Chris Mobley has been sanctuary superintendent since the fall of 2001. He began his NOAA career in 1987 as a commissioned officer in the NOAA corps, serving aboard the NOAA ship Malcom Baldrige as deck officer, working diver, and shipboard computer manager. He then worked for 10 years in NOAA Fisheries' Santa Rosa, California field office, focusing on the conservation and restoration of marine and freshwater fish habitat. As the Pacific salmon coordinator for NOAA Fisheries' Office of Protected Resources in Silver Spring, Maryland, Chris worked on policy, funding, and administration of Pacific salmon recovery efforts under the Endangered Species Act. During his career, Chris has had extensive experience in building partnerships and collaborating with state and federal agencies, local governments, tribes, businesses, non-profit organizations and user groups, often on highly controversial and contentious issues. Chris has a Bachelor of Arts degree in biology from Dartmouth College, a Master of Science degree in oceanography from the University of Washington, and an MBA from Sonoma State University.
Shauna coordinates outreach, volunteers, and public affairs for Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. She joined the sanctuary team in 1998 and since then she has been instrumental in developing and maintaining the Channel Islands Naturalist Corps (CINC) volunteer program, a joint program between the sanctuary and Channel Islands National Park. The CINC program has over 140 volunteers trained to provide whale watch interpretation, guided island hikes, outreach, and research support for both agencies. Shauna came to CINMS from the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History where she worked under a cooperative agreement with the sanctuary to start the original pilot whale watch volunteer program and conduct public education programs at the Sea Center aquarium. Before that she lived and worked on Catalina Island, where she taught hands-on marine science programs at the Catalina Island Marine Institute (CIMI). Prior to CIMI, Shauna was a fellow for the White House and President's Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) in Washington D.C., where she developed an interest in environmental education. She graduated from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor of Arts in political science and environmental science and a Master of Arts in secondary science education. She also received an associate's degree in marine diving technology at Santa Barbara City College, a program which includes training in surface supplied commercial diving, remotely operated vehicles, and hyperbaric chambers, and she holds her U.S. Coast Guard 100-ton captain's license and has been trained as an EMT. Shauna was born and raised in Southern California and spends her spare time boating and sharing her passion for the ocean with her family.
Julie Bursek is team lead for the Education and Outreach Department at Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. She also serves as the unit diving supervisor, managing all NOAA divers at the site and ensuring dive operations the sanctuary supports are conducted safely. She also works closely with the Research Department to coordinate different science missions, and works to bridge together sanctuary research and education programs. Julie oversees the development of education programs, exhibits, outreach products, and partnerships that increase awareness about the sanctuary's marine, cultural, and maritime heritage resources. She's spent over 30 years conducting scientific investigations of the offshore, shallow subtidal and intertidal systems of the Southern California Bight including the Channel Islands. Her professional experience includes the development of exhibits at partner visitor centers, development of citizen science intertidal monitoring programs, developing and implementing floating laboratory educational and research programs and cultivating partnerships with community businesses, science educators, and research institutions to promote environmental awareness and stewardship in the classroom, at community festivals and events. Julie holds a bachelor's degree in aquatic biology from University of California at Santa Barbara and a master's degree in biology from California State University Fullerton.
Chris Caldow has been with NOAA since 2000 when he became a John A. Knauss marine policy fellow with the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science's (NCCOS) Biogeography Branch at NOAA headquarters. Chris subsequently became chief of the Biogeography Branch, where he remained until coming west in July 2014 taking on the role of research coordinator at Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. Since 2014 Chris has built out the research capacity of the sanctuary through innovative partnerships with top tier academic institutions such as UC Santa Barbara, federal and state agencies as well as via fellowships, internships, and contracting. Chris and his team are working on high-visibility initiatives such as ocean noise, deep-sea exploration, habitat mapping, and human uses that are key to local sanctuary management but are also of regional and national significance. Chris obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in aquatic biology from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1996 and a Master of Science degree in biology from the University of Houston in 2000 where he focused on understanding early life history of reef fish, marine protected area science, and climate change. Chris has over 60 publications in the peer-reviewed and technical scientific literature.
Elizabeth (Lizzie) Duncan joined the CINMS research team as a 2017/18 California Sea Grant state fellow. During the course of her fellowship, Lizzie explored how to quantify the various human uses of the sanctuary to better understand fine-scale pressures on the resources CINMS is tasked to monitor and protect. This type of analysis will help CINMS quantify the ecosystem services the sanctuary provides to its stakeholders. As a federal employee on staff since February 2020, Lizzie is continuing her work on human use within the sanctuary, in addition to co-coordinating the Deep Sea Coral Research and Technology Program's (DSCRTP) West Coast Initiative (2018-2021). The West Coast is the focus of a multi-year field research initiative to better understand, conserve, and manage deep-sea coral and sponge ecosystems; outcomes of this initiative will have direct implications for sanctuaries, Essential Fish Habitat and Rockfish Conservation Area designations, offshore energy development, and new deep-sea technologies and exploration. Before joining CINMS, Lizzie completed both her Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in marine biology and biology from California State University, Long Beach. As an undergraduate, she first discovered her interest in the intersection of science and policy while interning for NOAA's Montrose Settlements and Restoration Program. As a graduate student, she was awarded the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (NSF GRF) and the NSF East Asia and Pacific Summer Institutes Fellowship (EAPSI) for U.S. graduate students to study the responses of valuable marine species to anthropogenic-induced changes to the environment, aiming to one day pursue a career to help conserve the marine environment, protect the life it supports, and promote sustainable ocean use.
