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People


David Ainley

Advisor

  dainley@penguinscience.com
Sausalito, California
david_bioDavid is an ecologist specializing in the ecological role of top predators in marine foodwebs and the ways that those roles are impacted by climate change.  He is a mentor for many Oikonos leaders. See penguinscience.com for details about his current research focus in Antarctica.  David also founded the significant international effort to protect the Ross Sea – details at lastocean.org


Lisa Ballance

Advisor

  lisa.ballance@noaa.gov
San Diego, CA
Lisa_Ballance_NOAA_chiefsciLisa Ballance is the Director of the Marine Mammal and Turtle Division at the Southwest Fisheries Science Center, NOAA Fisheries Service and an Adjunct Professor at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. She provides Oikonos guidance and graduate student advisement on collaborative research efforts. Her research includes a strong ecological component and is heavily focused on cetaceans and seabird ecology in oceanic systems, ecological trends in space and time, and ecosystem-based approaches to management. Link to Lisa’s NOAA profile and publications.


Grant Ballard

Board of Directors

  grant@oikonos.org
San Francisco, CA
Grant_by_JeanPennycookGrant is Chief Science Officer at Point Blue Conservation Science, with more than 20 years experience in ecology and bioinformatics. He currently leads several projects investigating and communicating the effects of landscape-scale environmental stressors on ecosystems and human stakeholders in western North America and the Southern Ocean. Originally from St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands, Grant has made the Bay Area is home since 1991.


Jessie Beck

Project Manager, Ecologist

  jessie@oikonos.org
Santa Cruz, CA
jb_oikonos_profilepic2 (2)Jessie manages several Oikonos projects in California. At the Marine Wildlife Veterinary Care and Research Center in Santa Cruz, she studies seabird mortality from long-line fisheries, oil spills, and natural events. She also manages projects on Año Nuevo Island contributing to long-term seabird monitoring and restoration of breeding habitat.


David Calleri

Biologist, Master Blacksmith

  calleri@oikonos.org
Santa Cruz, CA
David_Calleri_2David is an integral team member working on Año Nuevo State Park seabird populations and habitat both on the island and the mainland cliff colonies.  For a decade David has volunteered his diverse expertise from biological monitoring to hand-crafting hardware for numerous restoration designs.  One of Dave’s focal species is the Pelagic Cormorant and he is documenting their breeding success in response to Common Raven predation.  You can also find Dave at Wilder Ranch State Park demonstrating past and present blacksmith skills.


Ken Campbell

Ikkatsu Project

  ken@ikkatsuproject.org
Tacoma, Washington
Ken_bio
Ken is a paddle sports instructor with expedition experience in Washington, California, British Columbia and Newfoundland and is currently pursuing a Masters Degree in Environmental Studies. In addition to authoring several books on Pacific Northwest kayaking, he is a long-time presenter at symposia and clinics throughout the region. With the Ikkatsu Project, Ken has turned his efforts to environmental issues that affect our oceans, focusing on increasing awareness of the dangers to our fragile shorelines and finding ways that they can be protected.


Ryan Carle

Conservation Coordinator/Año Nuevo Island Project Manager

  ryan@oikonos.org
Santa Cruz, CA
ryan_auklet_croppedRyan co-manages Oikonos’ seabird ecology and habitat restoration project at Año Nuevo Island. As Conservation Coordinator Ryan works to advance Oikonos’ conservation goals by bridging gaps in skills and knowledge between Oikonos project worldwide. He is currently working with Chilean staff at Isla Mocha, Chile, on conservation and tracking of Pink-footed Shearwaters. Ryan completed his Master’s degree at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories in 2014, and has received honors including a Switzer Leadership Development Grant for work in Chile.  Before joining Oikonos, Ryan worked on diverse conservation projects for the Mono Lake Committee, the International Crane Foundation, Point Blue Conservation Science, Friends of the Inyo, and California State Parks.


