protecting our public lands and waters more important than ever.

The National Momunment will protect Hawaiian reefs like the one depicted above. (Photo: NOAA)

The President’s expansion of the National Monument responds to a proposal put forward by Senator Schatz and prominent Native Hawaiian leaders, which was developed with significant input and support from Hawaiian elected officials, cultural groups, conservation organizations, fishermen and scientists—including Stanford’s Hopkins Marine Station Director, Steve Palumbi and former Stanford PhD student (2011) Doug McCauley.

“The coral reefs of the Northwest Hawaiian Islands are the largest in the U.S., and are far enough north that they are more likely to survive climate change over the next hundred years than reefs closer to the equator,” explained Palumbi. “Their location and isolation make these reefs ideal for protecting corals, whales, turtles, monk seals, sharks and other ocean wildlife into the next century.”

Indeed, the expansion provides critical protections for more than 7,000 marine species, including whales and sea turtles listed under the Endangered Species Act and the longest-living marine species in the world — black coral, which has been found to live longer than 4,500 years.

Palumbi and McCauley joined other scientists, Hawaiian culture leaders and members of the White House Council on Environmental Quality in meetings coordinated by Pew Charitable Trusts to develop the proposal for expansion.

The monument was originally created in 2006 by President George W. Bush and designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010. Since then, further scientific exploration and research has revealed new species and deep sea habitats as well as important ecological connections between the existing monument and the adjacent waters. President Obama’s recent designation will expand the existing Marine National Monument by 442,781 square miles, bringing the total protected area of the expanded monument to 582,578 square miles.

Said Palumbi, “In an era where we complain that politics often don’t act past the next election cycle, this expansion is a case where the community and their representatives are looking far into the future, leaving a legacy not just for themselves, but for future generations.”



Nathan J. Bennett is cross-appointed as a research associate in the School of Marine and Environmental Affairs at the University of Washington and a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability at the University of British Columbia. 

Nathan is a broadly trained environmental social scientist whose work interrogates various aspects of the complex relationship between the marine environment and human society with a solution-oriented lens. His publications and research interests are broad - with current projects focusing on marine protected area management and governance in Mexico, responses of coastal communities to environmental change in Southeast Asia and North America, marine conservation planning initiatives on the Pacific Coast of North America, the human dimensions of large-scale marine protected areas, and global issues related to ocean politics and environmental governance. At the Center for Ocean Solutions, Nathan is collaborating on several projects focusing on governance of small-scale fisheries, the social dimensions of fisheries management and the human dimensions of marine conservation.

Nathan graduated from the University of Victoria with a PhD in Geography from the University of Victoria in 2013, a MS in Environmental Studies from Lakehead University in 2009 and a BEd from the University of Victoria in 2002. His work has been supported by a SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship (2010-2013), a Trudeau Doctoral Scholarship (2010-2013), a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship (2013-2015), a Fulbright Visiting Scholar Award (2015), a Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship (2015-2017), and a Liber Ero Postdoctoral Fellowship (2015-2017). Nathan currently serves as Senior Advisor to the Global Economics and Social Science Program of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and is an active member of the World Commission of Protected Areas (WCPA). In addition, he is affiliated with several research groups including the OceanCanada Partnership, the Community Conservation Research Network, and the Too Big To Ignore Project.




By Kristen Weiss

On a warm, breezy afternoon in Honolulu, Hawaii, approximately sixty people gathered together at the Hawaii Convention Center for a Town Hall to learn how the Ocean Tipping Points project’s scientific findings could help improve protection of Hawaii’s coral reefs.

Held on June 19 in conjunction with the International Coral Reef Symposium (ICRS), the Ocean Tipping Points Town Hall welcomed scientists, environmental managers, students, community members, and others to a 2-hour session focused on tipping points science and its application to ecosystem-based management in Hawaii. Participants in the Town Hall had the opportunity to engage directly with several researchers from the Ocean Tipping Points Hawaii case study team, to ask questions about how the science was conducted and how it can be used and communicated to inform reef management.

Participants at the town hall engaged in discussion.

Center for Ocean Solutions staff members Ashley Erickson and Lisa Wedding helped develop and coordinate the town hall, which was facilitated by Tipping Points project collaborators Carrie Kappel and Kim Selkoe (both from the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis). The meeting began with a group discussion about the challenges and opportunities surrounding coral reef management in Hawaii and how ocean tipping points science could be used to help inform management decisions and reef monitoring activities from the community to state level.

