NCEAS Senior Fellows

Photo: David Auston
David Auston
 Senior Fellow
David Auston is the Director of the TomKat UC Carbon Neutrality Project at UCSB. A collaboration of NCEAS and the Institute for Energy Efficiency at UCSB, the TomKat Project engages teams of UC researchers, students & staff to conduct applied research aimed at the UC President’s goal to achieve zero net greenhouse gas emissions at all 10 UC campuses by 2025. The specific focus of the project is twofold: (1) to develop strategies for UC to eliminate the combustion of natural gas, and (2) to communicate the benefits, urgency and specific actions needed to achieve carbon neutrality to all sectors of the UC community.
David has a PhD in electrical engineering from UC Berkeley and BS and MS degrees from the University of Toronto. He has previously worked in industry (Bell Laboratories), Academia (Columbia, Rice, Case Western Reserve & UCSB), and philanthropy (The Kavli Foundation). He is a member of the National Academy of Science, the National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. His work on carbon neutrality was recently recognized by the UC President’s first award of “UC Sustainability Champion".
auston [at] (Email) | (805) 570-0206
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: 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: 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: Chris Lortie
Chris Lortie

Senior Fellow
Chris is an integrative scientist with expertise in community theory, sociology, and quantitative methods. Collaboration and networks are central to his research. As such, his empirical research involves biogeographical comparisons of many forms of community dynamics (plants, animals, & people). A significant component of his current environmental science research includes restoration & management. Chris actively pursues new challenges and creative opportunities in science. He has published over 200 scholarly products to date including 120 peer-reviewed publications, 51 datasets, 38 non-refereed conference proceedings, 6 book chapters, and numerous open-science products such as slide decks, figures, videos, and blog commentaries. Chris has also been a distinguished visiting professor. Publicly, he has spoken at GLIMPSES and other conferences associated with open science, synthesis, big data, and the value of putting ecology (and humanity) into the work we do in other human pursuits outside science. He is a Professor at York University in Canada and a Research Associate at NCEAS. He is the Editor in Chief for Oikos for all formal synthesis papers, and an editor for PLOSONE, PeerJ, Gigascience, and Nature Scientific Data.
lortie [at] (Email) | Website
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: 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