Emily Coletta

Seabird Research Technician, Año Nuevo Island

  emily@oikonos.org
Santa Cruz, CA
emilyEmily graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 2013. She holds degrees in Environmental Studies and Anthropology. During and after her time in Santa Cruz, she worked for Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park and Natural Bridges State Beach, various nature connection schools, and lived in Moab, Utah doing on-river environmental education. When not walking West Cliff or the woods with her favorite accessory, binoculars, you can find her with her nose in a book or her hands deep in dinner preparations.


Valentina Colodro

Board of Directors – Chile Representative, Program Manager of Chile Projects

  valentina@oikonos.org
Valparaíso, Chile
valentina_colodroValentina is a wildlife veterinarian and Program Manager for Oikonos’ Pink-footed shearwater-related projects at Juan Fernández Archipelago and Isla Mocha, Chile. She has been involved with Oikonos’ projects in Chile since 2007. Her main interests include wildlife medicine and seabird conservation.


Guillermo de Rodt

Técnico

San Juan Bautista, Archipiélago Juan Fernández, Chile
Guillermo de RodtGuillermo was born in the island and  spent 14 years dedicated to agricultural work on mainland Chile. Once back in the Archipelago, he worked with CONAF and the Holland Project in 2004 on rabbit and goat control programs, plus invasive plant control and erosion control plans. He has worked at Oikonos since 2013 on different projects including rodent and invasive incipient plant control programs and monitoring the reproductive success of the Pink-footed Shearwater.


Sara de Rodt

Asistente de proyectos, Island Conservation

San Juan Bautista, Archipiélago Juan Fernández, Chile
Sara de RodtBorn and raised in Robinson Crusoe, Sara has worked for Oikonos since 2003 searching for and monitoring endemic Firecrown nests and restoring its habitat through invasive plant control including maqui and blackberry. She has worked at Alejandro Selkirk Island monitoring Masafuera Rayadito’s population and restoration through artificial nest habitat. She has also participated in shearwater and petrel projects by monitoring their breeding success in several colonies throughout the Archipelago. She is currently Island Conservation’s project assistant on the Archipelago, with whom she’s been involved in rodent and cat control programs within town, a joint program with Oikonos.
Sara likes her work in the field and is passionate about studying the endemic Firecrown. She is happy to contribute in a small way for her island home.


Erica Donnelly-Greenan

Ecologist II, Research Collaborator

  erica@oikonos.org
Santa Cruz, CA

Erica Donnelly GreenanErica is a marine ecologist with Oikonos and previously the Operations Manager for The Marine Mammal Center in Moss Landing. Erica has worked with Oikonos since 2008 on the BiOPS program investigating plastic ingestion in seabirds.  More recently, Erica is working  Jessie Beck and Ryan Carle on Brandt’s and Pelagic Cormorant diet data obtained from pellets collected from Año Nuevo Island – a collaboration with Point Blue Conservation Science. Erica completed her M.S. degree in Marine Vertebrate Ecology at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories in 2012, where she examined prey and plastic ingestion in Pacific Northern Fulmars.


Myra Finkelstein

Research Associate, University of California Santa Cruz

  myraf@ucsc.edu
Santa Cruz, CA
Myra_profileMyra is an Adjunct Professor at UCSC and her research focuses on human impacts to wildlife with an emphasis on contaminant-induced effects. To fulfill this goal, her research seeks to develop links in the often difficult-to-understand causal chain between physiological responses to contaminants and population-level impacts of these effects. Myra is a co-investigator with Oikonos on seabird plastic ingestion projects and provides leadership in contaminant investigations and faculty sponsorship of project interns.


Marcelo Flores

Interim Program Manager

  marcelo@oikonos.org
Santiago, Chile
marcelo_flores_profile Marcelo is Oikonos’ interim Program Manager for projects in the Juan Fernandez Islands and Isla Mocha, Chile. He is a marine biologist, specialist in birds and marine mammals, with extensive experience in research projects in Chile, offshore island ecosystems, and Antarctica. He is a Professor at Andres Bello University and PhD candidate in Conservation Medicine at the same university.

