Stuart Siegel, PhD, PWS
Interim Director and Coastal Resilience Specialist
Dr. Stuart Siegel is Principal of Siegel Environmental and Coastal Resilience Specialist for the San Francisco Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. He focuses on the intersections of climate change, natural resources resiliency, ecosystem restoration, management-relevant science, and regional planning. He has been at the forefront of ecosystem restoration before it gained its modern name, and has worked on climate change-driven projects for several years. Dr. Siegel has lead design teams for several wetland restoration projects responsive to climate change, including Aramburu Island, Sonoma Creek, and Sears Point. He was a co-lead scientist for DRERIP, technical lead for the Delta Vision Ecosystem Workgroup, Suisun Marsh Plan Science Advisor, and lead PI for the Integrated Regional Wetland Monitoring Pilot Project. He co-authored the Wetland Carbon Sequestration Road Map to Implementation, authored the climate change chapter of the Moyle Suisun Marsh book, and served on technical advisory panels for large restoration projects.
Coastal Training Program Coordinator
Having spent more than a decade working for the Romberg Tiburon Center for Environmental Studies (RTC) in many capacities, Aimee comes to the NERR with expertise in larval fish counting, wetland science and grants administration. She graduated from the University of Colorado with a B.A. in Environmental Conservation, which led to many years of leading environmental education trips and sea kayak guiding up and down the coast from Alaska to Mexico. She has served for the past three years as Assistant Manager here at the reserve in addition to coordinating the Wetland Science Program for RTC for over 12 years She will be combining her passion for wetlands and her project management skills to merge the Coastal Training Program with the Wetland Science Program, strengthening the partnership between RTC and SF Bay NERR and expanding the diversity of trainings offered.
Matt Ferner, PhD
Dr. Matt Ferner directs the research and monitoring program at the San Francisco Bay NERR with the overarching goal of connecting applied science to the management of tidal wetlands and other coastal ecosystems. He has led studies of water quality, sediment dynamics, and environmental effects on coastal organisms, leveraging data from the NERR System-Wide Monitoring Program and fostering collaboration with other NERR sites around the country. He also works on wave-swept shorelines and other nearshore habitats and contributes to a wide range of interdisciplinary research, including studies of larval development, benthic-pelagic coupling, coastal hydrodynamics, and the sensory ecology of marine invertebrates. Matt previously worked as a high school chemistry teacher and college math tutor and he enjoys involving students of all levels in field and laboratory research. He received a B.A. in Biology from University of Louisville, an M.S. in Oceanography from University of Washington, and a Ph.D. in Applied Biology from Georgia Institute of Technology. He also was a postdoctoral researcher at the UC Davis Bodega Marine Laboratory before joining the NERR in 2008.
Education Program Coordinator
Bella comes to the SF Bay NERR with a diverse background environmental science, sustainability, and mentorship. As an undergraduate student at the University of California Santa Barbara, she worked as a wetland habitat restoration intern with the Cheadle Center for Biodiversity and Ecological Education (CCBER), completed a published study analyzing urban bird community composition in agro-gardens of the central coast, and spent many a sunset at the beaches and sloughs of Isla Vista, CA. She earned a dual-track MS degree from the University of Michigan in 2021 in Ecosystem Science & Management and Geospatial Data Science. As a graduate student, Bella worked with the Graham Sustainability Institute to develop interdisciplinary education programs and completed a thesis evaluating coffee agroforestry in Puerto Rico. Bella has a passion for mentoring students in science and engaging the public in research and education. She believes that estuaries and the quiet tranquility of wetlands are for everyone and is actively looking to expand the Education Program at the NERR to meet the needs of diverse audiences.
Lead Research Technician
Anna focuses on coordination and data management for the System-Wide Monitoring Program and also works on a range of research projects in San Francisco Bay. She completed both her B.S. and MSc in Ecology at University of California Davis, working out of UCD’s Bodega Marine Laboratory. Her thesis focused on variation in native bivalve patterns in rocky intertidal communities along estuarine gradients. Since then, she has worked in a variety of California estuaries studying invertebrate and fish communities and water quality. She is especially interested in ecological research that is strongly linked with management needs, and enjoys connecting with the outdoors through her work.