Dr. Ryan Freedman first joined Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary's science team in March 2014 as a California Sea Grant fellow on a one-year appointment. He stayed with the CINMS team through a contract with Cardinal Point Captains before becoming a federal employee on staff in February 2020. His research background covers a wide range of topics; in particular he is interested in addressing coastal management concerns using a variety of spatial and quantitative techniques. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science at the University of Miami where he double majored in biology and Marine Science with minors in Chemistry and geography. During his undergraduate career, he worked with various faculty members on several projects including mapping coral community decline, creating 3D maps of stromatolites, and modeling manta ray behavior off the mid-Atlantic coast. He had the opportunity to analyze spatial datasets for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill while at NOAA's Southeast Fisheries Science Center. He also spent time with the Oceans Research group in South Africa, where he assisted in the tracking and data analysis of white shark movements as an intern. In 2011, he joined the Shark Lab at California State University Long Beach, where his master's degree work focused on analyzing movements of juvenile sharks and fishes to assess the landscape connectivity, habitat use, and effectiveness of restored estuaries. In 2013, he participated in the NOAA Recruiting, Training and Research (RTR) program's resource dynamics workshop, helping to apply new population modeling techniques to the Gulf sturgeon population and surveying regional stakeholder interests. In 2019 he completed his doctorate degree at the University of California, Santa Barbara where his research quantified human impacts to sanctuary resources focusing on climate change and cetacean ship strikes. Ryan is enthusiastic about working alongside resource managers and scientists to address the needs of the sanctuary.
Keighley Lane joined the sanctuary team in January 2023. Her work supports site management, resource protection, research, and outreach. She started her NOAA career in 2020 as a California State Sea Grant Fellow at Southwest Fisheries Science Center, with a focus on sustainable aquaculture science and policy. Prior to this, Keighley worked with NGOs, research institutions, and tribes to engage different stakeholders with conservation. Her work has taken her to the Rocky Mountains, Hawai’i, the San Juan Islands, California’s North Coast, and the Sierra Nevada. Keighley received her Bachelor’s from Smith College, and a Master’s in marine biodiversity from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego. Her graduate research used spatial data and Tolowa Dee-ni' traditional ecological knowledge to investigate surf smelt decline. In her free time, Keighley can usually be found freediving, surfing, or road-tripping around the West.
After completing his first assignment as a NOAA Corps Officer aboard the NOAA Ship Nancy Foster, ENS Lucas is now part of the Channel Islands NMS team! As the Vessel Operations Coordinator for the sanctuary, Daniel oversees research operations, planning and logistics, and often lends a hand aboard the R/V Shearwater and R/V Minke. Before NOAA, Daniel spent time aboard multiple tall ships, sailing as a deckhand aboard the S/S Corwith Cramer, the Schooner Adventuress, and the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater. His time spent in Glacier National Park as an interpretive boat captain also contributed to his enthusiasm for operating ships in and around protected natural areas. Daniel holds a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and Environmental Studies from Warren Wilson College, located in Asheville, NC. During his last semester, he worked as an independent research consultant for the NASA Develop National Program, while also managing a flock of sheep on a livestock farm!
Sean joined Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary in 1997 and serves as the site's Policy, Information and Management Officer. He is responsible for the development of policies and programs to address industrial, military, commercial and recreational uses and impacts in and around the sanctuary. He also handles emergency response, enforcement, permits, community relations, and is a liaison to the media. Sean helped to create the marine protected area network to restore local fish and invertebrate populations and habitats in the sanctuary, and helped the state of California to do the same in state waters on the mainland. With a multi-agency coalition and community support he has helped to move commercial shipping lanes to protect endangered whales. Daily he strives to raise the sanctuary's profile locally, nationally, and internationally through astute communication, media, and negotiation skills.Â He has forged trusted partnerships with academia, government agencies, non-government organizations, and sanctuary user groups. Sean has a Master of Marine Affairs degree from the School of Marine Affairs, University of Washington, and a Bachelor of Arts in environmental studies, University of California at Santa Cruz. In 1998 he was nominated as a presidential management fellow. Sean is an avid outdoorsman who surfs, boats, paddles, scuba and free dives, fishes, hunts, skis, and snowboards throughout California's wildlands.
Todd Jacobs is the deputy superintendent of operations and administration of Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. He has worked for the National Ocean Service (NOS) of NOAA since 1989, when he was hired as the Research and Education Coordinator for the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. He has held positions of progressively increasing responsibility in NOAA's National Marine Sanctuary Program, including serving as the founding superintendent of Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary and as Northwest regional representative of the National Marine Sanctuary Program, where he was NOAA's point person on the proposed Northwest Straits National Marine Sanctuary, in Washington's Puget Sound. His operational background includes facilitating and conducting research projects using research vessels, crewed submersibles, aircraft, and uncrewed aircraft systems.
He has been actively involved with the NOAA Uncrewed Aircraft Systems (UAS) Program since its inception in 2004. His area of focus is marine monitoring with UAS in NOAA. This includes biological surveys, oil spills, and emergency response, marine debris/lost fishing gear as well as enforcement and surveillance of fisheries and marine protected areas. He has worked extensively with the Department of Defense and civilian federal agencies including the US Coast Guard, Navy, Air Force, NASA, Fish and Wildlife Service, and National Park Service. He has been involved in more than 20 UAS missions.