Thomas Gardali

Co-Founder

Inverness, California
Tom is the Director of the Pacific Coast and Central Valley Group at Point Blue Conservation Science.  As a co-founder of Oikonos, Tom created the organization’s vision and brought his expertise in ecological restoration, climate change impacts on wildlife, migratory ecology, and conservation of at-risk species.


Paola González

Program Coordinator, Juan Fernández Islands

  paola@oikonos.org
San Juan Bautista, Juan Fernández Islands, Chile
Paola_bioPaola has co-managed Oikonos’ projects on the Juan Fernández Islands for over 10 years.  She leads the citizen science and restoration efforts to protect the unique biodiversity of the Archipelago.  Pao embodies the depth and diversity of skills islanders posses.  She is working to protect critically endangered endemic birds on Robinson and Selkirk.


Héctor Gutiérrez Guzmán

Juan Fernández Manager

  hgutierrez@oikonos.org
DSC_0290
Héctor (Chipi) has great interest and passion for conservation. He started working on Juan Fernandez in 2009 as a volunteer for Oikonos helping with the invasive plant control within nesting sites of the endemic Firecrown. In 2012 Chipi and partners founded “Rescatemos Juan Fernández”, an organization focused on local education and outreach through pacific islands. Also, every year they support Oikonos and the National Parks Services with volunteering programs. He received his degree in Natural Renewable Resources Engineering from Universidad de Chile. Currently he coordinates Oikonos projects on the ground in the archipelago.


Heather Harris

Wildlife Veterinarian, Sea Turtle Health

  heather@oikonos.org
Morro Bay, California
heather_harris_bio
Heather is a wildlife veterinarian with a strong interest in marine ecosystem health. She completed her graduate training (DVM and MPVM) at UC Davis in wildlife medicine and epidemiology, and a clinical internship in marine mammal medicine and pathology at The Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito. She currently works in collaboration with the NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center investigating the health of endangered sea turtle populations in the Pacific, Atlantic, and Caribbean Oceans. She is also the site veterinarian for The Marine Mammal Center field office in Morro Bay and part-time surgeon at Woods Humane Society in San Luis Obispo.


Erin Hagen

Research Associate, Island Conservation

  erin@oikonos.org
Santiago, Chile
Erin_bioErin is the Program Manager for Island Conservation in Chile.  She has led Oikonos projects on the Juan Fernandez Islands throughout her graduate career and now supports our collaborative research and conservation efforts with IC on the islands.  Her PhD dissertation and other research has focused on examining ecological and genetic relationships of critically endangered island birds to guide management actions in systems threatened by invasive mammals and plants. She currently leads restoration projects in South America focused on inhabited islands where island species are most imperiled.


Sacha Heath

Co-Founder

Davis, California
As a co-founder, Sacha helped develop Oikonos’ integrative science-art-conservation vision and initiated studies on the nesting ecology of birds recolonizing the recovering tributary streams of Mono Lake. After a decade spent managing programs and mentoring new ecologists at Point Blue Conservation Science, she is now completing her PhD at UC Davis. Sacha feels lucky to occasionally spend field time with Oikonos ecologists at Año Nuevo Island!


Aaron Hebshi

Board of Directors

  aaron@oikonos.org
San Diego, California
Aaron HebshiAaron has worked in natural resources for the Air Force and Navy the past eight years and received his PhD at University of Hawai‘i.  He is an island ecologist specializing in shearwater ecology and eradication planning.  Aaron’s current work with the Department of Defense includes coastal sage scrub, dune, and riparian habitat
restoration, and an effort on San Clemente Island to eradicate Argentine ants.


Bill Henry

Research Associate, Coastal Ecology, Photography

  henry@oikonos.org
Davenport, California
Henry Guadalupe LaysanBill is a project leader for the West Cliff Ecosystem Restoration Project, a community-based costal restoration effort in Santa Cruz, CA. He has over 20 years of working with seabirds and marine conservation and also hold positions at USGS and UC Santa Cruz. His PhD dissertation at UC Santa Cruz examined the consequences of range expansion for Laysan Albatrosses in the North Pacific Ocean. He used electronic tagging to examine at-sea distribution and understand geographic patterns diet, stable isotopes, and contaminant loading. His current research interests include vertebrate ecology, biogeography, conservation, and coastal restoration. Bill loves photography and you can often find him behind a lens.

