Nina Venuti

Nina Venuti
Research Assistant
University of California, San Diego, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Extension Team / nvenuti@ucsd.edu

As a Research Assistant working with Extension Specialist Theresa Sinicrope Talley, Nina Venuti contributes to a number of projects focused on coastal San Diego ecosystems and communities (see below for a list of current and past projects). Nina received her B.A. in International Studies - Political Science and Anthropology, with a minor in Environmental Studies, from UC San Diego, and has been working with California Sea Grant since 2015.

Current projects

1. Assessing social vulnerability to seafood contaminants in San Diego Bay
Why do people harvest local seafood from San Diego Bay despite known health risks? This study aims to investigate the cultural, economic, and public health determinants of seafood harvester habits - and thus, vulnerability to contaminants - in San Diego Bay.

2. Evaluation of the Ocean Resources Enhancement and Hatchery Program (OREHP) 
From 2015-2017, California Sea Grant facilitated the first comprehensive scientific review of California's Ocean Resources Enhancement and Hatchery Program (OREHP) (see final report here). After completing this review, California Sea Grant was contracted by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) to gather public input, through Town Hall meetings and stakeholder outreach, on potential future directions of the Program. Input is currently being synthesized and analyzed.

3. Developing a California Commercial Fishing Apprenticeship Program
This project involves collaborating with California commercial fishermen to develop an apprenticeship program to help educate young people about the opportunities in commercial fishing, as well as the regulations, skills and co-management approaches necessary to keep commercial fishing economically, ecologically and socially sustainable.

Past projects

1. Updating California's Ocean Litter Strategy
In collaboration with the California Ocean Protection Council (OPC) and the NOAA Marine Debris Program, California Sea Grant coordinated stakeholder workshops and drafted the 2018 California Ocean Litter Prevention Strategy: Addressing Marine Debris from Source to Sea, an update to the OPC's 2008 Implementation Strategy for the California Ocean Protection Council Resolution to Reduce and Prevent Ocean Litter. The 2018 Strategy was adopted by the OPC on April 24, 2018, and provides a roadmap for action to prevent and reduce marine debris in California over the next six years. See here for a press release on the 2018 Strategy.

2. Building climate resilience of urban waters, ecosystems, and communities
This project integrated urban native greening, invasive plant and trash removal, and the engagement of the community and local decisionmakers in order to improve water quality, and climate resilience, of an urban ecosystem (Manzanita Canyon) and an underserved community (City Heights, San Diego). See here for the final report, a summary report, and a press release on the project. 

3. Plastics in wetland sediments and fish at the mouth of an urban watershed
Using wetland fish and sediment collected during June 2015 from urbanized Chollas Creek, San Diego, California, we tested the hypotheses that small plastic composition in sediments would be reflected in fish guts (non-selective consumption), and that semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs) would be present in all fish. Sediments contained about 10,000 microplastic pieces per m2, consisting mostly (90%) of fibers, and hard and soft pieces. Nearly 25% of fish contained plastics, but prevalence varied with size, sex and between species. Of the 39 types of sediment plastics, fish preferred 10 types that often resembled prey items, including filamentous algae, nematodes and fish eggs. Several phthalates were found in fish, with highest concentrations of sediment-associated compounds. We found that a species’ natural history may influence contamination levels with consequences, and lessons, for all consumers. Manuscript in prep. See here for a poster on this project, presented at the 2016 California Estuarine Research Society (CAERS) Conference.

4. Determining the availability of locally-landed seafood in San Diego seafood markets
The goal of this project was to define and begin to understand the influences on the patterns of locally sourced, domestic seafood availability in San Diego seafood markets. The results of the study revealed that only 8% of San Diego's 86 seafood markets consistently carried San Diego-sourced seafood, and 14% of markets carried it on occasion. Increased density of these local seafood markets was correlated with proximity to the coast, with almost 80% of the markets located within 2 km of the coast. See the published paper on this project here.

Publications, Reports, and Posters Nina has contributed to:

Talley, T. S., N. Venuti, C. Adams, J. Barkan, and E. Bowlby. 2018. Building Climate Resilience of Urban Waters, Ecosystems, and Communities. Final Report submitted to State Coastal Conservancy by Ocean Discovery Institute in partnership with California Sea Grant and San Diego Canyonlands. Project no. 3760-101-6083007. 31 July 2018. Publication no. CASG-18-024.

California Ocean Protection Council and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Marine Debris Program. 2018. California Ocean Litter Prevention Strategy: Addressing Marine Debris from Source to Sea.

California Sea Grant. 2017. Evaluation of the Ocean Resources Enhancement and Hatchery Program. Report submitted to California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Project no. P1470005. 12 December 2017. Publication no. CASG-17-010.

Talley, T. S., H. Warde, and N. Venuti. 2016. Local Seafood Availability in San Diego, California Seafood Markets. Future of Food: Journal on Food, Agriculture and Society 4(2): 40-49.

Salas, N., T. S. Talley, T. Miller-Cassman, T. Von Bitner, L. Busse, C. Loflen, D. Woodward, and N. Venuti. 2016. Micro-plastics in San Diego Bay Surface Waters, Intertidal Sands, and Bay Fish. Pp. 46-63 in San Diego Bay Debris Study Workgroup. San Diego Bay Debris Study: Special Study Plastic Debris Monitoring Report. Prepared for: Surface Water Ambient Monitoring Program of the State Water Resources Control Board and Southern California Bight 2013 Regional Marine Monitoring Survey Bight '13 Debris Planning Committee.

Talley, T. S., R. Whelan, and N. Venuti. 2016. Fate of Microplastics at the Mouth of an Urban Coastal Watershed. Poster presented at California Estuarine Research Society (CAERS) Conference, April 2016, Long Beach, CA. 