Todd was also active in NOAA's scientific diving program. He was raised locally and has been scuba diving and surfing at the Channel Islands since the late 1970s. Prior to his work with NOAA, Todd worked for the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, private environmental consulting firms, and for both UCSB and USC, where he worked as a research diver in the kelp beds offshore of the San Onofre nuclear power plant. Todd holds a Bachelor of Arts in social science with emphasis in environment from San Diego State University and an MBA from the University of Washington. He has also received advanced training in dispute resolution and negotiation.
As deputy superintendent for programs since 2008, Michael Murray assists with overall management of the sanctuary and works to integrate and enhance resource protection, research and monitoring, education and outreach, cultural heritage, and maritime heritage program areas. Michael first joined CINMS in 1999, and since then has enjoyed helping to connect the local community with management of the sanctuary through his ongoing role as coordinator of the Sanctuary Advisory Council. He also leads sanctuary efforts to engage with local indigenous Chumash Community members. Prior to joining CINMS, Michael worked as a planner for NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries from 1995-1999 in Seattle, Washington on a feasibility study for a proposed national marine sanctuary site. Michael has also studied the management of marine protected areas (MPAs) since 1996, and was active in MPA planning for Puget Sound in Washington from 1997-1999. Additionally, Michael serves as a member of the editorial board for MPA News, a long-standing international newsletter. Michael holds a master’s degree in environmental studies with an emphasis in policy and planning from California State University, Fullerton and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from California State University, Long Beach. He is also a 2016 graduate of NOAA’s Leadership Competencies Development Program. Raised in Hawaii and a life-long surfer, Michael enjoys living on the coast of Santa Barbara, California, the unceded lands of Chumash People.
Robert Schwemmer first joined the CINMS staff in 1997, and is currently the West Coast regional maritime heritage coordinator for NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries. He coordinates and conducts archaeological surveys and research for the five national marine sanctuaries located along the Pacific West Coast. Deep-water projects include working from a crewed submersible to perform a site assessment of the shipwreck Montebello, a WWII-era oil tanker torpedoed off Cambria, CA, that lead to receiving the Award of Operational Merit from the U.S. Coast Guard for his exceptional service during the historic and unprecedented underwater assessment of the shipwreck. Expeditions utilizing remotely operated vehicles in California waters include a site assessment of the shipwreck Pacbaroness, a bulk carrier lost off Point Conception, as well as the first archaeological survey of the USS Macon, a U.S. Navy dirigible lost off Point Sur. Schwemmer has worked with other NOAA scientists on projects in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, Arctic, Great Lakes and assisted topside during the recovery of the gun turret from the civil war navy ship USS Monitor off Cape Hatteras, NC. More recently he has served as a principal investigator during discoveries of shipwrecks off the Golden Gate near San Francisco and offshore Farallon Islands. Discoveries from 2013 through 2015, include the passenger ships City of Chester and City of Rio de Janeiro termed the "Titanic of the Golden Gate," tramp steamer Selja off Point Reyes, steam trawler Ituna north of San Francisco, aircraft carrier USS Independence off water off Half Moon Bay, and the USS Conestoga, a seagoing navy tug that was believed to be lost off Hawaii with all hands and was discovered off Southeast Farallon Island. Schwemmer and the science team received the NOAA Administrator's Award for solving the mystery of the USS Conestoga disappearance. Most recently, Schwemmer served as the chief scientist during the joint NOAA and US Coast Guard (USCG) discovery and survey of the USCG Cutter McCulloch lost off Cape Conception, CA, a veteran of the Battle of Manila Bay. Schwemmer currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum and is the current president of the Los Angeles Maritime Museum Research Society.
Rebecca Young joined Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary in May 2000. As program support specialist she provides core operations support in the areas of budget planning and tracking, financial coordination, procurement, administration, and office management. Rebecca holds a Bachelor of Science degree in aquatic biology from the University of California Santa Barbara. In her free time Rebecca enjoys being in the water swimming or playing water polo. Additionally you can find her spending time with dogs at home, the dog park, and volunteering at the county animal shelter.
Jessie Altstatt has been the CINMS LiMPETS (Long-term Monitoring Program and Experiential Training for Students) coordinator since 2010. LiMPETS is a public participation in science program aimed at exposing students to science and the marine sanctuary through hands-on field experiences. An early focus was to expand this program into Northern Santa Barbara County, reaching underserved school and students. She also led the Torch Oil Spill Rocky Intertidal Habitat Protection Program which provided local community outreach and education regarding the sensitivity of rocky intertidal habitats and aimed to reduce the impacts from human disturbance on tidepools. Program successes included design and install of a series of interpretive signs at 12 rocky intertidal locations along the Central and South Coast. Jessie has been an AAUS Scientific Diver since 1988 and became part of the Channel Islands Research Program team in 1990. She has thirty years of experience handling and operating small vessels. She still works as a researcher and scientific diver in the waters and shores of the Santa Barbara Channel and Channel Islands with emphasis on natural history, biodiversity and ecological surveys. She also brings over a decade of professional experience in the non-profit sector working with community members, public agencies, and other environmental organizations and has been an active advocate for stronger environmental protections on land and sea. A major emphasis of Jessie's work has focused on seagrasses, particularly subtidal eelgrass (Zostera pacifica) meadows around the Channel islands and offshore of the Santa Barbara mainland coast. She initiated a transplantation project at Anacapa Island in 2002 that successfully restored eelgrass habitat which continues to flourish within the Anacapa Marine Protected Area. Jessie is happiest when on, in or under the water. Her other interests include surfing, sailing, natural history, gardening, cooking, birds and art. Jessie attended UC Santa Barbara earning a BA in Aquatic Biology and a MA in Marine Ecology.