Greg Hester

Graphic design, WordPress Admin., Video editor

  greg@hestergraphics.com
Los Angeles, CA
greghester2Greg worked for Yahoo! Sports and the Los Angeles Times. He created the “Where We Work” interactive infographic based on Twitter bootstrap code, to highlight our work around the world. He also setup our new responsive WordPress site, customized to our goals. He also setup our anonuevoisland.org site using Buddypress.


Michelle Hester

CEO and Ecologist

  michelle@oikonos.org
Waimanalo, Hawai‘i
Michelle_Haleakala_July2012Michelle is a co-founder of Oikonos and the Executive Director.  She brings 25 years of research and applied conservation experience throughout the Pacific.  Her research focuses on island ecology, seabird prey dynamics, and habitat restoration with an emphasis on inter-disciplinary approaches.


Ellen Hines

Advisor

  ehines@sfsu.edu
San Francisco, CA
Ellen_Hines_bio_imageEllen in a Professor at San Francisco State University and leader of the Marine and Coastal Conservation and Spatial Planning Lab of the Institute for Geographic Information Science. She leads collaborators, faculty, and students seeking to describe, model and predict the effects of human use on the marine and coastal environment. Her research interests include the integrated use of GIS and remote sensing in delineation of marine mammal habitat, issues of conservation in small-scale fisheries, and the development of research protocols for marine mammals in developing countries.


Peter Hodum

Board of Directors, Chile Program Director, Seabird conservation and ecology

  peter@oikonos.org
Tacoma, Washington
PJH_2892Peter is a conservation biologist who serves as the Chile Program Director for Oikonos and as an Associate Professor at the University of Puget Sound.  He has more than 25 years of experience in seabird ecology and conservation. His work focuses on the assessment of threats to seabird populations, restoration of native island ecosystems, conservation planning for endangered bird species, and the role of seabirds as upper-trophic level predators. In addition, Peter is involved with community-based conservation initiatives both locally and in Chile.


David Hyrenbach

Research Associate, Ocean Ecology, Cafetito

  david@oikonos.org
Waimanalo, Hawai‘i
David_birds_popoiaDavid is an Associate Professor at Hawai‘i Pacific University and leads Oikonos research and outreach projects involving graduate students, resource managers and local conservation groups.  He is currently working on Hawaiian seabird foraging ecology in both the main and the northwestern islands. He is a Pew marine conservation fellow and serves in the federal MPA advisory council and the WESTPAC protected species committee.


Carol Keiper

Research Associate, Sailing

  carol@oikonos.org
Benicia, California
carol_keiperCarol is an educator and marine ecologist with a Master’s Degree in Marine Science from Moss Landing Marine Laboratories. She was presented with the NOAA Environmental Hero Award, and the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation’s Volunteer of the Year Award for outstanding work. She was one of the Oikonos founding board members and she brings an impressive variety of expertise to Oikonos including geospatial analysis skills, curriculum development and her passion for marine debris prevention, ocean stewardship and risk assessment of vessel traffic on the endangered whales. The ocean is her home and she has worked as a naturalist and researcher on cruises for almost 25 years along the west coast of California, Hawaii, the Gulf of Alaska, Baja California, and the Caribbean. As a sailor for over 30 years she has a strong interest in inspiring sailors from Yacht Clubs to take action for ocean conservation.


Veronica López

Isla Mocha Program Manager and Educator

  veronica@oikonos.org
Viña Del Mar, Chile
veronica_lopez_profileVeronica is a veterinarian with a Master’s degree in wildlife conservation from Universidad Mayor, Chile. She has been involved with avian research in Chile for more than ten years, and coordinates Oikonos’ conservation and education strategies in Isla Mocha, Chile. She plays a key role in partnering with government agencies and other NGOs in Chile to advance programs preventing seabird mortality in fisheries.