As a Research Assistant working with Extension Specialist Theresa Sinicrope Talley, Nina Venuti contributes to a number of projects focused on coastal San Diego ecosystems and communities (see below for a list of current and past projects). Nina received her B.A. in International Studies - Political Science and Anthropology, with a minor in Environmental Studies, from UC San Diego, and has been working with California Sea Grant since 2015.

Current projects

1. Assessing social vulnerability to seafood contaminants in San Diego Bay
Why do people harvest local seafood from San Diego Bay despite known health risks? This study aims to investigate the cultural, economic, and public health determinants of seafood harvester habits - and thus, vulnerability to contaminants - in San Diego Bay.

2. Evaluation of the Ocean Resources Enhancement and Hatchery Program (OREHP) 
From 2015-2017, California Sea Grant facilitated the first comprehensive scientific review of California's Ocean Resources Enhancement and Hatchery Program (OREHP) (see final report here). After completing this review, California Sea Grant was contracted by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) to gather public input, through Town Hall meetings and stakeholder outreach, on potential future directions of the Program. Input is currently being synthesized and analyzed.

3. Developing a California Commercial Fishing Apprenticeship Program
This project involves collaborating with California commercial fishermen to develop an apprenticeship program to help educate young people about the opportunities in commercial fishing, as well as the regulations, skills and co-management approaches necessary to keep commercial fishing economically, ecologically and socially sustainable.

Past projects

1. Updating California's Ocean Litter Strategy
In collaboration with the California Ocean Protection Council (OPC) and the NOAA Marine Debris Program, California Sea Grant coordinated stakeholder workshops and drafted the 2018 California Ocean Litter Prevention Strategy: Addressing Marine Debris from Source to Sea, an update to the OPC's 2008 Implementation Strategy for the California Ocean Protection Council Resolution to Reduce and Prevent Ocean Litter. The 2018 Strategy was adopted by the OPC on April 24, 2018, and provides a roadmap for action to prevent and reduce marine debris in California over the next six years. See here for a press release on the 2018 Strategy.

2. Building climate resilience of urban waters, ecosystems, and communities
This project integrated urban native greening, invasive plant and trash removal, and the engagement of the community and local decisionmakers in order to improve water quality, and climate resilience, of an urban ecosystem (Manzanita Canyon) and an underserved community (City Heights, San Diego). See here for the final report, a summary report, and a press release on the project. 

3. Plastics in wetland sediments and fish at the mouth of an urban watershed
Using wetland fish and sediment collected during June 2015 from urbanized Chollas Creek, San Diego, California, we tested the hypotheses that small plastic composition in sediments would be reflected in fish guts (non-selective consumption), and that semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs) would be present in all fish. Sediments contained about 10,000 microplastic pieces per m2, consisting mostly (90%) of fibers, and hard and soft pieces. Nearly 25% of fish contained plastics, but prevalence varied with size, sex and between species. Of the 39 types of sediment plastics, fish preferred 10 types that often resembled prey items, including filamentous algae, nematodes and fish eggs. Several phthalates were found in fish, with highest concentrations of sediment-associated compounds. We found that a species’ natural history may influence contamination levels with consequences, and lessons, for all consumers. Manuscript in prep. See here for a poster on this project, presented at the 2016 California Estuarine Research Society (CAERS) Conference.

4. Determining the availability of locally-landed seafood in San Diego seafood markets
The goal of this project was to define and begin to understand the influences on the patterns of locally sourced, domestic seafood availability in San Diego seafood markets. The results of the study revealed that only 8% of San Diego's 86 seafood markets consistently carried San Diego-sourced seafood, and 14% of markets carried it on occasion. Increased density of these local seafood markets was correlated with proximity to the coast, with almost 80% of the markets located within 2 km of the coast. See the published paper on this project here.

Publications, Reports, and Posters Nina has contributed to:

Talley, T. S., N. Venuti, C. Adams, J. Barkan, and E. Bowlby. 2018. Building Climate Resilience of Urban Waters, Ecosystems, and Communities. Final Report submitted to State Coastal Conservancy by Ocean Discovery Institute in partnership with California Sea Grant and San Diego Canyonlands. Project no. 3760-101-6083007. 31 July 2018. Publication no. CASG-18-024.

California Ocean Protection Council and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Marine Debris Program. 2018. California Ocean Litter Prevention Strategy: Addressing Marine Debris from Source to Sea.

California Sea Grant. 2017. Evaluation of the Ocean Resources Enhancement and Hatchery Program. Report submitted to California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Project no. P1470005. 12 December 2017. Publication no. CASG-17-010.

Talley, T. S., H. Warde, and N. Venuti. 2016. Local Seafood Availability in San Diego, California Seafood Markets. Future of Food: Journal on Food, Agriculture and Society 4(2): 40-49.

Salas, N., T. S. Talley, T. Miller-Cassman, T. Von Bitner, L. Busse, C. Loflen, D. Woodward, and N. Venuti. 2016. Micro-plastics in San Diego Bay Surface Waters, Intertidal Sands, and Bay Fish. Pp. 46-63 in San Diego Bay Debris Study Workgroup. San Diego Bay Debris Study: Special Study Plastic Debris Monitoring Report. Prepared for: Surface Water Ambient Monitoring Program of the State Water Resources Control Board and Southern California Bight 2013 Regional Marine Monitoring Survey Bight '13 Debris Planning Committee.

Talley, T. S., R. Whelan, and N. Venuti. 2016. Fate of Microplastics at the Mouth of an Urban Coastal Watershed. Poster presented at California Estuarine Research Society (CAERS) Conference, April 2016, Long Beach, CA. 

Nina Venuti