The Ocean Tipping Points project brings together experts from many fields. We are natural and social scientists, law and policy experts, and managers, each offering a critical piece of the puzzle. Our collective expertise covers population and community ecology, mathematical modeling, environmental law, marine policy, cultural anthropology, sociology, geography, economics, fisheries biology, and marine resource management. This project represents a unique opportunity to share that expertise through a truly transdisciplinary collaboration where our ultimate goal is to develop results and insights that are useful, usable, and used by managers to improve the condition of marine ecosystems.

Carrie Kappel    

Carrie Kappel, PhD, marine ecologist, NCEAS and UCSB

Carrie is an Associate Project Scientist at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis. A marine conservation biologist and community ecologist, she received her PhD from Stanford University. Major themes of her work include quantifying the ways humans depend upon and impact marine species 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

Ben Halpern    

Ben Halpern, PhD, marine ecologist, NCEAS and UCSB

Ben is a Professor at the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management at UCSB and the lead scientist for the Ocean Health Index project. He is also a Chair in Marine Conservation at Imperial College London as part of the Grand Challenges in Ecosystems and the Environment program. He maintains an affiliation as Center Associate at NCEAS and is the Director of the Center for Marine Assessment and Planning (CMAP) and a Senior Fellow at the World Conservation Monitoring Centre, a part of the United Nations Environment Programme. Much of his research addresses issues related to Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning (CMSP), including cumulative impact and ecosystem service tradeoff assessments.

Kim Selkoe    

Kimberly Selkoe, PhD, marine ecologist, NCEAS and UCSB

Kim Selkoe is affiliated with UCSB’s Marine Science Institute and National Center of Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (her primary location), as well as the Hawai’i Institute of Marine Biology.  Since receiving her Ph.D. from UCSB in 2005 she has maintained three separate research threads: 1) advancing scientific tools for use in ecosystem based management and marine spatial planning, 2) understanding patterns and drivers of marine population connectivity with 'seascape' genetic techniques, and 3) both studying and improving consumer access to local and sustainable seafood.

Crow White    

Crow White, PhD, marine ecologist, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

Crow received his PhD in Ecology from UCSB. He is currently an assistant professor at California Polytechnic Institute in San Luis Obispo. The overarching theme of Crow’s research is quantifying the interactions among ecological communities and human users, and identifying their implications for natural resource management. He studies how spatial management can be optimally designed to achieve conservation and socioeconomic objectives. He uses decision theory, portfolio theory, ecosystem-service tradeoff analysis, and the coupling of empirics with modeling to quantify user group incentives, predict natural-human ecosystem dynamics, mediate conflicts and guide decision-making

Courtney Scarborough    

Courtney Scarborough, MS, project manager, UCSB

Courtney is a Project Scientist at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS). She received her Master’s degree in Environmental Science and Management from the Bren School at UCSB. Before joining this project team, Courtney spent the previous 3 years working at NCEAS helping to develop the Ocean Health Index, a framework to assess the health of the oceans through a coupled social-ecological systems approach. Her research interests lie at the intersection of innovative marine science and applied management solutions.


Mary Hunsicker


Mary Hunsicker, PhD, marine ecologist, NOAA

Mary is a postdoctoral fellow at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis. Her research interests focus on the structure and dynamics of marine food webs and the potential impacts of human activities and climate variability on species interactions and distributions. Her work provides insights into the population dynamics of marine organisms that benefit both management and conservation efforts. More recently, she has also begun to study the social-ecological complexities of marine ecosystems in effort to help improve their long-term sustainability. Mary received her Ph.D. from the University of Washington.


Meg Caldwell


Meg Caldwell, JD, law and policy expert, Stanford University, COS

Meg is the Executive Director for the Center for Ocean Solutions. She also directs the Environmental and Natural Resources Law & Policy Program at Stanford Law School, where her research and teaching focuses on the use of science in environmental and marine resource policy development and implementation as well as private and public incentives for natural resource conservation. She served on the California Coastal Commission from 2004-2007, including two years as its chairperson. From 2004 to 2011, she was a member of the California Marine Life Protection Act Blue Ribbon Task Force, helping California establish the largest network of marine protected areas in the nation.