Jennifer Brown began helping Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary in 2015 as a contracted project scientist to develop a process for selecting key monitoring indicators and applying them to condition assessments of sanctuary resources. She is helping develop and coordinate ecosystem assessments at both local and regional levels working with partners including the California Current Integrated Ecosystem Assessment and Marine Biodiversity Observation Network. These ecosystem models and condition reports support the sanctuary's needs for integrated monitoring and ocean observing information as well as regional data summaries. Jennifer first began working with NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries in 2000 as a graduate student intern - resulting in a Marine Sanctuary Conservation Series report summarizing marine zoning in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS). She became a contractor for MBNMS in 2004 on a project characterizing 'special status species' in the sanctuary. She has since worked for MBNMS as an ecosystem scientist for the Sanctuary Integrated Monitoring Network (SIMoN) on projects including the Marine Protected Area Action Plan, Sanctuary Ecologically Significant Areas, and condition reports. Jennifer obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in biological science from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1996 and a doctorate degree in ecology and evolutionary biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 2003 after completing a dissertation titled "An Evaluation of the Nursery Role of Estuaries for Flatfish Populations in Central California.”
2023 CINMS California Sea Grant State Fellow
Kacy Cooper completed her masters degree in international environmental policy with a focus on ocean and coastal resource management from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey, December 2022. Her main focus of work included developing a roadmap to authorizing pop-up fishing gear in the California Dungeness crab fishery. She also served as community engagement coordinator and founding board member of the Giant Giant Kelp Restoration Project, a citizen-science kelp restoration project in Monterey. As 2023 California Sea Grant Fellow, Kacy is excited to build upon her outreach and policy experience within the Sanctuary. She will support the Sanctuary’s outreach and education efforts, Sanctuary Advisory Council operations, and dive operations. Along with her professional work, Kacy is an avid diver, traveler, fantasy book reader, and animal enthusiast.
Vessel Captain, Contractor with Cardinal Point Captains
Luke joined the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary team in June 2022. Luke was born in Minnesota, and moved to Sydney, Australia when he was very young. Luke spent all of his childhood immersed in the ocean off the east coast of Australia. He obtained his open water and advanced scuba license at the age of 16 and spent many years diving up and down the coast. He began his career in the ocean when he became a dive master on the Great Barrier Reef, sharing his love of the ocean with visitors from across the globe. Since moving back to the United States he has furthered his career working on the water firstly on Lake Tahoe and eventually at the Channel Islands working for Island Packers for over 12 years as a lead captain and assisting the Channel Islands National Park Service with the Channel Islands Live Dive program educating schools across the nation on the wonders of the local waters. Luke is very excited to be a part of the team at NOAA within Channel Islands National Marine sanctuary on the R/V Shearwater.
Sanctuary Student Intern
Kennedy Flavin is an intern at Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, where she assists with a research project focused on ocean access, Marine protected areas, and environmental justice for subsistence fishers in California. She graduated from the University of Utah in 2021, earning Bachelor of Science degrees in Environmental & Sustainability Science and Political Science with a minor in Earth Sciences. During her time as an undergraduate, Kennedy actively participated in sustainability efforts and served on the university's Sustainability Board. She also played lacrosse for the university's Division I women's team and interned with a non-profit organization called Save Our Canyons, advocating for inclusive recreation and transportation access. Kennedy is pursuing a Master's degree in Coastal Marine Resources Management with a focus on Strategic Environmental Communication at UCSB Bren School.
Sanctuary Student Intern
Jamon Jordan has been an avid fisherman since he was two years old. He found his love for water and aquatic life through fishing. Although he didn't grow up near the ocean, he was fascinated by the diverse species of fish that lived in saltwater, which he learned about through books and TV. He desired to learn more about the vast and mysterious seas, which led him to discover NOAA during a middle school career search. Since then, he has been pursuing a career with NOAA.
In 2019, Jamon was awarded the NOAA Hollings Scholarship. As a Hollings intern, he worked under the guidance of Steven McKagan and Lyza Johnston, where he developed a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for analyzing coral fragment growth using 3D photogrammetry. For his senior thesis he studied the genetic differences between blackbanded darter populations in GA. He graduated from the University of Georgia in 2021 with a degree in Fisheries and Wildlife (Aquatic Science Emphasis) and Natural Resources Management and Sustainability (GIS Emphasis) with a minor in Ecology.
Jamon Jordan is currently a first-year Masters student at Oregon State University, pursuing a degree in Marine Resource Management. He is a member of Maria Kavanaugh’s Seascape Ecology Lab, where his thesis research focuses on using seascapes to assess habitat compression in swordfish. He recognizes the importance of swordfish to the Chumash people and hopes it will be useful information for the proposed Chumash National Marine Sanctuary.
