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SFG Team

Steve Gaines

Steve Gaines

Principal Investigator, Dean of the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management

Steven Gaines is Dean of the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His research explores the design of marine reserve networks, climate change impacts on ocean ecosystems, and more sustainable fisheries management using market-based reforms. He has received numerous awards, including a Pew Fellowship, the inaugural Marc Hirshman Award for excellence in student mentoring, election to the American Association for Advancement of Science, and the Peter Benchley Prize for Ocean Science. He has 190 publications, including four books, and his collaborative work on sustainable fisheries was named a top scientific contribution of 2008 by the journal Nature. Prior to his appointment as Dean, Steve served as Director of the UC Santa Barbara Marine Science Institute, and as UCSB Acting Dean of Science and Acting Vice Chancellor for Research. He was a founding Principal Investigator of the Sustainable Fisheries Group, and works closely with co-PI Chris Costello and research staff to seek market-based solutions for economic revitalization of fisheries. Steve earned a BS in Biology from the University of California, Irvine, and a PhD in Ecology from Oregon State University.

Contact Information:
office: Bren Hall 2410
phone: 805-893-4339
email: gaines[at]bren.ucsb.edu
Gaines Lab Website

Christopher Costello

Chris Costello

Principal Investigator, Professor of Environmental and Resource Economics

Chris is a Professor of Environmental and Resource Economics at the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management at UC Santa Barbara. His research is in natural resource management under uncertainty, incomplete property rights for natural resources, and applied bioeconomics for management and conservation. In his work, he combines theoretical micro-economics with modeling and empirical analysis to inform policy on fisheries management, biological diversity, introduced species, industrial regulation, or marine policy. He has worked closely with national governments and colleagues from around the world to translate his research into on-the-ground action, and frequently collaborates with researchers in disciplines outside of economics, such as statistics, ecology, biogeography, and mathematics. In 2016, he was awarded a Peter Benchley Ocean Award for Excellence in Solutions. He serves as an adviser to the Ocean Protection Council, the Marine Life Protection Act Initiative, and the Communication Partnership for Science and the Sea, and he is a Faculty Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He earned a BA from UC Berkeley, a MA from Oregon State University, and a PhD from UC Berkeley.

Contact Information:
office: Bren Hall 4410
phone: 805-893-5802
email: costello[at]bren.ucsb.edu
Christopher Costello's Home Page

Michaela Clemence

Michaela Clemence

Program Director

Michaela grew up on the coast in New England as tidal pool explorer and an avid architect of the sand. Since those days, she has worked to understand the connection between the ocean and the communities who depend on it and how to use scientific and conservation tools to guide decision making and reduce user conflicts in marine resource management. At SFG, she works with partners to integrate innovative science and modeling into on-the-ground projects. Prior to working at SFG, she was a 2012 Sea Grant Knauss Fellow in the Program Coordination Office in NOAA Headquarters in Washington, DC. She received her BS in biology and environmental science from the University of Richmond and her Master's degree in coastal marine resource management from the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at UCSB. Her graduate work focused on marine spatial planning and bio-economic modeling for offshore shrimp aquaculture in Mexico. Michaela has also previously worked with Bren as the Latin American Fisheries Fellowship (LAFF) Coordinator, the Partnership for Interdisciplinary Study of Coastal Oceans (PISCO) on the Science of Marine Reserves team, the National Marine Fisheries Service on the role of MPAs in resource management in the Caribbean, and as a corporate recruiter for bio-pharmaceutical companies in Boston.

Contact Information:
office: Marine Science Research Building, Rm 4322
phone: 805-570-7565
email: mclemence[at]bren.ucsb.edu

Matt Burgess

Postdoctoral Researcher

Originally hailing from Montreal, Canada, Matt got his Honours B.Sc. in 2009 from the University of Toronto, and his Ph.D in 2014 from the University of Minnesota. Matt's research focuses on ecosystem approaches to fisheries management and conservation under capacity constraints and multiple competing objectives. For more information, see Matt’s website.

Contact Information:
office: Bren Hall 4029
email: mburgess[at]bren.ucsb.edu

Reniel B. Cabral

Postdoctoral Researcher

Ren received his BS, MS, and PhD in Physics from the University of the Philippines, Diliman. He then worked with marine scientists and several NGOs in the Philippines to develop decision support tools for coastal resource management. Ren has worked on ecological modeling of fish-fisher interactions, applying network theory to marine metapopulations, age and stage structured modeling, modeling fish aggregating devices, marine spatial planning, climate vulnerability assessment of coastal fishing communities, and agent-based modeling of various biological systems. Ren has collaborated on coastal governance and socioeconomic complexities in small-scale fisheries in the Philippines and most recently he worked as a consultant interacting with government agencies and NGOs in the Coral Triangle. While at SFG, Ren's research interests include ecosystem services analysis, biodiversity, fisheries, marine protected areas, marine spatial planning, and marine ecology. For more information, see Ren’s website.

