Staff & Postdoctoral Researchers
Ricardo Amoroso – Research Scientist
Ricky is a Doctor of Biology from the National University of Comahue (Argentina). He completed his research in Patagonia under the supervision of Ana Parma and Lobo Orensanz. His work integrated oceanography, reproductive biology, larvae dispersal and stock distribution to provide a management framework for an artisanal scallop’s fishery. During his post-doctoral stay at the University of Washington he has been worked on assembling and analyzing high-resolution data of trawling footprint. Additionally, Ricky has been working on other projects aimed to understand the social and ecological impacts of fishing such as global lost yields, the impacts of hatcheries on wild salmon populations and the interactions between forage fish and top predators. Currently Ricky is a fisheries consultant for the Nature Conservancy and FAO. His work is mainly focused on improving capacity and assess data poor stocks in South America in collaboration with local research institutions. He continues to collaborate with UW in the assessment of data poor stocks and the evaluation of management strategies for forage fish.
Charmane Ashbrook – Research Scientist
Charmane works on global fisheries related tasks. She primarily updates and adds new stock assessment data for incorporation into the RAM Legacy Stock Assessment Database but on occasion also focuses on management-related surveys. Before “going global”, she did government-based fisheries management and research that focused on Washington State. The management work included lead positions for sport rulemaking, the Endangered Species Act fisheries team, and fish management of Willapa and Grays Harbor. The research work included evaluating salmonid survival of fish released from various fishing gears, Redband trout presence/ absence evaluation, and various experiments at hatcheries. Charmane has a Master’s degree from the University of Washington School of Aquatic and Fisheries Sciences (Selective fishing and its impacts on salmon: a tale of two test fisheries) and Bachelor of Arts and Science degrees from The Evergreen State College. In her spare time, she enjoys teaching undergraduate biology and other STEM courses. In addition to the fascinating world of fish that her work enables, she has been able to work with people from many walks of life and spend time in many different habitats. Further, her initial struggles with carrying buckets of water loaded with hatchery fish have resulted in an enjoyment of weight lifting at the gym and the ability to pull sodden dogs, as well as large fish, out of various waterbodies.
Nicole Baker – Research Scientist
Nicole’s interest in fisheries and fisheries management started in May of 2010 when she started working as a fisheries observer in Alaska. While she was working as an observer, she completed her masters degree in biological oceanography at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagϋez. While there, she co-authored a literature review on the status of queen conch in the Caribbean that was used for an ESA determination, and her thesis analyzed the status of the queen conch population in Puerto Rico and the effectiveness of recent management actions. Nicole has worked as a research scientist in Ray’s lab since May of 2016. She currently divides her time between managing the lab and assembling databases that are used in a variety of lab research projects. Nicole is working on an analysis of the factors that are associated with progress in Fisheries Improvement Projects (FIPs) but is more generally interested in the economics of fisheries. She is an advocate of open access publishing and is currently serving as an ambassador for MarXiv.
Jack Cheney – Staff
Jack has created content for Sustainable Fisheries UW since the website began in 2015. Before working with Ray, Jack graduated from the University of Washington, School of Marine and Environmental Affairs with a Master’s in Marine Affairs (MMA). While pursuing that degree he contracted with Future of Fish, partnering with Vulcan Inc. to create the Smart Catch sustainable seafood certification program. Jack worked for Sea to Table after earning his MMA in 2015, focusing on national business development and traceability technology. He is now the sourcing director for Real Good Fish, a community supported fishery and seafood distributor based on Moss Landing, California.
Daniel Hively – Research Scientist
Daniel is a research scientist in the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences working on administering and updating the RAM Legacy Stock Assessment Database, which consolidates stock assessment estimates and data from around the world. He also performs analyses on stocks from the database, such as detecting depensation through surplus production or recruitment relationships. He obtained a M.S. in Applied Mathematics and Statistics from the University of California, Santa Cruz where his research included constructing methods to analyze the impacts of data availability and biological/model assumptions on stock assessment model accuracy.