Jamon is also a NOAA Living Marine Resources Cooperative Science Center (LMRCSC) Fellow. He plans to work with Elliott Hazen and Ryan Freedman to create Species Distribution Models for swordfish through a NOAA Experiential Research and Training Opportunity (NERTO) this upcoming summer.
Captain Matt Howard
Vessel Captain, Cardinal Point Captains
Matt joined the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary team in August 2021 as a vessel operator contracted through Cardinal Point Captains. Matt was born and raised in Southern California and was extremely fortunate to be introduced to the Channel Islands as a teenager. He grew up surfing and fishing in sanctuary waters and developed an appreciation of the region as well as extensive knowledge about the islands. His passion for the ocean ecosystem led Matt to pursue his bachelor's degree in Environmental Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara which he completed in 2009. Not long after that, he decided to take his career on the ocean to the next level and in 2010 joined the United States Coast Guard. Since then he has deployed several times and is currently a member of the Coast Guard Reserve. Matt started his professional maritime career at Island Packers where he quickly rose through the ranks to be one of the lead captains on their vessels. Working for NOAA has always been a dream and he is excited to continue and expand his career working for Cardinal Point Captains as a contractor to NOAA on the R/V Shearwater.
Sanctuary Student Intern
Jenna Huynh joined the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary's (CINMS) team in February 2023 as a Nereid Biomaterials intern. Her work at CINMS focuses on researching plastic degradation rates in marine environments and developing strategies to track plastic waste distribution in the sanctuaries. This research aims to deepen current understanding of rates at which plastics break down over time, offering insight into the potential environmental impact and the effectiveness of alternative materials. Jenna is also a FUERTE fellow and is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Earth Science and a Spatial Science minor at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB).
Rocío Lozano-Knowlton serves as president of the MERITO Foundation, and was coordinator of the MERITO Academy Program for NOAA Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary since 2005. Rocío has a Bachelor of Science degree in physical oceanography from UABC in Ensenada Mexico, and a Master of Science degree. in marine resource protection from Herriot Watt University in Scotland. The MERITO program builds stewardship for national marine sanctuaries, raises awareness of ocean issues, and increases the interest of STEM underrepresented youth in science and resource protection by integrating Earth & ocean science into public education and extended learning programs. Between 1996-2005 Rocío co-owned and managed a scuba diving and eco-tourism business in South Baja, Mexico and worked as a marine resource protection consultant for non-profit marine conservation organizations in the Gulf of California and the Baja California Peninsula.
Sanctuary Student Intern
My name is Maryam, and I am a rising senior at Iowa State University, majoring in animal ecology with a focus on fisheries and aquatic science. My passion and interest for marine science and conservation stemmed from my upbringing in Malaysia and times spent on the local islands -- where I witnessed profound environmental apathy among coastal communities. I am currently a summer intern at Hopkins Marine Station where I am working as a part of an ocean access research project in identifying pathways to distributive equity in MPA management in a changing climate. During my free time, I spend a lot of my time reading, drawing, or watching true-crime documentaries or shows.
Plengrhambhai (Pleng) Snidvongs Kruesopon
Sanctuary Student Intern
Pleng Kruesopon is a Sophomore at Stanford University, majoring in International Relations and Environmental Justice. Born and raised in Thailand, she spent a lot of her time near the ocean and is an avid diver. In High School, she founded Care for Coral, an NGO that strives to preserve Thailand’s marine environment through direct conservation and plantation efforts of corals nationwide. She has worked with the Thai Department of Marine and Coastal Resources as a policy advocate and was awarded a Gold Ocean Conservationist medal from the Thai Minister of Natural Resources and Environment. This summer, she is an undergraduate research assistant at the Stanford Hopkins Marine Station, helping to identify pathways to distributive equity in MPA management. When she’s not in the ocean, she enjoys hiking, reading, and playing the guitar with her family and friends.
Sanctuary Student Intern
Lucas is a fourth-year Environmental Studies major at UC Santa Barbara with a focus on Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology. His interest in the natural sciences stems from his time spent in Montana and Japan as a kid. He has a background in sustainability through volunteering as a sustainability chairman for various clubs and a startup. Recently, he took part in a field studies program where he conducted research on microplastic accumulation in queen conch. He has also worked as a research assistant for UC Santa Barbara faculty Dr. Peter Alagona assisting in his grizzly bear research project. This summer, Lucas is an intern at Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary where he is working on a research project on ocean access, marine protected areas, and environmental justice for subsistence fishers in California. When he’s not working, Lucas is often found freediving around Santa Barbara or hiking the Santa Ynez mountains!
Stacey Lydon joined the California Marine Sanctuary Foundation (CMSF) in 2023. Her career has focused on creating impact for individuals, organizations, and communities. She has spent 20 years working in program management, outreach, and fundraising for universities and non-profit organizations with a global reach. At CMSF, Stacey concentrates on building philanthropic partnerships, strategic planning, and communications. She also supports collaborative efforts between Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary and CMSF. Stacey holds a Master’s Degree in International Economics from the School of Global Policy & Strategy at UC San Diego, and a Bachelor’s Degree in International Development Studies and Political Science from UCLA.
