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.
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.
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.
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.
Amanda is a technician for the System Wide Monitoring Program (SWMP). She focuses 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.
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.
Nyri Scanlon recently 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.
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.