California Sea Grant is excited to welcome five new Staff Research Associates! Staff Research Associates help carry out California Sea Grant’s mission by engaging in scientific research, outreach and education projects focused on achieving sustainable fisheries and aquaculture, healthy coastal ecosystems and resilient coastal communities. These SRAs engage in field and laboratory research – including ecological surveys, aquaculture experiments and social science assessments – plan hands-on educational activities, run workshops with stakeholders and much more.
Meet the new SRAs:
Ashleigh Palinkas specializes in marine resources and resilient coastal ecosystems. In her role as an SRA, Palinkas contributes to a variety of projects including workforce development in sustainable fisheries and aquaculture, evaluation of ocean enhancement programs and scientific studies of coastal ecology in southern California. Based out of Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, Palinkas’ expertise includes the underwater natural history of southern California, fish biology, aquaculture and animal husbandry, and marine spatial planning. Palinkas received a Master of Advanced Studies in marine biodiversity and conservation from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego and has a bachelor’s degree in cultural anthropology from Fordham University.
Ava Salmi specializes in sustainable aquaculture and its impacts on coastal California’s environment, economy and communities. As an SRA, Salmi conducts community-centric aquaculture research, extension and outreach focusing on conservation and restoration of coastal California. With a background in finfish aquaculture, Salmi uses her expertise in hatchery operations to develop and expand new methods and technologies for rearing target species of seaweed, shellfish and finfish. She is currently based at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories. Salmi earned her M.P.S in marine conservation from the University of Miami, and a B.A. in biology, with a minor in environmental sciences from Emory University.
Emily Miller focuses on projects that improve the resiliency of California’s relationships with marine resources. As an SRA, Miller specializes in San Diego’s seafood system, working toward an integrated well-being of people, economies and ecosystems. Miller has six years of experience as an at-sea commercial fisheries observer in the West Coast region, and four years of experience as a consultant and field research associate in resilient coastal economies and seafood supply chains. She has a bachelor’s degree in ecology and evolutionary biology from the University of California, San Diego, and is enrolled in a dual-degree graduate program at Prescott College, AZ, in pursuit of an M.S. in food systems and an MBA in sustainable business and leadership.
Halley McVeigh supports research and extension efforts focused on sustainable fisheries and aquaculture. As an SRA, McVeigh conducts applied scientific research, outreach and education projects focused on sustainable fisheries, aquaculture and resilient seafood systems in California and the West Coast. She applies her experience toward supporting efforts to achieve equitable and sustainable seafood systems, healthy coastal ecosystems and resilient coastal communities. She earned a Master of Environmental Science and Management from the University of California Santa Barbara and a B.S. in biology from Warren Wilson College.
Tanya Torres is the Marine Debris Research Associate for California Sea Grant’s Extension Program, where she supports various projects in the co-production of knowledge to address the prevention and removal of marine debris in California. Torres previously was a California Sea Grant Extension Fellow. In her new role, Torres coordinates with funded scientists, agency partners California Sea Grant extension specialists and the communications team to gather, synthesize and disseminate research findings to relevant stakeholders. Torres has a broad background in natural resource management, marine debris, waste management and stakeholder engagement. Torres earned a M.S. and B.S. in natural resources and environmental management from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.
About California Sea Grant
NOAA’s California Sea Grant College Program funds marine research, education and outreach throughout California. Headquartered at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego, California Sea Grant is one of 34 Sea Grant programs in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U.S. Department of Commerce.