Sanctuary Team Members

Chris Mobley

Chris Mobley
Sanctuary Superintendent
Chris.Mobley@noaa.gov
805-893-6416

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 Bingham

Shauna Fry
Outreach Coordinator
Shauna.Fry@noaa.gov
805-893-6421

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

Julie Bursek
Team Lead for Education and Outreach
Unit Diving Supervisor
Julie.Bursek@noaa.gov
805-893-6422

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

Chris Caldow
Research Coordinator
Chris.Caldow@noaa.gov
805-893-6149

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.


LTJG Nicolas (Nick) DeProspero

LTJG Nicolas (Nick) DeProspero
Vessel Operations Coordinator; NOAA Corps Officer
voc.cinms@noaa.gov
805-893-6426

Starting in December, 2019, Lieutenant (junior grade) Nicolas DeProspero was assigned as vessel operations coordinator (VOC) at Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. Prior to this, DeProspero filled the roles of navigation officer, medical person in charge, small boats officer, environmental compliance officer, mess finance officer, fall protection officer, ship store officer, and acting OPS aboard NOAA Ship Nancy Foster. He completed over 50 transits in and out of various ports and acted as conning officer 21 times, deck officer five times, and as navigation officer for over 35 transits. DeProspero was qualified as an officer of the deck on Nancy Foster and has sailed 226 days at sea aboard Nancy Foster. Additionally, he is qualified on NOAA's Nancy Foster as an outboard small boat coatswain, jet propulsion coatswain, dive compressor operator, crane operator, NOAA diver, and competent fall protection climber. In his collaterals, LTJG DeProspero managed over $600,000 in equipment, supplies, and vessels. He was also responsible for helping budget for all navigational licenses, equipment upgrades, and yearly subscriptions. Furthermore, LTJG DeProspero served as acting-operations officer for four months. Lieutenant (junior grade) DeProspero graduated from Hampden-Sydney College in 2013 magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in biology. During his time at Hampden-Sydney, DeProspero interned as a marine educator at Roanoke Island Aquarium in Manteo, North Carolina in the summer of 2011 where he participated in the aquarium's shark tank dives with the general public. Following graduation, DeProspero traveled to Germany to play soccer before moving to Savannah, GA where he became a Sea Grant intern for University of Georgia Marine Extension Office and Aquarium. He served as an educator and aquarium curator. After his internship, he worked for three years as a physical, environmental and ecology science teacher in Savannah, Georgia. While DeProspero worked as a teacher, he also volunteered in marine operations at Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary, Skidaway Island Institute of Oceanography, and the University of Georgia's Marine Extension. He acquired his Merchant Mariner Document during his time as a volunteer aboard these institutions' vessels and also crab and shrimp boats out of Savannah, GA. He holds is 100-ton master's license near-shore and AB-special ticket.


Elizabeth (Lizzie) Duncan

Elizabeth (Lizzie) Duncan
Research Ecologist
lizzie.duncan@noaa.gov
805-893-6432

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.


Laura Francis

Laura Francis
Education Coordinator
Laura.Francis@noaa.gov
805-893-6423

Laura Francis has more than 20 years of experience in the fields of ocean research and education and has worked as a marine biologist, classroom teacher, environmental consultant, and education coordinator. Since starting at the sanctuary in 1994, Laura has developed innovative marine education and international management capacity training programs that increase ocean literacy in classrooms, community groups, resource users, managers, the media, and the public. At the sanctuary, Laura works on a variety of projects including professional development for teachers and creating education and outreach materials (print publications, video, and web products) designed to increase awareness and stewardship of our precious ocean environment. Laura is currently working on developing programs and exhibits for the Center for Ocean Advancement of Science and Technology (COAST) at UCSB. She is also developing education and communication strategies on the topic of ocean acidification. Laura earned her undergraduate degree at UC Berkeley in zoology and her master's at UC Santa Barbara in deep sea biology. She finds her work most rewarding when she discovers new ways of connecting research to education and inspiring people to take responsibility for caring for our ocean.


Ryan Freedman, Ph.D.