As an affiliate through the California Marine Sanctuary Foundation (CMSF), Amber works with the Protecting Blue Whales and Blue Skies voluntary vessel speed reduction program to reduce ship strikes to endangered whales, underwater noise, and air pollution. Specifically, she engages with companies that ship their goods into or out of California's ports to encourage higher shipping industry participation in the program. Prior to joining CMSF, Amber worked with the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation and the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary to organize marine debris cleanups at the Channel Islands. Amber also has experience in environmental planning, greenhouse gas verification projects, and digital communication in both the nonprofit and corporate sectors. Amber holds a Masters of Environmental Science and Management degree from the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management, and an undergraduate degree in Environmental Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara. In her free time you can find her backpacking, paddling, or surfing.
Sanctuary Student Intern
Born and raised in San Francisco, Roya Meykadeh has had a deep love and respect for the ocean since she was a toddler, and finds herself at peace when by the water. She will be an incoming sophomore at Stanford University next year, and is planning on focusing her studies on issues surrounding sustainability, environmental engineering, and biological and ecological processes. Maintaining the health and vitality of our planet is a deep passion of hers, and she has conducted research on the impacts of ocean acidification on calcifying organisms, materials research on helium implanted surfaces within fusion energy reactors, and the impact of anthropogenic pollution on our intertidal zones to name a few. She is currently working at Hopkins Marine Station on a project aimed at identifying pathways to distributive equity in MPA management in our changing climate. Outside of my academic life, Roya enjoys rock music, adventuring to find local swimming holes, hikes, and camping.
Sanctuary Student Intern
Andrew Pettit is a project scientist and graduate student with the Benioff Ocean Science Laboratory at the UCSB Marine Science Institute. He leads the Spotting Giant Sea Bass Project seeking to answer important questions regarding the population, spatial patterns, and ecology of the giant sea bass. He previously worked as a researcher in the Dugan Laboratory at the UCSB Marine Science Institute evaluating the efficacy of Marine Protected Areas on wrack subsidies and surf-zone fish populations along Southern California. He is an avid diver and has also worked as an AAUS certified scientific diver at UC Santa Barbara since 2020 conducting research along the California coast and Northern Channel Islands.
Sanctuary Student Intern
Christian Pryor is a third-year undergraduate at the Texas A&M University Galveston Campus studying Marine Sciences with a minor in Chemistry. He began his research journey in the Summer of 2021, working in the Stable Isotope Lab at Rice University. Here, he identified changes in polar biogeochemical mechanisms during a period of global cooling using sediment cores from the International Ocean Drilling Program. He then moved to the Phytoplankton Dynamics Lab at the Texas A&M University Galveston Campus where he assessed the toxicity of Perfluoroalkyl Substances (PFASs) on Texas Coast phytoplankton species. For the Summer of 2022, Christian joined the Environmental Institute of Houston to complete the Environmental Protection Agency's National Lakes Assessment for Texas. He is now working on his undergraduate thesis with the Phytoplankton Dynamics Lab to measure aquatic microbial resource exchange. In April 2022, he was named a NOAA Hollings Scholar and will be working at the NOAA Southwest Fisheries Sciences Center for his Summer 2023 internship. Upon graduating, he hopes to remain in academia and conduct research on aquatic microbes. Outside of ocean science, Christian enjoys hiking, cycling, and appreciating art.
Captain Zac Montgomery
Vessel Captain, Cardinal Point Captains
Zac was born in Santa Barbara and raised on the central coast. He was introduced to boating at a very young age, and has spent much of his life exploring the waters and islands off the California Coast. He started working around the Channel Islands at the age of 15 as a deckhand, naturalist, and eventually a captain on one of the Island Packers vessels. After college he moved to Hawaii where he spent roughly six years working as a captain for various dive, snorkel, and whale watching boats. Working with NOAA has always been a dream for Zac, and he was excited to take the opportunity offered to join the sanctuary team through a contract with Cardinal Point Captains. In his spare time Zac is usually with his wife and daughter either traveling or doing something outside.
Resource Protection Specialist, California Marine Sanctuary Foundation and Greater Farallones Association
Jessica (Jess) Morten first joined the team at Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary in 2016 as a California Sea Grant fellow, assisting with sanctuary advisory council operations and Resource Protection Department projects.Â She has since moved into a contracted role, where she works to develop and distribute marine enforcement tools and helps to expand and manage Vessel Speed Reduction efforts within California to reduce the risk of ship strikes on endangered whales. Prior to joining the Channel Islands team, Jess spent two and a half years working in marine mammal field research around the United States, assisting with projects focused on evaluating the health of humpback, North Atlantic right, and killer whale populations. Later, as a Center for the Blue Economy fellow at the Environmental Defense Fund, she examined the effects of fisheries management efforts on regional food security. In the past, she has worked for Ocean Champions, Wildlife Trust, and the Whale Center of New England. Jessica has a Bachelor of Arts in environmental studies from Skidmore College and a Master of Arts in international environmental policy from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey.
Andres Ramirez Fromm
Science Team Member, Cardinal Point Captains
Andres Ramirez Fromm first joined the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary team in February 2023 as a Nereid Biomaterials intern where he completed a study on research-based plastic discharges into West Coast National Marine Sanctuaries. The study culminated in a National Marine Sanctuaries Conservation Series Report, which informed sanctuary management on research-based plastic pollution and offered potential targets for bioplastic implementation. Following his internship, in June 2023 he was contracted through Cardinal Point Captains and now works for the sanctuary as a Research Operations Specialist, supporting a study on DDT+ concentrations in Southern California Coastal Elasmobranchs. Andres is passionate about ecology and conservation and seeks to help protect sanctuary resources by working to inform management strategies on ecological threats. Andres graduated in March 2023 from the University of California Santa Barbara with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Sciences. In his free time, he can often be found at the beach, whether it be catching waves or enjoying a good round of spike ball.
