Around 40% of the world population lives within 60 miles of the coast, and much of the ocean’s biodiversity exists near land. As people and the ocean influence one another, it makes sense to study the two together as interlinked “social-ecological systems.”
This project will train a diverse group of undergraduates in marine social-ecological research techniques and provide mentorship and research opportunities at a summer fellowship program at the University of California, Santa Barbara. The Resilient Interdisciplinary Social-Ecological (RISE) fellowship program will recruit students from the Promise Scholars Program at UCSB, a 500-student program that empowers high-achieving, first-generation students from low-income households. It will pair undergraduates with graduate students and create a mentor web to support marine science students from historically marginalized communities.
The students will contribute to two existing research projects at UCSB. One examines temporary fisheries closures as a tool for adaptive conservation and management. The other studies how children from diverse backgrounds access and value marine ecosystems, with the ultimate goal of improving children’s access to the coast and taking their priorities into account in conservation efforts. Through these projects, professional development training and mentorship provided by graduate students, the RISE fellows will gain social and ecological research skills and contribute to larger conservation research topics. Undergraduates and graduate students will receive stipends, and undergraduate fellows will present their research in a joint symposium at the end of the summer.