Larry Crowder


Larry Crowder, PhD, marine ecologist, Stanford University, COS

Larry is Science Director of Stanford University’s Center for Ocean Solutions, Professor of Biology at Hopkins Marine Station and a Senior Fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment. His research centers on food web interactions, recruitment variation, and interdisciplinary approaches to marine conservation. He uses observational, experimental, and modeling approaches to understand these processes in an effort to improve management. He was Principal Investigator for the South Atlantic Bight Recruitment Experiment (SABRE), OBIS SEAMAP (Spatial Ecological Analysis of Megavertebrate Animal Populations), and Project GLOBAL (Global Bycatch Assessment of Long-Lived Species). Larry is a AAAS Fellow and was Duke University’s 2008-2009 Scholar/Teacher of the year.


Ashley Erickson


Ashley Erickson, JD, policy and education manager, Stanford University, COS

Ashley Erickson is the education and training manager at the Center for Ocean Solutions. In this role Ashley contributes her deep knowledge of ocean and coastal law and policy issues to meet the needs and challenges of decisionmakers whose actions directly impact ocean health. Ashley transitioned to education and training manager in winter 2014 after working as a law and policy fellow with the Center since 2011. She specifically relies on her previous work with the Center on ecosystem-based marine and coastal planning, the influences of multiple stressors to marine ecosystems, and fisheries management. Her current contributions build on these previous activities as she continues to deepen and broaden the Center’s engagement with decisionmakers, collaborators, and graduate students, shortening and strengthening the links between knowledge, action, and positive change for the ocean and coasts.

Melissa Foley    

Melissa Foley, PhD, marine ecologist, Stanford University, COS

Melissa is a science early career fellow with the Center for Ocean Solutions’ Marine Spatial Planning Initiative. She recently finished her PhD in marine ecology at the University of California, Santa Cruz where she studied how the movement of subsidies across the land-sea interface influences ecosystem structure and functioning in nearshore marine habitats. The broader goal of her research is to understand how human activities on land influence the ability of marine ecosystems to function and provide ecosystem services that humans depend on. Melissa is also a research associate with UCSC’s Institute of Marine Science where she is investigating how wildfires affect subsidy exchange at the land-sea interface.


Michael Fox


Michael Fox, MS, marine ecologist, Stanford University, COS

Michael joined the Center for Ocean Solutions as a research intern in November 2009. He is currently finishing his M.S. at Moss Landing Marine Labs where he studied recovery from disturbance in giant kelp. Mike will begin his Ph.D at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in fall 2013. As a Nancy Foster Scholar, Mike will be working closely with the Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary on Maui, HI and the Pacific Remote Islands National Marine Monument during his dissertation. His research aims to connect wastewater effluent to declines in live coral cover on Maui and to determine if the processes structuring coral-algal competition are consistent across a gradient of degraded to near-pristine reef systems. 


Ryan Kelly


Ryan Kelly, PhD/JD, marine ecologist, Assistant Professor, University of Washington

Trained as both an ecologist and a lawyer, Ryan Kelly has a broad set of interests, focused both on hard scientific data and policymakers’ use of those data. From the science side, he studies the interplay between geography, ecology, and genetics in marine species. His more applied research joins genetic and ecological research with real-world implementation in law and policy, particularly with respect to environmental monitoring, resource management, endangered species, and ocean acidification. In general, he is drawn to projects that have significant elements of both scientific and policy relevance as we work towards more sustainable use of marine resources. Dr. Kelly received his Ph.D. in Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology from Columbia University, and his JD from University of California, Berkeley, School of Law.