Dr. Michael Melnychuk – Research Scientist
Michael is a Research Scientist in SAFS. Working with Ray Hilborn, his research focuses on identifying management strategies and tactics that lead to successful conservation outcomes for marine populations and positive socioeconomic outcomes for the fisheries they support. Much of this work relies on estimates of stock status of fish and invertebrate populations from around the world, assembled in the RAM Legacy Stock Assessment Database. In parallel, his work has involved constructing several databases characterizing how fisheries management systems operate. Pairing these with stock status data allows for conducting meta-analyses to assess the influence of management attributes on the current status of fish and invertebrate stocks relative to management targets. Previously in SAFS, he worked with Tim Essington to evaluate ecological impacts of catch share fisheries. His doctoral research at the University of British Columbia with Carl Walters and Villy Christensen focused on quantifying mortality patterns of juvenile salmon during their migration from southern BC rivers to the open ocean and developing approaches to integrate acoustic telemetry data into mark-recapture models.
Max Mossler – Staff
Max developed Sustainable Fisheries UW and has written much of the curriculum for it, like Seafood 101. He runs our social media presence, coordinates with expert contributors, and posts as many blogs as he can. Before joining Sustainable Fisheries UW, he received a Master of Marine Affairs (MMA) from the School of Marine and Environmental Affairs at the University of Washington, where he studied environmental perception and policy communication. A passionate waterman, you can find him freediving, spearfishing, or paddling off his native Southern California coast or in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.
Dan Ovando – Postdoctoral Researcher
Dan is a postdoctoral researcher in the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences at the University of Washington. His research explores how ecology, economics, and data science can be used to help communities effectively manage marine resources. His recent projects include using economic data to estimate the state of fisheries, evaluating and estimating the regional costs and benefits of marine protected areas, and using machine learning to predict returns of Alaskan salmon. Dan received his B.S. in Ecosystem Science and Policy and Biology from the University of Miami, and his Master’s and Ph.D. in Environmental Science and Management from the Bren School at the University of California Santa Barbara. He has worked as a shark biologist, and as a research scientist for the Sustainable Fisheries Group. When not at the computer he can usually be found on a mountain or in the ocean.
Maite Pons – Postdoctoral Researcher
Maite is originally from Uruguay and she received her B.S. and Master’s degree in Ecology from the University of Uruguay in Montevideo. She completed her PhD. at the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences at the University of Washington where she is currently employed as a postdoctoral researcher. She has been working in stock assessment and management of tuna fisheries for more than 15 years. In addition, and as part of her postdoc, she is in charge of training Latin-American researchers on population dynamics and stock assessments models in data-limited situations. Although she still loves spending time on the ocean, since she moved to Seattle it is highly likely that on a weekend you can find her on the mountains.
Hannah Bassett – PhD Student
Hannah approaches her research with an interdisciplinary social-ecological systems science lens, drawing on theories and methods from political ecology, anthropology, history, and sustainability science. She is primarily concerned with questions relating to human well-being and human rights in the context of small-scale fisheries and focuses on dive fisheries, in particular. Hannah’s Master’s thesis documented the extent and characteristics of dive fisheries globally as represented in the scientific literature and presents a theoretical analysis of sustainability considerations for dive fishing compared to other viable methods for accessing the same resources. Hannah’s PhD research focuses on the effects of dive fishing practices on human well-being outcomes in communities in California and the Philippines. For her first two chapters, she is working with California red sea urchin dive fishers, processors, and other stakeholders to reconstruct the fishery’s historical timeline to understand how social and biophysical processes and events have affected the fishery’s sustainability. In her second two chapters, she is examining the effects of criminalization of dive fishing on community well-being and human rights via comparative case study of two dive fishing communities in the Philippines. Hannah is also interested in science studies and particularly, how community members are affected by the presence and influence of researchers.
Prior to joining the Hilborn Lab, Hannah worked under Eddie Allison at the School of Marine and Environmental Affairs for her Master’s research. While there, she learned Tagalog and spent three months in the Philippines doing an exploratory case study of dive fishing in one community as a Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellow. Prior to her Master’s work she received her Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of California, San Diego and spent five years as a Staff Research Scientist in the Scripps Whale Acoustics Laboratory (SWAL) lead by John Hildebrand at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Hannah and enjoys collaborating on transdisciplinary projects and has published on a range of topics, including quantitative fishery science, impacts of climate change on the oceans and people, and marine mammal acoustic research. She is currently a National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellow.