Attendees then rotated between three science stations where they were able to interact one on one with Ocean Tipping Points researchers and learn in more detail the latest science coming out of the project. At the first station, Lisa Wedding and her colleagues unveiled their interactive story map that synthesizes the massive amounts of data on the human and natural influences affecting reef states across the Hawaiian Islands and allows users to explore the data at various scales. These maps are innovating the way that marine managers can access large amounts of data and harness it to improve management decision-making.

Lisa Wedding explains her Hawaii mapping data with interactiive story maps.

At the second station, Mary Donovan of the University of Hawai‘i presented her collaborative research on five distinct reef ‘regimes’ found throughout Hawaii, which vary in regards to how much coral, algae and fish are present as well as how ‘degraded’ the reef is considered to be. The third station, led by Crow White of Cal Poly and Kirsten Oleson of the University of Hawaii, demonstrated how a decision-making tool called Tradeoff Analysis can help environmental managers find optimal solutions to both protect coral reef habitats and minimize costs and user conflicts.

Hearing directly from key stakeholders—such as marine managers and community leaders—was a valuable learning opportunity for the Ocean Tipping Points project team. The Town Hall allowed participants to ask critical questions, voice concerns, express excitement and make suggestions about how the project can move forward and have lasting, positive impacts on coral reef management in Hawaii.

During the International Coral Reef Symposium, Ocean Tipping Points researchers also gave eight oral presentations about their work with the project in various symposium sessions, presented three posters and participated in various panel discussions and workshops where they discussed the role of tipping points science in informing marine management. The team looks forward to engaging colleagues and stakeholders in similar forums as the research findings continue to be synthesized and honed in the coming months.


By Kristen Weiss

Steeped in a deep history of marine resource exploitation and management, the town of St. Johns in Newfoundland served as the backdrop for this year’s International Marine Conservation Congress (IMCC). Several COS staff and affiliated researchers participated in this year’s Congress by leading workshops and symposia and giving presentations on our work involving ocean tipping points and bridging science to policy.

Communicating Science through Storytelling

Stephanie Green, a COS early career science fellow, co-developed and co-led a pre-meeting workshop with colleagues from Oregon State University and COMPASS entitled Tales from the sea: Communicating science and conservation through storytelling. They created the two-day training to help scientists hone their science communication skills and craft engaging stories about their research. Over the two days, participants learned the key elements of storytelling, and through many hands-on exercises developed their own conservation stories. Participants then had the opportunity to perform on stage at the Longshoremen’s Protective Union Hall in St. Johns in an event that was attended by over 150 members of the public.

“Stories are universal for sharing knowledge across cultures and backgrounds, but for many scientists it is a lost art. Conferences like IMCC gather scientists from all over the world who have witnessed some of the biggest changes on our planet and are working to find solutions. They have stories that everyone should hear, but we have to tap into them”, says Green. “So far, our training has helped 19 scientists develop and share their stories with students, journalists and public audiences around the world.”

This year’s stories were filmed and will be added to a growing library on the Society for Conservation Biology’s Conservation Stories webpage in the near future. You can also find recordings of past storytelling events on their page.

Science storytelling workshop participants gather together on stage.

Green also presented on her own research at the IMCC session, Conservation and the land-sea interface. She discussed her work which looked at the environmental consequences of oil/tar sands extraction on marine environments. Green and her colleagues have found that multiple stressors from oil extraction are cumulatively impacting coastal ecosystems, including the storage, transportation and industry-derived greenhouse gas inputs. They highlighted that these impacts need to be better accounted for in future energy development decisions.

Bridging Science to Policy and Management

Ashley Erickson, COS’s Assistant Director for Law & Policy, presented in two symposia at IMCC. The first, Connecting theory and practice to advance marine conservation science and outcomes, was hosted by UCSB's Sustainable Fisheries Group and featured a range of practitioners and researchers from the non-governmental organizations and academic communities who are working to embed the best available science into management. Erickson discussed ways to overcome the knowledge and communication gaps that often exist between academic science and policy decision making, including the role that boundary organizations like COS can play in bridging this divide.

“IMCC did an excellent job drawing a diverse range of interdisciplinary perspectives to Newfoundland,” said Erickson. “I was impressed by the meeting’s focus on solutions and applied research questions, and particularly the high-quality work being done to include traditional cultural knowledge and indigenous history into applied research projects and management solutions.”

Ashley Erickson presents on bridging science to policy.