Pablo Manriquez

Program Coordinator, Juan Fernández Islands

  pmanriguez@oikonos.org
Robinson Crusoe, Juan Fernandez, Chile
pablo_bio image

As an Islander, grandson of a lobster fisher, sustainable fishery leader, and professional research biologist, Pablo brings unique expertise to Oikonos’ mission to protect ecosystems in the Juan Fernandez Archipelago. Since 2006 he has coordinated research and monitoring of the lobster fishery and played a key role in the establishment of MSC certification and designation of a Marine Protected Area. Masters in Sciences from the University of Concepción.

Trinidad Mena

Financial & Administrative Manager

  trinidad@oikonos.org
Haleiwa, Hawai‘i
trini_profileBorn and raised in Vina del Mar, Chile. Trini grew up with a strong love for nature and the ocean. After obtaining a Master’s Degree in Finance from Universidad Adolfo Ibanez in 2012, she relocated to Hawai‘i. Trini is in charge of managing financial and administrative support for programs in Chile and the U.S. In her free time, she enjoys outdoor adventures of many different kinds.


Kirsten V. Moy

Development Coordinator

  kirstenvmoy@oikonos.org
Kaneohe, Hawai‘i
Kirsten Moy is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer and Blue Devil hailing from North Carolina. After working for the National Park Service in St. Croix, USVI, she served as a Community Environmental Conservation volunteer in Panama and then moved to Hawaii to work as the Hawaii state marine debris coordinator. Kirsten is a graduate student at the University of Hawaii at Manoa in the Geography Department.


Hannah Nevins

Research Associate & Co-Founder

 hnevins@abcbirds.org
Santa Cruz, CA
hannah_nevinsHannah is the seabird program director for American Bird Conservancy’s Oceans and Islands Program. She has investigated ecology and population health in California, Alaska, Antarctica, South Africa, Hawaii and New Zealand. Her research interests include diet, demography and conservation of seabirds. She has been involved in oil spill response, bycatch fishery issues, documenting plastic ingestion impacts and mass mortality events. She is a research associate with Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, UC Davis Wildlife Health Center and Marine Wildlife Veterinary Care and Research Center and is an adjunct biology Professor at Cabrillo College in Aptos, CA. She is a founding board member of Oikonos and enjoys the engaging and collaborative atmosphere fostered by this unique group of people.


Matthew Passmore

Advisor and Collaborator

  matt@oikonos.org
Berkeley, California
MP-bio-picMatthew Passmore is an internationally recognized artist, teacher and public space advocate. Best known as the original founder of the Rebar Art & Design Studio. He is a key collaborator in Oikonos’ efforts to revive wildlife habitat on Ano Nuevo Island by creating and implementing design solutions that create habitat – this time for rare seabirds rather than humans. In 2014, Matthew formed MoreLab, a new creative endeavor focused specifically on museum exhibitions and public art projects. Recently completed projects include Urbanauts, an 18-month artist fellowship at the de Young Museum in San Francisco, exhibitions at Make It Louder Beijing, the 2012 Istanbul Design Biennial and Kaleidoscape, a three-year social sculpture project at the Berkeley Art Museum. Matthew currently teaches in the graduate school of Urban Studies at the San Francisco Art Institute.


Cristián Pérez

Board of Directors, long-haul cyclist

  cristian.perez@oikonos.org
Santiago, Chile
cristian_bioCristián is an architect and urbanist (University of Chile, 2001) with postgraduate studies on design leadership at the University of Washington. He brings nearly 15 years of architectural design and sustainable urban planning experience in France, the United States and Chile. He has been involved in sustainable planning on the Juan Fernandez Islands since 1997, continuously providing useful grassroots tools to help bring awareness and consensus around best practices, facilitating informed dialogue between both local and regional leaders about a possible sustainable future to enhance the livelihoods of the Juan Fernández Islands community. Cristián is executive director at Global·Nomad.org in Chile, and a member of The Explorers Club of New York.