If there is one thing you need to know about Jai Ranganathan, dear reader, it is that he is enthusiastic. And just what might he be enthusiastic about? So many things! But especially about science, science communication, and pomegranates (especially, especially pomegranates). Jai is an ecologist and his Science Journey has exuberantly taken him many places: to Wesleyan University for a bachelor's degree in geology, to the University of Minnesota for a master's degree in conservation biology, and to Stanford University for a doctorate in biological sciences. Since 2020, Jai has been building internet-based tools to improve science communication capacity for several NOAA programs. For Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary in particular, Jai has been heavily (and enthusiastically) involved in building a handy-dandy web-based portal for displaying Condition Report information.
Dr. Jennifer (Jenny) Selgrath has worked as a social-ecological researcher with Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary’s science team since July of 2020. She is passionate about incorporating transdisciplinary spatial and social-ecological tools into research, monitoring, conservation, cultural preservation, and collaborative management of coastal ecosystems. She focuses on human dimensions of the sanctuary, including ocean access, subsistence fishing, climate impacts, and cultural benefits, on and deep-sea coral habitats. Prior to joining the sanctuary team, she was a postdoctoral scholar at Stanford University’s Hopkins Marine Station where she integrated historical ecology and local ecological knowledge to assess biodiversity changes in Monterey Bay over the past two centuries. She focused on coastal species including sea otters, sea urchins, kelp, and black abalone. As a post-doc she also assessed the adaptive capacity of coastal fishing communities to respond to impacts from climate change. Jennifer completed her doctorate degree at the University of British Columbia’s Institute for Oceans and Fisheries. During her PhD she worked in partnership with Project Seahorse, the Landscape Ecology Lab, and Zoological Society of London (ZSL)-Philippines. Her doctoral research focused on understanding long-term and spatial changes in the sustainability of small-scale fisheries, the influence of fisheries governance, and the impacts of fishing and other stressors on the spatial resilience of coral reefs. Jennifer earned her Master of Science degree in Biology from San Diego State University and her bachelor’s degree from Wesleyan University where she double majored in Dance and Earth & Environmental Science. She is a former AmeriCorps volunteer and a former Fulbright Scholar (Philippines).
2023 COAST Intern
Alyssa Walter is currently a Junior at CSU Monterey Bay, pursuing a Marine Science major and a Statistics Minor. She is involved in undergraduate research, currently working in Dr. Alison Haupt’s lab (marine parasite population genetics), and Dr. Salvador Jorgensen’s lab (mating scars on White Sharks). Alyssa enjoys exploring underwater, is in the diving program at CSUMB, and volunteers with the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History to aid in education and community outreach programs. She is highly involved in her campus community and serves as President of the Sports Club Council and Biological Honors Society, and Treasurer of their competitive dance team. Alyssa is a UROC Scholar, a NOAA Hollings Scholar, and a COAST intern with the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary for summer 2023. Here she is working on the Sanctuary Advisory Council, Get Into Your Sanctuary, SIMoN, and White Abalone projects.
Claire Fackler has been working for NOAA's, National Ocean Service since 1999. Prior to that, she did contract work for the National Geographic Society, then moved to NOAA to assist in the education and outreach elements of the Sustainable Seas Expedition until 2001. She has worked as the National Education Liaison for NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries since 2002, in addition to becoming National Volunteer Coordinator since 2015. Her work helps bring the ocean into America's classrooms, as well as to inspire ocean and climate literacy and conservation through national marine sanctuaries. She works with various partners on national and regional educational programs that enhance public awareness, understanding, and appreciation of the marine environment.
NOAA Hollings Scholar, Office of National Marine Sanctuaries
Willow Jackson comes from a small island located in Southeast, Alaska. She is Alaskan Native Tlingit-Taakeintaan Raven Sea Pigeon. In Fall 2023, Willow will be entering her 4th year of college at California State University Channel Islands. She is seeking a bachelors degree in Environmental Science and Resource Management with a coastal and marine emphasis. Understanding that as her native Alaskan community is very reliant upon the oceans for their way of life, Willow hopes to use her education to give back to her community by working to make the oceans healthier and more sustainable. In 2022, Willow was awarded a NOAA Hollings Scholarship, which is helping her fund her college education so she can work towards her goals, and which made her summer 2023 internship possible working out of the main office for Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary in Santa Barbara, California.