Jeremiah focuses on collecting monthly and seasonal data in and around the San Francisco Bay Estuary. He received a B.S. in Marine Biology from Humboldt State University and a M.S. from San Francisco State University in Biology where he studied how water flow and pH influence the physiology and grazing susceptibility of coralline algae. Jeremiah has extensive experience with scientific diving, boating, and hands-on research, and monitoring in a variety of coastal ecosystems in California, Massachusetts, and Maine. He is broadly interested in how coastal ecosystems will be affected by climate change, both in their physiology and ecology. He is interested in helping the San Francisco Bay NERR collect high quality data that informs policy that can help manage and protect these ecosystems.
Nyri Scanlon joined San Francisco Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve as a Research Assistant. She is updating NERR’s scientific reference literature to be more accessible to the scientific community by a web-access database. Nyri graduated from San Francisco State with a Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology and Limnology. While working on her B.S. she also received a Certificate of Achievement in recognition for extended research efforts from the Romberg Tiburon Center for Environmental Studies, RTC. She did work in both Dr. Kathy Boyer and Dr. Sarah Cohen’s labs. Nyri enjoyed assisting in both restoration projects and fouling plate experiments. In the future she is interested in helping to protect the San Francisco Bay marine environment and the organisms that live within.
Catie Thow grew up on and in the Narragansett Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) in Rhode Island but was thrilled when she got the opportunity to work and study in the San Francisco Bay NERR. In 2019, she started as a RIPTIDES Graduate Fellow at San Francisco State University where she worked with the NERR and Dr. Frances Wilkerson to study phytoplankton productivity and nutrient uptake in Suisun Marsh. Her project aimed to support a growing understanding tidal marsh restoration in San Francisco Estuary and beyond. Throughout her time as a graduate student, she has enjoyed participating in oyster and plant monitoring, SWMP activities and creating an ArcGIS StoryMap of the Lower Spring Branch Creek Restoration Project with the NERR.
Dulce first fell in love with sediment work in undergrad when she was given the opportunity to research sediment accretion rates in a local urban estuary. She grew up near the estuary and always had a million questions about why certain things were happening in the bay (like dredging or bird migrations). As a first generation Mexican American, she strived to further understand the processes so she could then share with her parents. Her undergrad advisor encouraged her to continue doing research, so she applied to RIPTIDES and is currently working with Dr. Matt Ferner in the NERR Lab. Her research focuses on the relationship between turbidity and total suspended solids along the natural salinity gradient of the San Francisco Estuary. She recently finished an 11-month long fellowship with California Sea Grant at the Port of San Diego, where she supported the Environmental Conservation department in local develop projects. Her academic experiences allowed her to develop her interest in working to close the gap between the local community, public policy, and environmental science. She is currently a Wetlands Specialist with the Irvine Ranch Water District in Southern California where gets the best of both worlds and hopes to make an impact in her local community.
Margaret A. Davidson Fellow
Julie is a doctoral candidate with the Graduate Group in Ecology at UC Davis, and a Margaret A. Davidson fellow with the San Francisco Bay NERR. She is interested in how coastal estuarine systems will respond to climate change stressors including sea-level rise, and how we can use this knowledge to improve habitat restoration efforts. Her research focuses on (1) how different habitats/communities along the vertical marsh gradient will respond to sea-level rise and flooding and (2) how sea-level rise and invasive species will interact to impact marsh communities in NERR's China Camp site, and (3) how to improve assessment of salt marsh restoration projects using metrics that assess sea-level rise resilience and social metrics of success. You can learn more about Julie and her research at https://juliegonzalez.work.
Danielle graduated from San Francisco State University in 2021 with a B.S. in Biology, concentration in Marine Biology and Limnology, and a minor in Chemistry. She is currently advised by Dr. Ed Carpenter at the EOS Center and working with the NERR System-Wide Monitoring Program. Her graduate research is focused on phytoplankton species and their abundance in the San Francisco Bay and how that relates to different environmental variables collected at each of her sampling sites, including five NERR water quality monitoring stations.
Becca graduated from San Francisco State University in 2021 with a B.S. in Biology with a concentration in Ecology. She fell in love with wetlands after taking a Wetland Ecology course, led by Dr. Katharyn Boyer, during her undergrad. Now, she is currently advised by Dr. Stuart Siegel at the EOS Center and works in Dr. Boyer’s lab monitoring and restoring eelgrass beds in the San Francisco Bay. Her graduate research is concentrated on tidal marsh restoration and ecology with a specific focus on the use of nature-based restoration methods.
