California Sea Grant and the Southern California Coastal Ocean Observing System (SCCOOS) are pleased to welcome Florybeth (Flo) La Valle. La Valle joined the program as a postdoctoral fellow on Tuesday, February 4. She will be working on data analysis to investigate the dynamics of habitat availability and disturbance in Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in California.
In her work, La Valle will collaborate with California Sea Grant Extension Specialists, SCCOOS, research and academic institutions, policy makers, and stakeholders to ensure that project methods and deliverables satisfy the needs of stakeholders within the broader MPA management community.
“I am excited to do a deep dive into the processes driving the biological systems in California's MPAs as well as getting to know the equally complex social networks of the entities involved in this statewide project,” says La Valle.
La Valle comes to California Sea Grant from UC Berkeley, where she worked on a collaborative project with the Marine Science Institute at the University of the Philippines Diliman. She completed her PhD in Marine Biology at the University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa in 2018, where she looked at the effects of nutrient-rich submarine groundwater discharge on coastal community composition and productivity—with funding from Hawaii Sea Grant. She was also the program manager of Our Project in Hawaii's Intertidal (OPIHI), a program promoting authentic undergraduate field-based research and citizen science in intertidal systems.
SCCOOS Executive Director Clarissa Anderson said, "Flo was selected from a pool of highly qualified candidates. It was clear that her experience with Hawaii Sea Grant and her rigorous oceanography background make her a perfect fit for this position. She will work with SCCOOS and CeNCOOS to develop multivariate statistical indicators, data and model products, and high-level web applications to meet the needs of California MPA managers as they approach the 2020 decadal management review.
California Sea Grant Director Shauna Oh adds, “Flo’s work with the California ocean observing systems on this integrative MPA project will continue California Sea Grant’s history of supporting state partners in generating and analyzing data used to manage the network of MPAs in California."