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SARC is a 501-3c within The Bren School at Univeristy of California Santa Barbara

our team


Dr. Hunter Lenihan, Director

Hunter Lenihan is a professor of applied marine ecology at the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management. His research interests are in population and community ecology, especially as they relate to aquaculture, fisheries management, and restoration. He has collaborated extensively with management agencies and NGOs in assessing the impacts and implications of aquaculture in estuaries, coral reefs, and offshore marine environments. Lenihan has worked to enhance and restore marine populations through aquaculture programs, including efforts with giant clams, oysters, clams, white seabass, and scallops. His research also includes ecological assessments of human disturbance to marine communities, disease physiology to isolate and cultivate disease-resistant organisms, and genetics to evaluate success in stock enhancement. He brings experience in marine environmental problem solving through interdisciplinary research and education. 

Phoebe Racine, Project Coordinator

Joining SARC from World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Phoebe has a broad background in sustainable aquaculture. At WWF for two years, she managed and led projects spanning Southeast Asia, with focus on shrimp and tilapia production in China, India and Thailand. Her work included increasing Aquaculture Stewardship Council certification uptake in key production regions, building the first WWF business case for better management practices, and the creation of a unique transparency tool that can test shrimp back to their province of origin. Relevant to aquaculture, her past research at the Food and Agriculture Organization and the Kapuscinski Sustainability Science Collaboratory focused on diversification of species, Recirculating Systems, and direct renewable energy use in production systems. Phoebe is a graduate of Dartmouth College and has a continued interest in communicating science.



Jessica Couture, Investigator

As past SARC Project Coordinator, Jessica has extensive knowledge of all SARC projects. A current Bren PhD student, her experience includes a strong mix of field ecology, data analysis and bioeconomic modeling. Her past work has included monitoring Marine Protected Area implementation along the coast of California, assessing the ecological impacts of invasive species in the San Francisco Bay as well as experimental research on reproductive timing of intertidal crabs. Specializing in Coastal Marine Resource Management, she studied fishing alternatives and community-scale aquaculture in coastal communities of Mexico for her master’s theses, earning a master’s of environmental science and management degree from the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management at UC Santa Barbara.  Jessica's interest in fisheries conservation stems from her work and travel in Latin American and Asian countries and close work with both the science of and individuals affected by fisheries declines.


Dr. Steven Gaines, Investigator

Steven Gaines is the dean of the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management. His research focuses on marine ecology and conservation, sustainable fisheries, the design of marine reserves, and the impact of climate change on ocean ecosystems. He has served as director of the UC Santa Barbara Marine Science Institute, and as UCSB Acting Dean of Science and Acting Vice Chancellor for Research. Professor Gaines currently serves as a principal investigator for the Sustainable Fisheries Group, which seeks scalable solutions for the world’s fisheries through partnerships among UCSB researchers, industry leaders, NGOs, and governments.


Dr. Jono Wilson, Investigator

Jono Wilson is a project director and fishery scientist with The Nature Conservancy based at the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB).  His work involves a blend of quantitative and applied approaches to conservation and fishery management issues. He received his PhD in Environmental Science and Management from UCSB in 2011 where he collaborated with fishermen to develop management tools for fisheries with limited data. Jono works with fishermen and managers in California, Belize, Palau and Peru to develop applied solutions to fishery management issues in small-scale fisheries. Jono is particularly interested in the development of aquaculture as a means to offset fishing pressure while simultaneously improving the livelihoods of coastal people through novel conservation agreements.


Dr. Roland Geyer, Investigator

Roland Geyer is Associate Professor at UCSB’s Bren School of Environmental Science & Management. Prior to joining the Bren School he held research positions at the Centre for Environmental Strategy, University of Surrey, UK, the Centre for the Management of Environmental Resources, INSEAD, France, and was consultant in financial risk management for AMS (now part of CGI) in Germany. Since 2000 he has worked with a wide range of governmental organisations, trade associations, and companies on environmental sustainability issues. In his research he uses the approaches and methods of industrial ecology, such as life cycle assessment and material flow analysis, to assess pollution prevention strategies based on reuse, recycling, and material and technology substitution. Roland has a graduate degree in physics from the Technical University Berlin and a PhD in engineering from the University of Surrey, UK.


Rebecca Gentry, Investigator

Becca is a PhD student in the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management, advised by Steve Gaines.  Broadly, she is drawn to questions that address how to best utilize our ocean resources while conserving, and even enhancing, marine ecosystems.  Her research interests include sustainable aquaculture development, aquaculture and fisheries interactions, marine spatial planning, and food security.  Becca’s dissertation focuses on the potential for marine aquaculture development and the constraints (both ecological and socio-economic) that may limit development.  Additionally, she is involved in research to investigate how marine offshore aquaculture can best be integrated into spatial management of the oceans, considering its impact on other uses of the environment and its effect on marine ecosystems.  Before starting her PhD, Becca worked in fisheries and aquaculture policy at the New Zealand Ministry of Fisheries and at the California Ocean Science Trust.  She received her Bachelor’s Degree from Northwestern University and Masters Degrees (in both Environmental Science and Journalism) from Columbia University


Dr. Kim Selkoe, Investigator

Kim's primary research interests are split between three diverse topics 1) advancing scientific tools for ecosystem based management and marine spatial planning, 2) multi-species approaches to understanding marine population connectivity with 'seascape' genetic techniques, and 3) both studying and improving consumer access to local and sustainable seafood. She has conducted underwater fieldwork in nearshore reef environments of Morocco, Sardinia, and the Solomon Islands as part of a continuing research project to understand how community structure changes along gradients of human impact. In addition, she is a founder and advisor of two local outreach programs, the Santa Barbara Sustainable Seafood Program and a community supported fishery program serving Santa Barbara County called Community Seafood.  Current affiliations include UCSB's Marine Science Institute, NCEAS (her primary location), and Hawai'i Institute of Marine Biology.


Dr. Tal Ben-Horin, Investigator

Tal Ben-Horin is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Fisheries, Animal and Veterinary Sciences at the University of Rhode Island. His research focuses on coastal marine ecology and epidemiology, especially as they relate to the emergence and impact of diseases on aquaculture and fisheries. He received his PhD in Environmental Science and Management from UCSB in 2013 where he worked to better understand parasite transmission in coastal marine systems and developed tools to manage disease-impacted fisheries. Tal works with government agencies, fish and shellfish hatcheries and farmers to improve aquaculture performance and sustainability. Tal is particularly interested in how aquaculture fits into the portfolio of fishing activities conducted by coastal communities throughout the world and how to develop aquaculture activities to reduce pressure on wild-harvest fisheries.