Ryan Freedman, Ph.D.
Research Ecologist
Ryan.M.Freedman@noaa.gov
805-893-6434

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.


Sean Hastings

Sean Hastings
Resource Protection Coordinator
Sean.Hastings@noaa.gov
805-893-6424

Sean joined Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary in 1997 and serves as the site's resource protection coordinator. 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.  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

Todd Jacobs
Deputy Superintendent for Operations and Administration
Todd.Jacobs@noaa.gov
805-893-6417

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 ncrewed 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.


Michael Murray

Michael Murray
Deputy Superintendent for Programs
Michael.Murray@noaa.gov
805-893-6418

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, 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. 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, an 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.


Robert Schwemmer

Robert Schwemmer
West Coast Regional Maritime Heritage Coordinator
Robert.Schwemmer@noaa.gov
805-893-6428

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

Rebecca Young
Program Support Specialist
Rebecca.Young@noaa.gov
805-893-6420

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.


Contractors, Affiliates, Fellows & Interns

Jessie Altstatt

Jessie Altstatt
LiMPETS Program Coordinator
jessie.altstatt@gmail.com

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.


Jackie Buhl

Jackie Buhl
Technical Science Writer & Researcher / Deckhand, Cardinal Point Captains
Jackie.Buhl@noaa.gov
805-893-6435

Jackie Buhl rejoined the CINMS team in 2014 as a contracted technical science writer & researcher, and also works as a crewmember aboard sanctuary research vessels. Jackie has helped develop the Channel Islands section of the Sanctuary Integrated Monitoring Network (SIMoN), has assisted with development of the next sanctuary condition report, and assists with review and processing of sanctuary research permits. Prior to returning to the sanctuary (she previously worked as a contracted research specialist), Jackie traveled, worked, volunteered, and studied her way around the world for nearly 10 years. This included: working on a variety of projects studying various species of primates in Nigeria, Kenya, and Puerto Rico; teaching marine biology, scuba diving, and sailing to high school and college students in the Caribbean; designing a summer marine program in coastal Kenya; teaching English in the Peruvian jungle; and teaching scuba diving in Puerto Rico. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in zoology from UC Santa Barbara, and a Master of Science degree in primate behavior from Roehampton University in England.


Jennifer Brown, Ph.D

Jennifer Brown, Ph.D
Project Scientist, ECOS Consulting
Jennifer.Brown@noaa.gov
415-310-6764

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.”


Mari Cajandig

Mari Cajandig
GIS Specialist, Cardinal Point Captains
Mari.Cajandig@noaa.gov
805-893-6430

Mari Cajandig joined the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary team in 2016 as an intern, and then a contractor. After growing up in Davis, California, she moved to Santa Barbara and began to pursue her oceanic interests. Mari enrolled in the Marine Diving Technology Program at Santa Barbara City College, which led her to a focus on ocean exploration and mapping, and in turn led to her major in geography. After transferring to and spending two years at the University of California, Santa Barbara, Mari graduated in the spring of 2016 with a bachelor's degree in geography/geographic information systems (GIS). Her work at CINMS has included helping to create an inventory of the sanctuary's geospatial library and organizing it in a user-friendly layout. She has also created several maps for the developing CINMS Condition Report and for other projects. Outside of school and work, Mari also loves to spend time outdoors, specifically surfing, hiking, diving, playing sports, and shaping surfboards.


Rocío Lozano-Knowlton

Rocí­o Lozano-Knowlton
President, MERITO Foundation
Rocio.Lozano@noaa.gov
805-729-0442

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.


Captain Matt Howard

Captain Matt Howard
Vessel Captain, Cardinal Point Captains
matt.b.howard@noaa.gov

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.


Capt. Zac Montgomery

Captain Zac Montgomery
Vessel Captain, Cardinal Point Captains
Zacary.Montgomery@cpcperforms.com

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.


Jess Morten

Jess Morten
Resource Protection Specialist, California Marine Sanctuary Foundation and Greater Farallones Association
Jessica.Morten@noaa.gov

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.  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.


Jennifer (Jenny) Selgrath, Ph.D.