Contact Information:
office: Bren Hall 3414
email: rcabral[at]bren.ucsb.edu

Tyler Clavelle

Tyler Clavelle

Project Researcher

Tyler received his BA as a double major in Biology and Economics from Bucknell University in 2009. Following graduation, he spent two years working as the assistant manager of the Bimini Biological Field Station, a shark research lab in Bimini, Bahamas. After developing an interest in science and policy intersections, Tyler returned to graduate school and earned his Master's degree in coastal marine resource management from the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at UCSB. For his thesis work, he developed a bio-economic modeling approach for examining the production of fish meal substitutes in artisanal fishing communities in Baja California Sur, Mexico. Tyler's interests include aquaculture, small scale fisheries, offshore renewable energy, and using marine spatial planning and bio-economic modeling to inform policy and management.

Contact Information:
office: Bren Hall 4528
email: tclavelle[at]bren.ucsb.edu

Jason Flower

Project Researcher

Jason Flower earned his BSc in Chemistry and Molecular Physics from the University of Nottingham, UK. He then spent several years working as a PADI Divemaster and Instructor in Greece and the Cayman Islands, as well as an English Teacher in Latvia. Wanting to learn more about the marine environment, Jason worked for marine conservation NGOs in Honduras, Bonaire, Tobago and the Seychelles, conducting reef surveys, teaching tropical marine conservation, working on reef restoration, and collaborating with and training local partners to aid conservation efforts. Returning to the UK, he completed an MSc in Tropical Coastal Management at Newcastle University. At the University of Queensland in Australia, Jason worked on the EU funded Future of Reefs in a Changing Environment project where he developed a coral reef managers’ handbook, "Towards reef resilience and sustainable livelihoods: a handbook for Caribbean reef managers". He has been working with the Foundation for Environmental Conservation on its next International Conference on Environmental Future. Jason is dedicated to using scientific results to guide policy and management actions, and encouraging the exchange of ideas across different fields of research. In his role at SFG he provides scientific input to the planning and implementation of marine spatial plans and fisheries legislation.

Contact Information:

office: Bren Hall 4528
phone: 805-893-4058
email: jason.flower@ucsb.edu

Juan Mayorga

Project Researcher


Juan grew up in Bogota, Colombia, were he received his bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering with minors in biology and management from the Universidad de Los Andes. After completing his undergraduate degree, he received a prestigious scholarship to participate in the Sea Education Association Semester program. In this role he analyzed suitable tuna habitat in the Central Pacific Ocean while living aboard a sailing vessel. Since then, Juan has applied interdisciplinary science to a wide array of marine science and conservation problems. Juan received a master’s degree from UCSB’s Bren School of Environmental Science & Management, where he was a Latin American Fisheries Fellow specializing in coastal marine resource management. Working under Chris Costello and Enric Sala from National Geographic Pristine Seas, Juan conducted an economic valuation of sharks for the tourism industry of Galápagos, and for his master’s thesis, he led a team of fellow students in a bio-economic analysis that ultimately informed the rezoning of the archipelago and the creation of the new Darwin and Wolf Marine Sanctuary. Juan’s research interests include bio-economic modeling, marine spatial planning, shark conservation and ecology, small-scale fisheries, and the role of data science to inform policy and management of marine resources. At SFG, Juan is leading a project in partnership with Global Fishing Watch that uses satellite data to conduct novel analyses. His first major project is a spatial analysis of fishing profits on the high seas that will provide valuable insight into the economic feasibility of creating marine reserves in the high seas. In his time off, Juan works as a science manager onboard the exploration vessel E/V Nautilus where he does ocean exploration and research, and shares the excitement of science and exploration with the next generation of marine scientists.

Contact Information:
office: Bren Hall 4528
phone: 805-893-4058
email: juanmayorga[at]ucsb.edu

Grant McDermott

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Postdoctoral Researcher

Grant hails from Cape Town, South Africa. He did his bachelor's degree at the University of Cape Town and later completed a PhD at the Norwegian School of Economics. In between undergraduate and graduate studies, he worked for several years in the private sector and also did some extensive travelling. Most notable was a 12,500 km bicycle journey from Cairo to Cape Town. His research fields are environmental and resource economics, with interests in climate, energy, water and fisheries. His work utilises economic theory and Bayesian data analysis alongside traditional econometrics. He is particularly excited by the promise of big data and the prospect of using new tools to address environmental and social questions. For more information, see Grant's website.


Contact Information:
office: Bren Hall 4508
email: gmcdermott[at]bren.ucsb.edu

Gavin McDonald

Gavin McDonald

Project Researcher

Gavin grew up just outside of Boston, spending his summers at beaches throughout New England. With a strong interest in science and math, Gavin began his career as a mechanical engineer. He holds both a Bachelor's and Master's degree in Mechanical Engineering from Georgia Tech, along with a Master Professionnel in Integrated Manufacturing from École Nationale Supérieure d'Arts et Métiers (ENSAM) in Metz, France. After three years working as a Research Engineer at the aerospace research and development company Busek, he decided to go back to school to follow his lifelong passion for coastal marine conservation. Gavin received a Master's degree from the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management at UCSB. For his thesis work, he developed a model to quantify the socioeconomic value that non-consumptive private recreational boaters place on the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. While at Bren he worked as a scientific diver for PISCO (Partnership for Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans) and as a research assistant for NCEAS (the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis). His interests lie in using science to improve fisheries management for the benefit of both conservation and the livelihoods of fishers. His work at SFG includes bio-economic modeling, data-poor stock assessments, and data collection and management. Gavin is a PADI Divemaster and AAUS Scientific Diver.