Zach Koehn – PhD Student
Zach studied Philosophy and Religious Studies as an undergraduate and has a Masters in Environmental Ethics, both from Stanford University. He has worked with the Natural Resources Defense Council, Stanford’s Center for Ocean Solutions, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association. Prior to starting his PhD, he managed a fish distributor in Monterey Bay, California. Along with his PhD work, Zach has been a member of working groups to improve social responsibility in the seafood sector and to create a code of conduct for marine conservation. He is also a Graduate Pursuit Fellow at the National Center for National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) , where he is part of an interdisciplinary group improving our understanding of the connections between urban processes and subsistence fishing in rapidly growing US metropolitan areas.
Zach’s PhD research seeks to understand how sustainably harvested seafood can improve public health by focusing on its connection to the healthy food system, and is broken into three chapters. His first chapter investigates where fishery and health policies are most and least integrated around the world and under what conditions. His second chapter synthesizes quantitative and qualitative data to understand how we can improve the supply of underutilized fish to low income and nutritionally vulnerable communities along the US West Coast. His final chapter establishes a connection between nutrient richness and environmental footprints of food products to determine which sectors are most environmentally efficient per serving to meet daily nutritional requirements. When he’s not writing, he is training for ocean paddle marathons, surfing, cooking, or finding a good book or some music in the city.
Katie McElroy – PhD Student
Katie is a Ph.D. student co-advised by Ray Hilborn and Tom Quinn in the School of Aquatic and Fisheries Sciences. Before SAFS, she received a B.S. in Marine Biology and a Master’s in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from UC Santa Cruz. Her work focuses on foraging decisions in fishers and bears, and the use of information in those decisions. She is broadly interested in the interfaces of ecology and evolution and fisheries management and conservation. Her research brings her to Bristol Bay, Alaska to study sockeye salmon populations, one of her favorite places in the world.
Kristin McQuaw – Masters Student
Kristin is a Masters student advised by Ray Hilborn in the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences (SAFS) at the University of Washington. Prior to starting her Masters, Kristin received a B.S. in Aquatic and Fishery Science at SAFS. Kristin has worked as a deckhand on a commercial fishing vessel out of Kodiak, Alaska, as well as interned for Pacific Seafood and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association. Kristin currently manages the Shorebased Whiting Cooperative, overseeing the activity of vessels participating in the U.S. West Coast shoreside Whiting fishery. Kristin is broadly interested in the management of ocean resources, stock assessment and the interactions with stakeholders, particularly in the context of mixed stock fisheries. Her Master’s research models alternative harvest strategies in the U.S. West Coast groundfish fishery and analyzes the resulting economic, environmental and social tradeoffs.
Jessica Sanders – PhD student
Jessica grew up in Seattle, WA, but now lives in Apia, Samoa where she works for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. She holds a master’s degree in International Environmental Policy from Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey and a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies from Scripps College. Jessica has worked across scales spanning industrial high seas fisheries to small-scale fishers and fishing communities in different parts of the world and has focused on bridging sustainable use and conservation of marine resources. She is currently a Ph.D. student in the School of Aquatic and Fisheries Sciences where she is focusing on small-scale fisheries in the Pacific islands. She is particularly interested in understanding factors of effectiveness of nearshore fisheries such as monitoring regimes, access rights, and governance of marine resource extraction.
Ashley Townes – PhD student
Ashley grew up in Philadelphia, PA, and graduated from Tufts University with a dual degree in International Studies/Literature and Japanese. She obtained her masters in Sustainable Development from the SIT Graduate Institute. She has traveled to over 50 countries on six continents, studying and working in the realm of ecological restoration and natural resource management at various international organizations, NGOs and institutions. Ashley is an aspiring fisheries scientist who is pursuing a Ph.D. at the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences at the University of Washington and is co-advised by Ray Hilborn and Daniel Schindler. She is part of the Alaska Salmon Program where most of her research is in Bristol Bay, Alaska. She is studying the phenology, behavior, and movement ecology of sockeye salmon. Ashley is currently designing an individual-based model to investigate the relationships between habitat characteristics and animal population densities. Using different statistical methods, she hopes to find out how do individuals respond to changes in in-stream geological landscape and how it affects population productivity.
Ashley loves conversing about environmental issues, global affairs, Japanese culture, and international backpacking. In her spare time, she enjoys creating video documentaries, attending photo exhibitions, scuba diving, DIY art projects, canoe camping, and eating Southeast Asian food.