Nathanial Polish

Advisor

  polish@dtgroup.com
New York, NY
Nat has founded and managed several high technology companies specializing in the development and manufacturing of portable computer products. He has also served as a consultant to the computer industry for over 20 years, with clients ranging from small entrepreneurial start-up companies to Fortune 500 corporations. In conjunction with his consulting work, Dr. Polish has provided electronic and computer development services for a wide range of companies and products.


Laura Racoma

Accounting, CPA

  laura@oikonos.org
Kailua, Hawai‘i
Laura provides financial expertise guiding our accounting and internal controls.  She is also the controller for Boys and Girls Club of Hawaii and assists the Pacific Seabird Group.  She enjoys being the tutu of twin toddlers.


Flora Rojas

Asistente de campo

San Juan Bautista, Archipiélago Juan Fernández, Chile
Flora RojasFlora has worked in landscaping and green area maintenance within Robinson since 2003. In 2013 she began working with Oikonos, participating in different projects such as rodent control and invasive plant control, as well as monitoring Pink-footed Shearwater breeding colonies and the endemic Firecrown nesting habitat. For Flora, her work in Oikonos makes her very happy because she loves nature and enjoys the great working environment within Oikonos.


“Bobo” Sula Scott

Compliance Officer, Chasing flying fish

  bobo@oikonos.org
Pacific Ocean
BOBO_SulaScottBobo, who joined Oikonos after a career in free-lance fishing, is committed to the removal of invasive predators from islands, especially cats.  When he is not working, Bobo enjoys sipping on a squid smoothy by the shore.

Viola Toniolo

Research Associate & Co-Founder

  viola@oikonos.org
San Francisco, California
viola_bioViola is a co-founder of Oikonos and continues to contribute by providing GIS expertise and training.  Her graduate work at Stanford focused on the foraging and spatial ecology of Adelie Penguins on Ross Island, Antarctica, with Dr. Kevin Arrigo. Her diverse passions also include design, writing, and food.


Tiare Varela

Supervisor, Mocha Projects

Isla Mocha, Chile
Tiare VarelaOriginally from Isla Mocha, Tiare became an electrical technician in Lebu and returned to the island a few years ago. She has worked with Oikonos on the Pink-footed Shearwater Conservation Project since 2012, where she monitors invasive animal predation through camera trails deployed within the species’ breeding colony. She’s also an onboard observer in gillnet fisheries operating from Mocha, where she monitors possible seabird bycatch. Tiare also oversees the environmental educational program, a joint program of Oikonos and CONAF with the environmental group from the local school. Tiare is grateful for her work with Oikonos since it allows her to be near nature, something she loves.


Travis Wahl

Researcher, Seabirds, SCUBA

  twahl1991@gmail.com
Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, Alpena, MichigannTravis Wahl portrait
Travis graduated from Hawai‘i Pacific University and continues to work for the BIOPs research program. His independent research project focused on quantifying plastic ingestion in Laysan Albatross from the main islands (Kauai) and the NW islands (Kure Atoll).  Travis also enjoys scuba diving and baseball.


Sophie Webb

Board of Directors, Artist, Ecologist

  sophie@oikonos.org
Felton, CA
sophie_webbSophie has drawn and painted wildlife since childhood. She has traveled as a biologist studying and painting birds from the Amazon to the Arctic and Antarctic. In 1995 she co-authored and illustrated A Guide to the Birds of Mexico and Northern Central America. She has written and illustrated 3 children’s books. The first is about penguins, the second is about seabirds and the most recent book is about dolphins and the ecosystem in the Eastern Tropical Pacific Far from Shore: Chronicles of an Open Ocean Voyage. She also recently collaborated on a Field guide to the Marine Mammals of the Pacific Coast and continues to create illustrations for various neotropical bird field guides. She has worked on numerous cruises either as a researcher or naturalist in the Central Pacific, Eastern Tropical Pacific, Atlantic, Antarctic, Aleutians, Gulf of Alaska and the Bering Sea.