Contact Information:
office: Bren Hall 4528
email: gmcdonald[at]bren.ucsb.edu

Frederik Noack

Postdoctoral Researcher

Frederik’s research focuses on the interplay of economic development and living resources such as fish and forests.  He applies both theory and empirical methods to examining complex socio-ecological problems. His recent research focuses on the insurance value of natural ecosystems and biodiversity for rural households in developing countries. Frederik hails from Germany, where he received a Master's degree (Diplom) in Landscape Ecology from the University of Greifswald, and a PhD (Doktor) in Economics from the University of Kiel.  He has collaborated with The World Bank, Center for International Forestry Research, and other organizations on research around the globe, including studies in Azerbaijan, Brazil, India, Iran, Malaysia and Uganda.

Photo Credit: Frommel fotodesign

Contact Information:
office: Bren Hall 4508
email: frederik.noack[at]ucsb.edu

Brandon Owashi

Project Researcher

Originally from San Diego, Brandon received a BS in biology
from University of Redlands and a Master’s in fisheries science from Oregon State University under the supervision of David Sampson. For his thesis work, he evaluated the sensitivity of the data-poor stock assessment method, DB- SRA, to selectivity and spatial scale. He also investigated the feasibility of regional stock assessments off the coast of Oregon. Brandon serves as a Project Researcher for the Sustainable Fisheries Group and helps on various projects. He also works for the Marine Science Institute at UC Santa Barbara and splits his time between the two positions. Brandon’s research interests include age- and stage-structured modeling, data-poor stock assessment methods, and spatial fisheries management.

 

Contact Information:
office: Marine Science Research Building, Rm 3405
email: brandon.owashi[at]ucsb.edu

Laura Lea Rubino

Projects and Operations Coordinator

Laura Lea grew up in Nashville,TN, but spent summers exploring Maine's beautiful coastline and falling in love with the ocean. Given her interest in the ways that humans perceive and interact with the natural environment, Laura Lea studied both human development and environmental studies at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, FL. One year after graduating from Eckerd, Laura Lea moved to Santa Barbara to pursue a master's degree at UCSB's Bren School of Environmental Science & Management. At the Bren School Laura Lea studied environmental economics and policy, with an emphasis in environmental communications. For her master's thesis research, she investigated funding sources for a long-term, incentivized vessel speed reduction program in the Santa Barbara Channel--a management strategy that is known to simultaneously reduce ship-generated air pollution emissions and the number of endangered whales fatally struck by fast-moving cargo ships. As a master's student, Laura Lea worked in the Bren School Media Office and interned at The Nature Conservancy in Seattle, WA. At SFG, she is responsible for leading the research group's communication strategy, providing operational support to the team, and maintaining collaborative partnerships with foundations, government groups, and conservation organizations.

Contact Information:
office: Bren Hall 4528
phone: 805-893-4058
email: lauralea[at]ucsb.edu

Cody Szuwalski

Cody Szuwalski

Fisheries Scientist

Cody earned his BS in Environmental Science and an MA in Aquatic Ecology from the University of Kansas while researching the causes of the decline of an endangered minnow, the Topeka shiner. He moved to Seattle to study Fishery Science at the University of Washington where he completed his doctoral dissertation on the assessment and management of snow crab in the Bering Sea.  At SFG, Cody will be exploring practical ways to assess and manage data-limited fisheries and the strategies by which managers should increase the intensity of monitoring and management.  Management strategies under uncertainty and climate change, improving stock assessment methodology, and decision analysis for fisheries management are other research avenues Cody plans to investigate while at SFG.

Contact Information:
office: Bren Hall 4528
email: cszuwalski[at]bren.ucsb.edu

Lennon Thomas

Lennon Thomas

Project Researcher

Lennon received her BS in marine biology and her MS in marine science from Hawaii Pacific University.  For her thesis work, Lennon completed a stock assessment on the Kona crab fishery in the Main Hawaiian Islands to assist the State of Hawaii Department of Aquatic Resources and Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council (WPRFMC) in making management decisions for this fishery. After graduating, Lennon began working at the NOAA Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center with the Stock Assessment Program.  During this time, she researched and applied data-poor assessment techniques to coral reef fish stocks. Lennon has served as a working group member and lead rapporteur for the International Scientific Committee for Tuna and Tuna-like species (ISC) Billfish Working Group and currently works in the ISC’s Secretariat Office to provide technical and scientific assistance to the ISC chair in developing and preparing meeting products. Lennon is interested in methods and tools used to manage and assess data-poor stocks, sustainable solutions for the management of coral reef fisheries, and is very passionate about field work. Her role at SFG will include providing scientific input to multi-use marine spatial planning initiatives.

Contact Information:
office: Bren Hall 4528
email: lthomas[at]bren.ucsb.edu