Dr. Jennifer O'Leary runs her program in central California between Point Conception and Monterey Bay, with an emphasis on areas in and around Morro Bay. Her program focuses on creating sustainable ecosystems and fisheries through science. She conducts and facilitates research with stakeholders. Interests and expertise include: ecological resilience in the face of climatic and anthropogenic stress, fisheries science and management, and developing tools to promote effective ecosystem monitoring and management.
Dr. O'Leary's research focuses on how human disturbance and environmental variability affect persistence and recovery of marine systems, and how to manage complex systems for long-term sustainability. She helps communities, agencies and fishers use research results to make informed decisions. She uses a combination of research tools including field, laboratory, and meta-analytic (analyzing existing data) studies. Current projects include working collaboratively to evaluate the causes and consequences of dramatic eelgrass declines in Morro Bay, evaluating what how rocky intertidal communities will change following loss of sea stars to disease, evaluating Dungeness crab recruitment in the southernmost range of the fishery and species, and developing genetic tools to allow rapid assessment of recruitment (arrival of babies) for important species like abalone.
Dr. O'Leary develops research initiatives after close consultation with local communities. The eelgrass and Dungeness work are based on information needs by the Morro Bay National Estuary Program and fishing communities. She is on the advisory board for the SLOSEA (San Luis Obispo Science and Ecosystem Alliance) to bring together community groups and researchers to share information. She sits on the advisory board of the Central Coast Biological Society, a group that brings together citizens for presentations on key topics in biology and conservation of the central coast. Dr. O'Leary also works with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife's Invertebrate monitoring and management group to develop new methods of collecting data key to conservation of California abalone. Jennifer teaches Fisheries Science and Conservation and Marine Ecology at California Polytechnic State University.
Credentials and Experience
Dr. O'Leary earned her bachelor degree at Tufts University in Boston and her Ph.D. at the University of California, Santa Cruz in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. She completed two postdoctoral appointments at Stanford University (evaluating the effects of ocean acidification on benthic habitat and abalone recruitment) and at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS, developing a global ocean health index). She has extensive experience in marine management. Dr. O'Leary co-directs a program in East Africa helping marine managers and fishers monitor and effectively manage marine protected areas (MPAs) using scientific data, and she was formerly a marine biologist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and co-authored the California management plan for seven species of abalone.
Please refer to: http://jenniferoleary.weebly.com/publications.html