Allie Margulies identifies as a conservation scientist who is passionate about listed, rare, and declining species. In 2016, she graduated from UC Davis with a B.S. in Environmental Science and Management and a minor in Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology. As a Master’s student at SFSU’s EOS Center, she is co-advised by Dr. Andy Chang of the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center Marine Invasions Lab and Dr. Matt Ferner of the San Francisco Bay NERR. Her research centers on Olympia oysters (Ostrea lurida), a native foundation species that is a major focus of conservation and restoration efforts across the West Coast of the United States and beyond. She is building on a long-term dataset of the Olympia oyster population in San Francisco Bay to identify refuge areas where oysters are the least likely to experience mortality from extreme climatic events. She hopes that her research will improve long term success of oyster conservation and restoration efforts as climate change increases the frequency and severity of extreme weather.
Daniel is a storyteller and scientist who finds the greatest fascination in the littlest things. As an invertebrate enthusiast, he is more than happy to tell you about the crabs, isopods, and amphipods he finds so interesting. It comes as no surprise that his thesis research is on the invasive ribbed mussel and its impacts on the local invertebrate community. With his research experience and science communication skills, Daniel hopes to have a career telling stories about science and the people behind it. Currently, he works part time as an administrative assistant for COAST, the CSU marine science affinity group.
Director, 2013 to 2021
Dr. Michael Vasey is a passionate believer in the need for good science to inform management decisions and public engagement in the cause of conserving the San Francisco Estuary (SFE). He left a career in teaching conservation biology at San Francisco State to practice conservation biology as manager of the SF Bay NERR. Mike earned his Ph.D. in Environmental Studies from UC Santa Cruz and, before that, an MA in Ecology and Systematic Biology from San Francisco State. He co-led a research team assessing tidal wetland vegetation in the SFE and brings this ecological expertise to his work as the SF Bay NERR manager. For over ten years, Mike was the lead in a collaborative process to design the SF Bay NERR and this resulted in its successful designation in 2003. He returned as Interim Director in June 2013 and later was hired to the permanent Director position in March 2015 after a national search. Dr. Vasey has actively worked to build good relations with staff and core partners, and also to position the SF Bay NERR to make an important contribution to regional science and management in the SFE. In his spare time, Mike pursues an avid interest in manzanita systematics and the impacts of summer fog on coastal chaparral.
Technician 2019 to 2021
Amanda was a technician for the System Wide Monitoring Program (SWMP). She focused on technical support for the research and monitoring program. Amanda completed her B.S. at the University of Connecticut in Marine Sciences, with an interest in water quality and oceanographic instrumentation. She continued after college as a marine technician, aboard several research vessels on the East Coast. During her time as a marine technician, she learned a great deal about scientific instruments, troubleshooting, and the basics of electrical and mechanical skills. She has her Captain's license and loves being on the water working. When she is not on the water, you can find her hiking or exploring the outdoors.
Education Coordinator, 2004 to 2020
Sarah Ferner developed new and led existing education programs for the San Francisco Bay NERR. This role combined her passion for education and science. On any given day, you could have found her knee deep in mud assisting with research, at her desk writing about wetlands and water-quality, or teaching anyone, from families to teachers, about marshes, estuaries, and climate change. Sarah received a B.A. in Biology from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota and a M.Sc. in Marine Science from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science/College of William and Mary. She is a certified California Master Naturalist. Prior to joining the San Francisco Bay NERR in 2004, Sarah worked closely with the Chesapeake Bay-Virginia NERR as a Graduate Research Fellow where she studied the vegetation community change in a tidal freshwater marsh.
Reserve Manager, 2003 to 2013
Dr. Jaime Kooser is a resource geographer who has worked on coastal zone management issues since 1990. She brought state agency experience in science, policy and management, along with her academic background, to her role as manager of the SF Bay NERR. Before directing the NERR for ten years, Jaime served as Deputy Director for Energy, Ocean Resources and Water Quality at the California Coastal Commission. She has worked on wetlands policy and water quality regulation at the Washington Department of Ecology. Dr. Kooser also was a professor of geography at the University of Washington and at The Evergreen State College, where she focused on environmental studies. She earned her B.A. in geography from Northwestern University, and her M.A. and Ph.D. in geography from the University of California, Berkeley. She has a passion for healing the earth and the relationship of people to the earth. She recharges her spirit by bird watching and continuing her broader interest in geography, including the study of vernacular architecture.