Erickson also participated in a symposium hosted by the Ocean Tipping Points team which focused on putting tipping points science into practice in social-ecological systems. The team highlighted stories from the field that show how researchers and managers can work together to make science relevant to management decisions, and what tools and methods have helped.

“Our symposium really stood out as we heavily showcased our work to co-develop research questions and solutions hand-in-hand with our management partners on the project,” explained Erickson. “We even had one of our management partners in Haida Gwaii, Hilary Thorp, give a talk on her perspective working with the Ocean Tipping Points team as a part of the symposium - one of the few management voices in the room. In addition, one of the project’s Expert Management Advisory Group members and Haida Gwaii partners (Ernie Gladstone) was in the audience!”

Examples of Success through Cooperation and Co-Production of Knowledge


Elena Finkbeiner, a COS early career science fellow, played a key role in both an IMCC symposium and panel session. In the Conservation and stewardship in small-scale fisheries session, she presented her ongoing behavioral economics research with fishing cooperatives in Mexico. Through a number of experiments run with actual fishers in her case study communities, Finkbeiner has found that with increasing resource uncertainty (i.e., uncertainty in how many fish will be available in a given year), cooperation and stewardship among fishermen also increases, at least in communities with past exposure to uncertainty and that have some sort of institutional structure in place for communication among fishers.

Elena Finkbeiner presents on behavioral economics work with small scale fisheries.

“We often think of coastal communities as passive victims of global environmental change. This research shows that, with proper institutional and social mechanisms in place, local communities can be active agents capable of influencing their own resilience and buffering their local environment from the negative effects of global change,” said Finkbeiner.

Finkbeiner described the small-scale fisheries symposium as one of hope and optimism, with a number of case studies providing evidence of successful fisheries co-management.

In the panel Solving marine conservation problems using all available tools, Finkbeiner contributed to the discussion on how to cultivate truly interdisciplinary conservation science. She presented on the need to understand the process by which science informs policy, how environmental management links to social and economic well-being, and the specific socio-political context within which decisions are being made. Key to the successful implementation of conservation actions is realizing how closely natural resources are linked to cultural identity, food security, issues of equity and other social consequences that can affect conservation success.

“Designing and implementing effective conservation or environmental management policies is like playing a game of chess. You always need to think proactively four steps ahead to anticipate interactions, trickle down effects, or unintended outcomes,” said Finkbeiner.

The panel discussion also highlighted some of the challenges facing tenure-track scientists who want to focus on applied, interdisciplinary conservation problems and provided some advice for early career scientists on how to navigate the research and publication world.

The stimulating discussions among diverse conference attendees that occurred both during and in between the IMCC sessions were encouraging sources of interdisciplinary brainstorming. Hopefully, they will lead the way for creative collaborations to solve conservation challenges into the future.


By Paige Welsh

For this newsletter issue, I sat down with Lucie Hazen, a COS Research Analyst. Lucie's career has embraced the connection between science and practical application. Since her undergraduate work, she's been thinking about the interplay between people and the ocean they use for ecosystem services. In our interview, I learned about how Lucie's well-rounded experience contributes to the Center's mission and the depth of her tenacity when she sets her mind on a goal.

Lucie's current work focuses primarily on developing guidance for tracking implementation of California’s Marine Life Management Act (MLMA). This work involves building an assessment tool that would allow the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and other entities to clearly identify strengths and weaknesses in existing fisheries management approaches and more easily prioritize their limited resources. She is also generating an inventory of ecosystem and human activities assessments of the California Current in collaboration with the West Coast Regional Planning Body and contributing to a federal, coast wide management plan.

Your current work is focused on California Fisheries and the implementation of the Marine Life Management Act. Why do we need a project focusing on this?

The Marine Life Management Act is one of the most progressive examples of ecosystem-based fisheries management law. In principle, it is impressively sweeping, but in practice it is challenging to implement to its full potential. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and the California Fish and Game Commission (FGC) manage the state’s expansive ocean waters well, but due to data gaps, high compliance costs and funding and capacity constraints, managers may lack access to the best available knowledge, data and technologies. One of the clearest examples of that gap between theory and practice is that the law calls for fishery management plans (FMPs) for each fishery managed by the state. Yet after 17 years on the books, only six FMPs exist today even though there are approximately 200 species in state waters. Everything from the species’ life history and ecology to the fishery history and socioeconomics, management alternatives, environmental impact analysis and research protocols goes into a fishery management plan. Producing comprehensive plans is resource intensive, and given the other regular urgent issues that must be addressed, the Department is not always able to focus on these data-intensive management plans. We have a unique opportunity to help the Department prioritize their competing demands by developing a novel assessment tool. We are doing this in collaboration with California fisheries managers at an exciting time, as the CDFW and FGC are in the process of revising the guidance for the MLMA.