Jack Kittinger


Jack Kittinger, PhD, human geographer, Stanford University, COS

Jack is a human geographer and coastal ecologist with broad interests in understanding and advancing solutions to complex problems that face society and the ocean environment. His research explores how social, economic, and cultural factors influence the ways in which people use, perceive, and govern natural resources, with a goal of using science to inform environmental management, planning and policy. Many of Dr. Kittinger’s research projects have focused on applying the results of basic research to community planning and management and he often collaborates with scientists, managers, and community stakeholders in knowledge-to-action partnerships to bridge science to policy and practice.  Dr. Kittinger received his PhD from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. 

Megan Mach    

Megan Mach, PhD, marine ecologist, Stanford University, COS

Megan Mach is an early career fellow at the Center for Ocean Solutions working on integrating science and management towards improved methods for ecosystem-based management in marine systems. She eceived a Ph.D. from the University of British Columbia's (UBC) Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability focused on marine ecosystem-based management and impacts of exotic species invasions. After completing her Ph.D., she worked as a planner with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (Canada) to help develop and test a cumulative risk assessment framework for the Pacific North Coast Integrated Management Area (PNCIMA).  She was also a postdoctoral research fellow for Dr. Kai Chan at the University of British Columbia working on cumulative impacts to ecosystem services on a project funded by the David and Lucille Packard Foundation.

Rebecca Martone    

Rebecca Martone, PhD, marine ecologist, Stanford University, COS

As the program lead for the Ecosystem Health focal area at the Center for Ocean Solutions, Rebecca works to integrate natural and social science with policy and management to inform solutions necessary for healthy and resilient coastal and marine ecosystems. Rebecca is an empirical ecologist with a focus on ecosystem-based management and ecosystem services research, and has extensive experience managing large-scale, interdisciplinary teams working on real-world problems. Her research focuses on human-caused changes to marine ecosystems and consequences for ecosystem services on which people depend. Rebecca received a Ph.D. from Stanford University in biological sciences where she integrated social and ecological research to inform sustainability of small-scale fisheries.

Lindley Mease    

Lindley Mease, Research Analyst, Stanford University, COS

Lindley joined the Center for Ocean Solutions in September 2012.  She earned her bachelor’s degree at Stanford University in human biology and is currently pursuing a graduate degree in earth systems.  Previously, she has worked for California Environmental Associates in San Francisco on projects related to marine conservation and philanthropy.  Her research includes environmental management and policy, effective communication of ecological research, and social norms around behavior change.


Rod Fujita


Rod Fujita, PhD, marine ecologist, Environmental Defense Fund

Rod is Director of R&D for Environmental Defense Fund’s Oceans Program and a Visiting Fellow at COS, where he is working on Marine Spatial Planning, managing for ecosystem resilience, characterization and control of cumulative impacts, and the development of markets for unpriced ecosystem services. With EDF, Rod helped to establish the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, Channel Islands marine reserve network, and California’s landmark Marine Life Protection Act.  Rod is a leader in the theory and practice of sustainable fisheries. He has extensive experience working with fishing communities, regulators, and business leaders in North America and beyond. In 2000, Rod was awarded a Pew Fellowship in Marine Conservation.


Willow Battista


Willow Battista, MS, environmental policy expert, Environmental Defense Fund

Willow is a recent graduate from the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management at UCSB where she specialized in Economics and Politics of the Environment and Coastal Marine Resource Management. She has a bachelor's in Psychology from University of Washington. Since graduating, Willow has been working on a variety of projects aimed at influencing international environmental policy. She recently completed an internship with Environmental Defense Fund's Catch Shares Design Center, followed by an internship with The Natural Capital Project working on their Water Funds program. In her career she hopes to encourage the implementation of evidence-based environmental policy geared towards the conservation of biodiversity. 