Marine Resource Protection Program Coordinator, California Marine Sanctuary Foundation
Anastasia joined the Channel Islands team in 2021 while pursuing her masters degree at UCSB’s Bren School of Environmental Science & Management. Her work centers around utilizing remotely sensed data to inform the sustainable use of marine resources. As an affiliate through the California Marine Sanctuary Foundation (CMSF), she works on enforcement and whale conservation focused projects. Marine Monitor (M2) is a shore-based radar system used to identify and track vessel activity in and around marine protected areas. She also manages and analyzes data from the electronic Fisheries Information Network System (eFINS), a mobile app used by California marine enforcement partner agencies. In addition to managing enforcement technology, Anastasia addresses whale conservation issues including whale entanglement, shipstrike, and strandings risk through remote sensing. Anastasia also works as a bioacoustics researcher with SanctSound (now ONMS Sound), a nationwide soundscape monitoring program within the national marine sanctuaries. Anastasia conducts fieldwork deploying and recovering hydrophones in the California sanctuaries and manages workflows for processing and archiving acoustic data. Previously, she worked for NASA DEVELOP, a dual capacity building program under NASA’s Applied Sciences Division, to address water quality monitoring and food security issues through remote sensing. Anastasia received her master’s degree from the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at UCSB with a focus in Conservation Planning and Coastal & Marine Resource Management. She holds a Bachelor of Science in biology and a minor in Environmental Systems and Society from UCLA.
Through ongoing work with the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, Anastasia also serves as a NOAA affiliate with NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries to continue SanctSound, a nationwide soundscape monitoring program within the national marine sanctuaries. Anastasia conducts fieldwork deploying and recovering hydrophones in the California sanctuaries and manages workflows for processing and archiving acoustic data. Previously, she worked for NASA DEVELOP, a dual capacity building program under NASA’s Applied Sciences Division, to address water quality monitoring and food security issues through remote sensing. Anastasia received her master’s degree from the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at UCSB with a focus in Conservation Planning and Coastal & Marine Resource Management. She holds a Bachelor of Science in biology and a minor in Environmental Systems and Society from UCLA.
Laura Ingulsrud joined NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS) as Policy Analyst for the West Coast Regional Office (WCRO) in June 2022. She mainly works out of the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary (CINMS) office in Santa Barbara, with regular travel up to the WCRO in Monterey. Her work primarily focuses on the proposed Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary designation process, as well as other policy-related projects with the five west coast national marine sanctuaries. Before becoming a Policy Analyst with the WCRO, Laura worked as a contractor for the WCRO, NOAA Fisheries Office of Protected Resources (OPR), and CINMS in various capacities. She completed the Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship in 2021 as the Marine Mammal Conservation Fellow for OPR, where she focused on North Atlantic right whale vessel strike issues, worked on "Guidelines for Safely Deterring Marine Mammals", and served on NOAA Science Council’s Ecosystem Indicators Working Group. Laura graduated with a Master of Environmental Science and Management degree from the Bren School at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) in 2020, where she specialized in Coastal Marine Resources Management and Conservation Planning with a focus in Environmental Data Science. For her master’s thesis, Laura was project manager of a 4-person team working to create a marine spatial plan and economic valuation to reduce vessel strikes with sperm whales off Dominica. Laura was also an Ocean Health Index Fellow with the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis and served on the UCSB Coastal Fund Board of Directors. Before grad school, she worked as an environmental consultant, sailing instructor, marine mammal stranding volunteer, and intern for the Environmental Defense Center in Santa Barbara, and guided on Mt. Fuji in Japan for a season. Laura graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies and a minor in Professional Writing from UCSB in 2013.
Lindsey Peavey Reeves, Ph.D.
West Coast Region Sanctuary Soundscape Monitoring Project Coordinator,
NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries Conservation Science Division and National Marine Sanctuary Foundation
Lindsey first joined the CINMS staff in 2016, bringing a diverse background spanning marine ecology, conservation, cumulative impacts assessment, and biogeography to the research team. After earning a Bachelor of Science degree in marine science from the University of Miami, FL, Lindsey worked in cross-border community-based marine conservation for six years in Southern California and Northwest Mexico. Lindsey's graduate research focused on the ecology of large marine vertebrates â marine mammals, sea turtles, birds, and fish â that migrate long distances to feed and breed. She uses non-invasive, integrative approaches including passive acoustics, telemetry, biogeochemistry, genetics, habitat modeling, and spatial analysis to study animal behavior and food web interactions. After completing a master's degree at Duke University and a doctorate degree at UC Santa Barbara, both in environmental science & management, Lindsey worked on advancing dynamic ocean management with the Southwest Fisheries Science Center as a California Sea Grant fellow. For sanctuaries, Lindsey helps identify and describe the multiple natural and anthropogenic pressures that threaten marine resources, and collaborates with academics and stakeholders to inform management approaches. Lindsey helped write the 2016 CINMS Condition Report, including coordinating the completion of the new Ecosystem Services section. In 2020, Lindsey began supporting passive acoustic monitoring in all five West Coast region sanctuaries, in partnership with government, academic, and non-profit organizations.
Kirsten White first joined the NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, West Coast Region and Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary as an intern in October 2022 while pursuing her masters degree at University of California, Santa Barbara’s (UCSB) Bren School of Environmental Science and Management. Now, as a contractor, Kirsten works on projects related to the proposed Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary designation process. She assists with the designation documents, such as the environmental impact statement, management plan, and provides support during public comment periods. Kirsten also provides cartographic services and geospatial support for conservation efforts, and logistical and scientific support for research and resource protection projects on NOAA and partner vessels, including California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations (CalCOFI) cruises participated in by CINMS research staff. Kirsten loves spending time in the ocean freediving and surfing. She has experience working in the private industry as an Environmental Analyst in the Washington D.C Metropolitan area, and holds a Bachelors' degree in Geography from Virginia Tech with minors in Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Watershed Management, and Sustainable Natural Environments.