How did you come to be involved in ocean sciences?

I earned my Masters in aquatic and fisheries sciences from the University of Washington in 2003. Since then, I've done a variety of field research in rocky and sandy intertidal and river systems as well as marine mammal surveys on the west and east coasts. I also spent a few years at Duke University focusing on project and grant management work in the realm of fisheries and marine science. I got hooked on marine ecology and international travel in my undergraduate years, when I joined an NSF-funded biological survey aboard a Russian research vessel going to the Kuril Islands. I also spent a few months after graduation as a fisheries observer for the long-line tuna fishery based in Hawaii. I was the onboard biologist recording and measuring the catch from every 20+ mile haul, watching for Pacific loggerhead and leatherback turtle by-catch because of their endangered status. That was a pivotal experience because it exposed me to commercial fishing and made me think more in-depth about the interaction between the ocean and the people who depend on it.

What challenges have you encountered in your work?

As I think many Master’s level scientists have done, I struggled with whether to get a PhD or not. It seemed like something everybody does, and the academic system generally guides people in that direction. However, the job prospects following a PhD were not as good of a fit for me. There are professional opportunities without a PhD, and I am fortunate to have this one. I like working in in the science-policy space in which COS operates. To this date, I have been able to carve a career path that does not require a PhD, which has worked well for me. In retrospect, I'm happy with my decision.

Do you have a memorable COS experience?

I have had a series of positive interactions and opportunities to learn from many talented people during the five years I’ve been here. It's all contributed to an outstanding set of professional opportunities and growth as well as great relationships.

What is an accomplishment you are particularly proud of?

I led authorship on a paper this past year in Fisheries Research titled, “Translating sustainable seafood frameworks to assess the implementation of ecosystem-based fisheries management.” I have been a coauthor on several papers, but this was my first primary authorship. Honestly, the process was quite frustrating, including multiple back and forths with the journal and reviewers, and multiple revisions, but ultimately the paper was stronger and we were successful.

What would you be doing if you weren't working in marine science?

I have an alternative career reality in my mind about being involved in exercise physiology, or the health and wellness field. I run, hike and occasionally do triathlons. Outside of work, I try to keep myself fit and my family healthy.

Lucie and her family at the Grand Canyon.

What is something people may not know about you?

I taught myself to swim from a book at the age of thirty. It was a great book, and I was really committed. I thought it was ridiculous that I was thirty and a marine scientist, but I didn’t know how to properly swim. There's this how-to book called Total Immersion about improving your swimming skills. It shows what to do with your body step-by-step, which worked well for me.

What do you find more rewarding about your work?

I've always been drawn more to the applied side of science and research. I feel like we do our best at COS to advance meaningful change in the policy and management world. It's not just about interesting scientific questions or cutting edge research. It's being in that boundary space and influencing sustainability and stewardship.

If you could be anywhere doing anything right now, where would you be?

I would either be diving in the Maldives, given the incredible diversity and likely decline due to climate change. Or I might be sleeping, as I don’t get to do enough of that as a parent of two young kids.


By Paige Welsh

This summer, we had the privilege of working with many talented visiting interns and scholars. Plus, two new staff members joined the team. We hope you enjoy getting to know them and their work as much as we did.

Stephanie Green, early career science fellow

Stephanie Green is an early career science fellow at the Center for Ocean Solutions where she leads research on the effects of climate change on ocean food webs. She is also a Banting Postdoctoral Fellow. Her research focuses on issues ranging from invasive species and climate change to energy development and science policy. Stephanie received her PhD from Simon Fraser University and BS from the University of British Columbia. During her dissertation, she developed trait and size-based foraging models that are used across the Caribbean region to set targets for managing the impacts of invasive Indo- Pacific lionfish on native marine species. In 2013, she was awarded a David H. Smith Conservation Research Fellowship to develop optimal approaches for managing the impacts of invasions within marine protected areas in collaboration with the US National Park Service, NOAA and Oregon State University.

"As a kid I remember wading knee deep into a sandy bay off the British Columbia coast where I grew up to pluck lumpy oysters up off the bottom. We haven't seen oysters there for over a decade, and their return is unlikely as the waters acidify there. Seeing changes like this in my own short lifetime are what inspire me to study and protect the oceans so that others have the chance to experience the amazing creatures in it," said Stephanie.