Kendra Karr


Kendra Karr, PhD, marine ecologist, Environmental Defense Fund

Kendra is with the R & D team for Environmental Defense Fund's Oceans Program. She recently finished her PhD in marine ecology at the University of California, Santa Cruz where her studies focused on how variability in a biogenic habitat influences ecosystem structure and functioning in nearshore marine habitats.  Since receiving her PhD in 2011, major themes of research with EDF has focused in 1) assessing thresholds in marine ecosystems, 2) managing fishing mortality with more effective effort and spatial controls, and 3) data-limited stock assessment methods. Kendra is also a research associate with UCSC’s Institute of Marine Science.


Phillip Levin


Phillip Levin, PhD, marine ecologist, National Marine Fisheries Service, NOAA

Phil leads the Ecosystem Science Program at NOAA Fisheries’ Northwest Fisheries Science Center. He is a community ecologist and conservation biologist who is interested in bridging the gaps between theory and practice in conservation biology, and developing modeling and statistical approaches to inform marine ecosystem-based management.  He is currently focused on developing scientific tools to inform Ecosystem Assessments and Marine Spatial Planning.  Through this work, he has led the development of new tools for characterizing ecosystem health and forecasting the cumulative effects of management decisions and climate change on living marine resources.  Before joining NOAA in 1999, Phil was an Assistant Professor at Texas A&M University.  He received his Ph.D. from the University of New Hampshire.


Jameal Samhouri


Jameal Samhouri, PhD, marine ecologist, Northwest Fisheries Science Center, NOAA

Jameal is a marine ecologist and conservation biologist, working now as a member of the Nearshore Ecology Team at the Northwest Fisheries Science Center in Seattle, Washington, USA. His research focuses on how people's activities influence marine communities, and how changes in marine communities affect people. Most of his work is now centered on science to inform decision making related to ecosystem-based management, with a particular focus on the US West Coast. 

Adrian Stier    

Adrian Stier, PhD, marine ecologist, Northwest Fisheries Science Center, NOAA

Adrian is a marine ecologist whose research seeks to understand the causes and consequences of biodiversity. He takes an approach that combines theoretical and experimental techniques with meta-analysis and interdisciplinary collaboration to determine the drivers of community assembly and ecosystem function. Adrian received his PhD from the University of Florida and served as a Killam Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of British Columbia.   

Adrian Stier    

Alan Friedlander, PhD, marine ecologist, University of Hawai'i at Manoa

For more than 30 years Alan Friedlander has been examining population regulation in marine ecosystems with particular emphasis on responses to exploitation, marine protected area effectiveness, as well as traditional and contemporary fisheries management practices. Alan is currently Chief Scientist for National Geographic’s Pristine Seas project whose goal is to locate, survey, and help protect the last wild places in the ocean. He started his career in the early 1980s as a fisheries extension officer in the Kingdom of Tonga and then worked for Territorial Fish and Wildlife and the National Park Service in the US Virgin Islands where he conducted research on coral reefs throughout the Caribbean. 


Melissa Poe, PhD, Environmental Social Scientist, University of Washington Sea Grant

Melissa Poe is an environmental social scientist at the University of Washington Sea Grant Program and a liaison with NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center. Trained as an environmental anthropologist, Melissa applies political ecology, ethnoecology, and cultural geography approaches to environmental problems through participatory research. Melissa earned her masters and doctorate at the University of Washington focusing on resource-based livelihoods and community-based management. Melissa is a contributing scientist to NOAA’s California Current Integrated Ecosystem Assessment, and a social science advisor to the Puget Sound Partnership. Melissa has conducted extensive fieldwork throughout Pacific North America in marine and terrestrial ecosystems.


Phil Loring, PhD, Anthropologist, University of Saskatchewan

Phil is an anthropologist with the School of Environment and Sustainability at the University of Saskatchewan. His research focuses on linkages among food security, ecosystem sustainability, and community health and well being, and for the last 10 years he has been working on these issues in multiple communities in Alaska and the Canadian Arctic. He received his PhD from the Center for Cross-Cultural Studies and the Resilience and Adaptation Program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.