Current NCEAS Residents

Photo: Nancy Baron
Nancy Baron
 Senior Fellow
Nancy Baron is the Director of Science Outreach at COMPASS. She works with environmental scientists, helping them translate their work effectively to journalists, the public and policy makers. A zoologist and science writer, she holds communications training workshops around the world for academic scientists, graduate students and post docs as well as government and NGO scientists.
Nancy has an interdisciplinary Masters degree in Global Marine Studies from the University of British Columbia, a B.Sc. in Zoology, and has won numerous science writing awards. In August 2010, she completed a communications guidebook for scientists titled "Escape from the Ivory Tower: A Guide to Making Your Science Matter" (published by Island Press), summarizing her ten years of experience working as a personal coach and trainer to many well-known environmental scientists. For her work at the intersection of science and journalism, she was awarded the 2013 Peter Benchley Ocean Award for Excellence in the Media.
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
Senior Fellow
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: Samantha Cheng
Samantha Cheng
Postdoctoral Associate

Increasingly, conservation policy is being made on the assumption that conserving nature has positive impacts on human communities. However, existing evidence for these linkages between conservation and human well-being is incoherent and oftentimes inaccessible to both researchers and practitioners, presenting a major barrier to informing effective interventions. Through evidence synthesis, the SNAP Evidence-Based Conservation group is mapping these linkages and developing tools in order to improve evidence-based decision-making. Specifically, I am interested in exploring these linkages within marine biomes.

cheng [at] (Email) | Website |

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Photo: Froehlich

Halley Froehlich
Postdoctoral Associate

Halley Froehlich is a postdoctoral researcher for the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, involved with the Science for Nature and People (SNAP) Partnership working group evaluating sustainable open-ocean aquaculture around the globe.

Halley received her Ph.D. from the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, University of Washington and B.Sc. in Animal Biology from the University of California, Davis. As a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow, she took an interdisciplinary approach studying the effects of human and natural-based low oxygen disturbances (i.e., hypoxia) on marine organisms. A key facet of Halley’s graduate and postdoctoral research is linking important ecological questions with conservation and management objectives.

froehlich [at] (Email) | Website | 

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 Photo: Carrie Kappel
Carrie Kappel
Senior Fellow
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: Ramirez

Aaron Ramirez
Postdoctoral Associate

The SNAP working group on ecological drought involves synthesizing research related to the ecological impacts of drought and highlighting the key interactions between drought and anthropogenic climate change, ecosystem services, and human health and well-being.  We are also focused on engaging stakeholders in co-production of ecological drought research and development of adaptive management strategies for increasing the ability of natural and human systems to thrive in the face of increasing ecological drought.

ramirez [at] (Email) |
Photo: Jai Ranganathan
Jai Ranganathan

Senior Fellow
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
Senior Fellow
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: Runge

Claire Runge
Postdoctoral Associate

Claire Runge is a Postdoctoral Scholar at NCEAS (her primary location) and holds an adjunct position at the Centre of Excellence in Environmental Decisions (CEED), University of Queensland, Australia. In her work in the SNAP Better Land-Use Decisions working group she is working to discover how to strategically target conservation investments for biodiversity conservation and protection of ecosystem services. She is also working on projects exploring the impacts of human networks on conservation outcomes; designing cross-disciplinary solutions for better conservation outcomes from infrastructure development; and developing new approaches for conservation planning and prioritisation of nomadic and migratory species.
runge [at] (Email) |  Website |
 Photo: Kim Selkoe
Kim Selkoe
Senior Fellow
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: Soyka

Heather Soyka
Postdoctoral Associate

Heather Soyka is a postdoctoral researcher with DataONE, working primarily with Dr. Amber Budden and the Community Engagement and Outreach (CEO) Working Group. As part of the DataONE project, her work is centered on creating, evaluating, and expanding educational resources that focus on research data creation, access, management and use. She completed her PhD at the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Information Sciences. Her current research interests include: data reuse and knowledge transfer within professional communities of practice, ethically responsive data stewardship, continuum informatics, and recordkeeping behavior. 

hsoyka [at] (Email) |

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