Even when she's not working, the ocean is always on her mind.

"Some people are 'bird watchers'; I consider myself a 'fish watcher.' When I'm not in the office, I prefer to be on or in the water. My happy place is on a scuba dive searching for unusual critters or watching fish hunt and hide. I'm embarrassed to admit that only a handful of the thousands of dives I've done have been in cold water, but I'm hoping to change that."

Stephanie has also served as an affiliate scientist with the Reef Environmental Education Foundation since 2009 where she designs trainings in marine research and monitoring for international governments and NGOs. She also develops and leads training in storytelling and science communication. Her research and teaching has taken her to more than 20 countries bordering the Pacific, Atlantic and Arctic Oceans.

Jessica Williams, geospatial research assistant

Jessica Williams completed her B.S. in Biology at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, and then quickly went on to work at the education department of the California Academy of Sciences where she developed a new ocean acidification program. This program educated the public on the science of pH and what community members could do about ocean acidification. Afterwards, she started working on her master's degree in the Applied Marine and Watershed Science program at CSUMB. There she discovered the world of GIS and mapping. She followed her education on GIS with an internship at the Ocean Science Trust.

“I think that GIS is such a powerful data communication tool. To show people on a map where they live and what resources are there is such an engaging and valuable way to communicate data,” said Jessica.

Currently, she is working with the Ocean Tipping Points team to communicate a case study done in Hawaii. A desire to communicate science effectively has guided Jessica’s career. She says that going to aquariums in her youth was very influential on her goals because they exemplified how people can be changed by a personal connection to the ocean.

“It’s really hard for me to just sit back and watch what’s happening to the world. I want to feel like I have some part in making the world a better place. I know that’s so cliché, but I would get restless doing something that wasn’t making progress on solving the environmental issues in the world,” said Jessica.

Héloïse Berkowitz, PhD student at Ecole Polytechnique, visiting student researcher at COS

Héloïse Berkowitz is a visiting researcher from Ecole polytechnique, CNRS, Université Paris Saclay. She is working on her PhD in management science, specializing in organization theory. Héloïse has master's degrees in international business and history and geopolitics. As an undergraduate at University Paris Sorbonne, she majored in history and geography. Her research currently focuses on meta-organizations - organizations which members are themselves organizations - that strive to achieve wider goals (examples include everything from trade associations to international collectives like the European Union). She has worked primarily in the oil and gas industry to see how the sector collectively responds to pressures for sustainability.

“I am confident that businesses are also part of the solution. Interviewing people [in the industry] gives me hope. At first, everyone was laughing at me because my main field was oil and gas and sustainability. They said, ‘That’s an oxymoron.’ Most would imagine [members of the industry] as indifferent to the planet, but I’ve only met people who’ve truly cared both about their organization and the environment. They wanted to make their organizations better,” said Héloïse.

In her short stint at COS, Héloïse hopes to learn as much as possible about the role cross-sectoral meta-organizations play in ocean governance, and to start interdisciplinary collaborations on the issue. She is drafting a collaborative paper on the topic that she hopes to publish. She also has experience in Big Data and will consult with COS researchers to provide insights.

Isabella (Isa) Badia Bellinger, Stanford in government fellow and COS summer intern

Isabella (Isa) Badia Bellinger is a Stanford in Government Fellow and current Stanford undergraduate studying Earth Systems. Her focus on the ocean was spurred by her research experience in Hawaii which included a project on traditional fishponds. Isa has a strong interest in the human side of environmental issues. As an intern at COS, she has been working on a variety of projects including assisting the communications team with video production, developing management tools with the California fisheries team and writing a paper which focuses on how graduate programs can prepare ocean leaders.

“The education project is particularly interesting because it applies so much to myself and my educational path,” said Isa.

On the California fisheries project, she is testing a survey tool for the market squid fishery that hopes to assist fishery managers with assessing their progress with the Marine Life Management Act. Her work with the communications department has also exposed her to other projects such as the coastal adaptation project.

“I like the balance. For the videos, I get to get out and see what people are doing first hand on a variety of projects.”

Isa loves being by the ocean. She's happy whenever she's swimming, surfing or boating in it. She is also involved in Stanford's NAACP chapter and passionate about increasing the representation of women of color in environmental/conservation science.

