2020 California Sea Grant Extension Fellows Announced

Tanya Torres (left) and Gina Contolini (right)
April 27, 2020
Media Contact— Nicholas DeNezzo / ndenezzo@ucsd.edu / (858) 246-5872

California Sea Grant has awarded two fellowships as part of the new Extension Fellowship program. These extension fellowships will include engagement with the dynamic team of California Sea Grant extension specialists who work with state and federal agencies, municipalities, nonprofit organizations, local businesses, and members of the California coastal community, to identify emerging marine resource problems and opportunities, conduct applied scientific research, and share findings with stakeholder groups.

NOAA Marine Debris Program - California Sea Grant Extension Fellowship

Tanya Torres
Tanya Torres has been awarded the 2020 NOAA Marine Debris Program Extension Fellowship. Torres recently completed her master’s degree in natural resources and environmental management at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Her research focused on quantifying the environmental impacts of Hawaiʻi's food supply and how an increase in local food production could affect local, distant, and global environments. Torres’s interests in waste reduction and plastic pollution led her to a permanent volunteer position with a local non-profit, Sustainable Coastlines Hawaiʻi, where she has dedicated her spare time over the past 5 years to facilitating large scale beach clean ups and leading community education and outreach throughout the state of Hawaiʻi.

Torres is working with the NOAA Office of Response and Restoration’s Marine Debris Program, which seeks to investigate and prevent the adverse impacts of marine debris. Her work will support the Marine Debris Program’s work in California and will assist the program and the California Ocean Protection Council with the implementation of the California Ocean Litter Strategy. This Extension Fellowship has combined her two worlds of environmental research and environmental advocacy and she is excited to be involved with the work being done on marine debris here in California and at NOAA. 

California Department of Fish and Wildlife - California Sea Grant Statewide Kelp Management Extension Fellowship

Gina Contolini
Gina Contolini has been awarded the 2020 California Department of Fish and Wildlife Statewide Kelp Management Extension Fellowship. Contolini earned a Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 2019. Her research focused on how climate change, especially ocean acidification, can alter how dogwhelks (Nucella emarginata-ostrina) prey on mussels and how that cascades to influence community structure. Contolini has also received marine ecology training from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute’s Noas Marine Lab in Panama and at the University of Washington’s Friday Harbor Labs on San Juan Island in Washington state. She was a NOAA Hollings scholar in 2011 where she studied maternal effects in summer flounder at the James J. Howard Marine Sciences Laboratory in Sandy Hook, New Jersey.

Contolini is working with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife Marine Region, which oversees fisheries and habitat management for the entire California coastline. She is involved in the Aquaculture and Bay Management project to create an enhanced status report for kelp. Contolini’s work will provide an overview of kelp in California, outline current management efforts, and address information gaps to direct future research and management.

About California Sea Grant

NOAA’s California Sea Grant College Program funds marine research, education and outreach throughout California. Our headquarters is at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego; we are one of 33 Sea Grant programs in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U.S. Department of Commerce.