Coastal Training Program Coordinator
Heidi Nutters worked with coastal decision makers to provide training, communication and outreach to improve management in the San Francisco Bay Area. She received a B.A. in Cultural and Interdisciplinary Studies from Antioch College and a M.A. in Environmental Studies from Brown University. She also is a certified permaculture designer from the Regenerative Design Institute, and has extensive training in facilitation, environmental communications and conflict resolution. Prior to joining the SF Bay NERR in 2012, she was a NOAA Coastal Management Fellow at the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission. Heidi’s interests include resilience planning, watershed-scale solutions, the human dimensions of climate change, communications, outreach and marketing.
Lara Martin was a technician for the System-wide Monitoring Program. She received a B.A. in Biology from Earlham College in Indiana and was headed to veterinary school. Since moving to California in 1995, she has been lured away from this idea by the ocean and the rich mud of the estuary. She has since worked as a research assistant for Richardson Bay Audubon, as an educator and aquarist for a local aquarium, and as a surveyor for Pacific States Marine Fisheries. Her research interests include sustainable fisheries, spatial competition within the intertidal zone, and the effects of eelgrass restoration on the sessile estuarine community.
Bernhard Warzecha joined SF Bay NERR (in cooperation with Solano Land Trust) as the Stewardship Coordinator in May 2014. He earned his undergraduate degree in Biology from Freie Universitaet in Berlin, Germany, and holds a M.S. in Biology (Ecology) from San Francisco State University. Bernhard’s interest in research and application of ecology and biogeography lead to his involvement in numerous projects within a diverse range of ecosystems, from forests over chaparral to grasslands and wetlands, working with a wide span of organisms, from microbes over plants to birds and terrestrial mammals. Bernhard also has a strong interest in quantitative and spatial tools to understand ecological dynamics and processes. As Stewardship Coordinator, Bernhard supported the SF Bay NERR with its activities at Rush Ranch Open Space Preserve, including biological monitoring, research, GIS, management plan implementation, restoration, and invasive or sensitive species management.
Elena was a research technician working on water quality in Suisun Marsh and helping with the System Wide Monitoring Program. She received an M.S. in Hydrology/Limnology from the University of Georgia in 2007 after working in art production and teaching English as a second language. She has worked in the algae-to-biofuels industry and in lake and river water quality monitoring. Her research interests include biogeochemistry at the sediment-water interface and facultative anaerobic bacteria.
Calissa interned with the Coastal Training Program where she assembled case studies that use sea-level rise viewing tools to develop adaptation and planning strategies along the California coast. In the summer of 2013 she interned with SF Bay NERR’s Research Technicians assisting with research on Olympia oysters’ response to climate change and the System Wide Monitoring Program. She graduated from Franklin University Switzerland in May 2014 with a B.A. in Environmental Studies and Communications and Media Studies and spent one semester in the Turks and Caicos Islands studying Marine Ecology and Resource Management.
Jared has worked in environmental management since 2003. Prior to joining NERR in 2015, Jared worked as a resource ecologist in the private sector, where he managed the development and implementation of ecological restoration projects and integrated resource management plans for public agency, corporate, and private clients statewide. His research includes work in vegetation response to climate change and water quality management issues in grazing systems. Jared holds a BA in Liberal Studies from Bennington College, an M.Sc in Environmental Studies (Ecology) from GMC, and a post-graduate certificate in GIS from SFSU. As Stewardship Coordinator with the San Francisco Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) and the Solano Land Trust, Jared was responsible for coordinating management plan implementation, invasive species management projects, research, restoration, and monitoring activities.
Alex Wick received his B.S. in Marine Biology at University of California Santa Cruz and has spent his post-undergraduate career working with scientific instruments ranging from large scale on board underway data acquisition systems to implementing the NERR’s System Wide Monitoring Program here at San Francisco Bay. His experience comes from working on research vessels in the Pacific, spanning Antarctica through Alaska’s Aleutian Islands. Alex enjoys working on the water and when he’s not troubleshooting an instrument, you’ll find him surfing or spearfishing along California’s coast.