Allison (Alli) Nicole Cutting, small-scale fisheries intern

Allison (Alli) Cutting graduated from Seattle Pacific University in March of 2015, with a Bachelors in ecology and a minor in sociology. COS’ blend of social and natural science attracted her to the internship. She was also interested in the emphasis on small-scale fisheries and food security because of her background in fisheries research. She completed her senior project on integrative knowledge and cooperation in small-scale fisheries.

“I looked at the link between degraded fisheries and threatened communities. I also investigated different ways of knowing, like traditional ecological knowledge, and how that fits with Western science," Alli said about her project. "That’s where I saw my two areas of study fit together.”

As an intern with the small-scale fisheries team, Alli will work on a literature review of the best practices for small-scale fisheries governance. She will also look at reports from NGOs, practitioners and funders to elucidate what works and what doesn’t work in fisheries management. In the long term, Alli hopes to craft a career where she can be a “practitioner of the ocean.”

“I would love to explore the relationship between man and the sea, then bring what I find back to the public so it can be used in a tangible way.”

When Alli isn’t doing ocean research, she likes to backpack and sail. She is also dabbling in surfing.

Monica Moritsch, science and policy summer intern

Monica Moritsch, a PhD student at UC Santa Cruz, is this year’s Science and Policy Summer Intern. She is an alumni of both the Ocean Policy Course and MARINE’s campus liaison program. She says COS has played a key role in her professional development journey.

“I’m trying to figure out what to do with my life after grad school, and I’ve been really involved with MARINE. Through their events, I’ve gotten to see glimpses of what COS does. I was really curious about what it would be like to work here,” said Monica.

In her internship, she has been working with the geospatial team by creating maps of coastal vulnerability in Sonoma, Monterey and Santa Cruz, creating figures and ensuring the figures are clear to future readers. In her work, she has been making connections to the kelp depletion she’s seen in the mapping, and the consequences of sea star mass mortality, which is the focus of her PhD research.

"The most important thing I have learned so far is to tell your audience what they need to know. People at a coastal planning agency have very different information needs, prior knowledge and ways of acting on that information than people who are conducting ocean research," said Monica.

When Monica isn't working on ocean issues she likes to kayak and swing dance.

Giselle Schmitz, law and policy summer intern

Giselle Schmitz is the Center’s 2016 law and policy intern. She is a current law student at the University of Oregon who hopes to pursue a career in ocean related law. In her undergraduate career, Giselle gained a diverse educational experience studying both biology and literature. She has experience doing scientific and recreational dives along the Washington coast and in the San Juan Islands. She continues to explore uncharted waters by diving in Oregon’s lakes.

“I found policy as a natural way to use my writing abilities and segue them into ocean science,” said Giselle.

In her position as an intern, she has been researching legal questions and editing written materials. She is learning about public trust doctrine which meshes well with her interests in coastal issues related to climate change such as sea level rise and the depletion of resources.




Stephanie Green is an Early Career Science Fellow at the Stanford Center for Ocean Solutions where she leads research on the effects of climate change on ocean food webs. She is also a CIHR Banting Fellow. Her research focuses on issues ranging from invasive species and climate change to energy development and science policy.

Stephanie received her PhD from Simon Fraser University and BS from the University of British Columbia. During her dissertation, she developed trait and size-based foraging models that are used across the Caribbean region to set targets for managing the impacts of invasive Indo-Pacific lionfish on native marine species. In 2013, she was awarded a David H. Smith Conservation Research Fellowship to develop optimal approaches for managing the impacts of invasions within marine protected areas in collaboration with the US National Park Service, NOAA and Oregon State University.

Stephanie has served as an Affiliate Scientist with the Reef Environmental Education Foundation since 2009 where she designs training in marine research and monitoring for international governments and NGOs. She also develops and leads training in storytelling and science communication. Her research and teaching has taken her to more than 20 countries bordering the Pacific, Atlantic, and Arctic Ocean.





UCSC Liaison Since

Meredith began as a PhD student in the Kudela lab at UCSC in the fall of 2015.  She completed her BS and MS research under Richard Zimmerman at Old Dominion University studying in situ optical properties of coastal waters as an undergrad student, and developed a mechanistic model to predict the impact of environmental conditions on carbon uptake and isotope discrimination in Eelgrass (Zostera marina) as a graduate student.  While in the Kudela lab, Meredith plans to build on her previous experiences by broadly focusing on remote sensing as a tool for understand the biogeochemistry of coastal eelgrass and kelp systems.  Prior to starting her PhD at UCSC, Meredith worked for 2 years at California Maritime Academy as the Science Coordinator for Golden Bear Facility, a ballast water management system testing facility to the USCG and IMO.