California Sea Grant Awards Nearly $841,000 Towards 10 New Graduate Research Fellowships

Clare Leschin-Hoar


California Sea Grant is pleased to announce our intent to award nearly $841,000 in funding for 10 new graduate research projects addressing issues relevant to California communities and of importance to coastal and marine science.

The newly funded 2024 graduate research fellowship projects (pending final approval by NOAA) will cover a wide variety of topics under California Sea Grant's priority themes of resilient communities and economies; sustainable fisheries and aquaculture; Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Justice and Accessibility.

“California Sea Grant’s Graduate Research Fellowships support exceptional graduate students who will work closely with research and community mentors to address issues relevant to California communities,” says California Sea Grant Director Shauna Oh. “These newly funded projects will add to current coastal and marine science knowledge and can support planning, policy and management actions .”  

Newly funded graduate researchers will take novel approaches to a number of challenges facing the state, including migration conditions for California’s chinook salmon populations; threatened biological hotspots; dune restoration in the face of climate change, sea level rise and storm erosion; potential impacts of kelp forest restoration efforts and more. These projects will help develop practical scientific results that will inform future management within the state of California.


Collaborative Conservation of Ishyâat in a Spring-Run Chinook (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) Stronghold

Fellow: Amy Fingerle (University of California, Berkeley)

Research Mentors: Stephanie Carlson (University of California, Berkeley), Theodore Grantham (University of California, Berkeley)

Community Mentors: Toz Soto (Karuk Tribe), Karuna Greenberg (Salmon River Restoration Council), Matthew Sloat (Wild Salmon Center)


Biological Hotspots Under Threat: Quantifying Climate Impacts to California’s Marine Ecosystems and Coastal Communities

Fellow: Danial Palance (University of California, Santa Cruz)

Research Mentors: Roxanne Beltran (University of California, Santa Cruz), Stephanie Brodie (CSIRO)

Community Mentors: Elliott Hazen (NOAA), Nerea Lezama-Ochoa (NOAA), Heather Welch (NOAA), Steven Bograd (NOAA), Jarrod Santora (NOAA), Jonathan Hicken (Seymour Marine Discovery Center)


Contribution of Lagoon-Rearing Juvenile Chinook Salmon to Adult Spawning Population in the Mattole River

Fellow: Emma Held (Cal Poly Humboldt University)

Research Mentor: Darren Ward (Cal Poly Humboldt University)

Community Mentor: Nathan Queener (Mattole Salmon Group)


Evaluating Ecological and Geomorphic Trajectories of Beach Restoration to Inform Nature-Based Adaptation Approaches for Coastal Communities

Fellow: Karina Johnston (University of California, Santa Barbara)

Research Mentor: Jenny Dugan (University of California, Santa Barbara)

Community Mentor: Megan Cooper (California State Coastal Conservancy)


Understanding Flow-Ecology Relationships to Inform the Restoration of Effluent-Influenced Coastal Streams in Southern California

Fellow: Melissa von Mayrhauser (University of California, Berkeley)

Research Mentors: Theodore Grantham (University of California, Berkeley), Albert Ruhi (University of California, Berkeley)

Community Mentors: Raphael Mazor (Southern California Coastal Water Research Project Authority), Tevin Schmitt (Wishtoyo Chumash Foundation)


Strategies for Balancing Long-Run Tradeoffs in the Restoration of Kelp Forest and Coastal Economies in Northern California Under Environmental Uncertainty

Fellow: Kyumin Kim (University of California, Davis)

Research Mentors: Michael Springborn, (University of California, Davis), Marissa Baskett (University of California, Davis)

Community Mentor: Kristen Elsmore (California Department of Fish and Wildlife)


Microbial Photo-Biodegradation of Plastics and Bioplastics

Fellow: Sara Matsumura (University of California, Santa Barbara)

Research Mentor: David Valentine (University of California, Santa Barbara)

Community Mentors: Scott Coffin (State Water Resources Control Board), Win Cowger (Moore Institute for Plastic Pollution Research)


Toxic Metal Removal By Horizontal Levees That Protect Coastal Infrastructure From the Effects of Sea Level Rise

Fellow: Jonathan Uhler (University of California, Berkeley)

Research Mentor: David Sedlak (University of California, Berkeley)

Community Mentor: Jeremy Lowe (San Francisco Estuary Institute)


Informing a Holistic Socio-Ecological Restoration and Monitoring Plan Through an Understanding of the Long-Term Patterns of Change and Use of Tidal Marshes in Northern Mission Bay, San Diego, California

Fellow: Carrie Shuster (University of San Diego)

Research Mentor: Drew Talley (University of San Diego)

Community Mentors: Theresa Talley (California Sea Grant), Andrew Meyer (San Diego Audubon Society), Kellie Uyeda (Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve), Heather Henter (UC San Diego Natural Reserve System)


Weaving Indigenous Ecological Knowledge into Western Science to Understand the Impacts of Non-native Seaweeds

Fellow: Danielle McHaskell (Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego)

Research Mentor: Jennifer Smith (Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego)

Community Mentors: Caroline Collins (University of California, San Diego), Heather Ponchetti Daly (University of California, San Diego)