Jennifer (Jenny) Selgrath, Ph.D.
Spatial Ecologist and Social Scientist, Cardinal Point Captains
Jennifer.Selgrath@noaa.gov
805-893-7107

Dr. Jennifer (Jenny) Selgrath has worked as a spatial ecologist with Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary's science team since July of 2020. She is passionate about incorporating spatial and social-ecological tools into research, monitoring, conservation, and collaborative management of coastal ecosystems. She focuses on human uses of the sanctuary and the West Coast deep-sea coral initiative. Prior to joining the sanctuary team, she was a postdoctoral scholar at Stanford University's Hopkins Marine Station where she used an interdisciplinary, historical ecology approach 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 climate change. Jennifer completed her doctorate degree at the University of British Columbia, where 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 changes in the sustainability of small-scale fisheries, the influence of fisheries governance, and the influence of fishing and other stressors on the 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).


June Shrestha

June Shrestha
2021 California Sea Grant Fellow and CINMS Program Support Specialist
June.Shrestha@noaa.gov

June Shrestha completed her master's degree in marine science from Moss Landing Marine Laboratories/CSU Monterey Bay in December 2020, with a focus on marine ecology and ichthyology. For her thesis research, June investigated the surprising role fishes play in mediating nutrient cycling pathways within the Northern Channel Islands. In the past, she interned with the National Marine Sanctuary West Coast Regional Office. June is excited to take her broad understanding of the sanctuary system and work on a more localized scale with the CINMS team. As the California Sea Grant State fellow in 2021, June will be supporting the management plan revision process, Sanctuary Advisory Council operations, and education/outreach initiatives. Outside of the office, June can usually be found scuba diving, playing instruments, traveling, and learning new languages.


Pike Spector

Pike Spector
Research Operations Specialist, Cardinal Point Captains
Pike.Spector@noaa.gov
310-880-9311

Pike Spector first joined the sanctuary in 2019 as a California Sea Grant State fellow after receiving a master's in 2018 in biology from San Diego State University where he focused on quantifying productivity in kelp forests from Monterey to Baja California. After completing his fellowship Pike transitioned to the sanctuary's research team as a research operations specialist. Pike's main interests in the marine environment relate to ecosystem functioning, anthropogenic disturbances, fishery ecology, and the interface between stakeholders and resource managers. Aside from gaining a lot of subtidal experience as an undergraduate at UC Santa Cruz, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in marine biology, Pike also spent a year as a groundfish fishery observer in California where he worked as both a biologist and a de facto liaison between fishers and resource managers. Not only does Pike enjoy actively engaging with stakeholders and the general public, he also enjoys developing media to raise awareness about marine-related issues.


Rick Thomas

Rick Thomas
Research Specialist, UCSB
rsthomas@ucsb.edu

Rick Thomas returned to UCSB as a part-time researcher (2021) helping to design a Corporate Social Responsibility strategy for the Vessel Speed Reduction Incentive Program, an initiative out of Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. Rick first started working at UCSB in 2016 as a Writing Tutor for the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management. In this role he assisted graduate students hone their writing skills and identify the most effective ways to communicate their research to policy makers and key stakeholders. This position sparked an appreciation for strategic communication and its role in solving environmental problems. While at UCSB, Rick helped draft the Santa Barbara region's very first bike share feasibility report and researched communication strategies to guide the UC system towards carbon neutrality. In October 2019 he joined the Office of the Chief Communication Officer at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington DC where he crafted public engagement programs around marine debris and plastic consumption. Rick holds two Masters degrees, one from UCSB's Bren School and the other from the University of Washington's School of Environmental & Forest Sciences. In his free time he likes to bike, juggle, and read fantasy novels.


Staff from the Headquarters Office of National Marine Sanctuaries stationed at the CINMS Office

Claire Fackler

Claire Fackler
National Education Liaison and National Volunteer Coordinator, NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries
Claire.Fackler@noaa.gov
805-893-6429

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.


Lindsey Peavey Reeves, Ph.D.

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.Peavey@noaa.gov
619-808-7730

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 — marine mammals, sea turtles, birds, and fish — 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.