Current NCEAS Residents

Photo: Nancy Baron
Nancy Baron
Center Associate
Nancy Baron, a zoologist and science writer, is the Science Outreach Director for SeaWeb/COMPASS. She is also the lead communications trainer for the Aldo Leopold Leadership program and helps scientists translate their work to journalists, the public and policymakers. She and her Washington DC based team keep their fingers on the pulse of important marine conservation research. When new “tipping point” science is published, they coach scientists to talk about it in ways that are readily understood and get the story out to the media. Nancy also leads communications training workshops to help bridge the worlds of scientists and journalists.
baron [at] (Email) | (805) 893-7468

Photo: Blake
Rachael Blake
Postdoctoral Associate
Marine oil spills are known to have negative impacts on near-shore ecosystems, but the interaction of these impacts with other stressors is currently less well understood.  Key to predicting changes in near-shore ecosystems is an understanding of how stressors interact over temporal and spatial scales.  My work will examine the relative importance and interaction of multiple stressors and their impacts on ecosystem processes and functions in critical near-shore habitats in the Gulf of Alaska.

blake [at] (Email) | Website | (805) 893-7453

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Photo: Amber Budden
Amber Budden
Center Associate
I am interested in determining the existence and role of publication bias in ecology. Publication bias is prevalent in many fields of science although has been relatively unexplored in ecology. The importance of factors unrelated to publication quality will be tested using survey data, online databases and bibliometric methods. I will also evaluate the impact of publication bias on the composition of the ecological community in addition to developing best practices for journals, reviewers, and editors.

aebudden [at] (Email) | Website | (805) 893-7553

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 Photo: Ben Halpern
Ben Halpern
​Center Associate
Dr. Ben Halpern focuses his research at the interface between marine ecology and conservation biology.  His research has addressed a broad range of questions that span local to global scales, including spatial population dynamics, trophic interactions in community ecology, and the interface between ecology and human dynamics, all with the ultimate aim to inform and facilitate conservation and resource management efforts in marine systems.  He received his Ph.D. in marine ecology from UC Santa Barbara and then held a joint post-doctoral fellowship at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) and the Smith Fellowship Program sponsored by The Nature Conservancy.  He is currently the Director of the Center for Marine Assessment and Planning and a Research Biologist at UC Santa Barbara, based at NCEAS. He also served as the project lead for a research initiative to evaluate and better inform efforts to do ecosystem-based management (EBM) in marine ecosystems around the world and is the lead scientist for the Ocean Health Index project.

Ben has led and participated in several key synthetic research projects that have advanced our understanding of the state of the world’s oceans and the potential for marine reserves to improve ocean condition. In particular he has led the development and mapping of cumulative impact assessments at global and regional scales in marine and freshwater systems.  He has also conducted field expeditions in tropical and temperate systems in the Caribbean, Red Sea, Mediterranean, Solomon Islands, Indonesia, various parts of the South Pacific, California and Chile.

halpern [at] (Email) | Website (805) 893-7470

 Photo: Carrie Kappel
Carrie Kappel
Center Associate
Carrie Kappel is an Associate Project Scientist at UCSB. A marine conservation biologist and community ecologist, she received her Ph.D. from Stanford University. Major themes of her work include quantifying the ways humans depend upon and impact marine species, habitats, and ecosystems; understanding the spatial distribution of ecological and human components of ecosystems in order to inform conservation and management; and developing ways to integrate biophysical and socioeconomic data to support environmental decision-making in coastal ecosystems. Her research has been aimed at informing marine protected area design, ecosystem based management, and marine spatial planning.
kappel [at] (Email) | (805) 893-7467
photo: katie long
Katie Longo
Postdoctoral Associate
I am intrigued by ecological processes at several scales, from populations to ecosystems, and the challenge to translate them to tractable models serving conservation purposes. Building on my experience in indicators of fishing effects, with emphasis on biodiversity metrics, at NCEAS I am contributing to the development of a methodology to globally assess ocean health. The goal is to combine indicators of the relevant ecological and socio-economic parameters within a framework that is, at the same time, scientifically sound and understand-able to the wider public. (Ocean Health Index)
longo [at] (Email) | (805) 893-7452
Photo: NarayanSiddharth Narayan
Postdoctoral Associate

Coastal habitats are known to play a protective role during natural disasters as observed during Hurricanes Katrina (2005), Wilma (2005) and Sandy (2012). However, little guidance is available on how and when such protection is afforded. In my research within the SNAP Coastal Defenses Working Group, I am synthesizing current knowledge on the ecological and engineering aspects of this subject, towards ultimately providing coastal managers world-wide with guidelines on managing coastal habitats for effective flood risk reduction.

snarayan [at] (Email) | (805) 893-7466
Photo: Jai Ranganathan
Jai Ranganathan

Center Associate
Temperate grassland is among the most globally endangered of ecosystem types, as it is highly threatened by the expansion of agriculture, the intensification of grazing pressure, and other human activities. I will be focusing on grassland conservation strategies for Argentina, where much of the best remaining temperate grassland can be found. Using a return on investment approach, I will explore how the inclusion of economic information can improve the quality of environmental planning for Argentinean grassland and for conservation in general.
ranganathan [at] (Email) | Website | (805) 893-7454
photo: Rebich
Stacy Rebich Hespanha
Postdoctoral Associate
As a member of the DataONE project, I help create and evaluate learning resources and communication strategies for engaging environmental researchers, students, and educators in sound data management practices. I support the growth of the DataONE user community and interactions between its members, and enhance DataONE visibility to researchers, decision makers, and educators. I also work toward improving public communication about science related to controversial environmental issues such as global climate change through algorithmic processing of text and content analysis of visual images.
hespanha [at] (Email) |  Website | (805) 893-7466
 Photo: Kim Selkoe
Kim Selkoe
Center Associate
Kim Selkoe is a marine ecologist at the associate level with affiliations to UCSB's Marine Science Institute, NCEAS (her primary location), and Hawai'i Institute of Marine Biology. Her interests include marine population connectivity, 'seascape' genetics, ecosystem based management, marine spatial planning, and improving consumer access to local and sustainable seafood. Current projects include: Ecosystem Thresholds and Indicators for Marine Spatial Planning (Moore Foundation, 2012-16), Multispecies Connectivity of Hawaii Coral Reefs (National Marine Sanctuaries, 2012-13), and Direct Marketing Approaches for West Coast Fishing Communities (Sea Grant, 2012-14). In addition, Kim is a founder and advisor of both the Santa Barbara Sustainable Seafood Program and a community supported fishery program called Community Seafood.
selkoe [at] (Email) |  Website | (805) 893-7467

Photo: Wang
Yiwei Wang
Postdoctoral Associate

I am a post-doctoral scholar with DataONE and working on creating and improving data management and discovery training materials and increasing DataONE’s usefulness and accessibility to the scientific community. My research interests include developing metadata standards for ecological citizen science projects in order to facilitate widespread sharing and large-scale analyses of citizen-collected data. I am also interested in increasing data management awareness and outreach opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students. My other research focus is conservation biology with an emphasis on understanding how wildlife behaviors are affected by human activities and developments.

yiweiwang [at] (Email) |  Website | (805) 893-7550

Photo: WardColette Ward
Postdoctoral Associate

I am interested in how environmental gradients, especially productivity gradients, influence energy flow in food webs and how this, in turn, influences trophic control and ultimately food web structure.  As a post doc with NCEAS' Gulf of Alaska project, I am evaluating long-term change in food web structure in the Gulf  and Prince William Sound ecosystems, and the relative influences thereon of atmospheric forcing and the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill.

ward [at] (Email) | (805) 893-7550