Lab Members Current

Dr. Ellen Hines

PhD in Geography, University of Victoria, BC, Canada w Dr. Dave Duffus
MA in Geography, San Diego State University w Dr. Janet Franklin
BA Mills College, Oakland, CA

My research addresses population and community ecology of threatened and endangered species as related to local conservation efforts and regional scale coastal and marine management science. The emphasis is on the evolution of consistent standards of field methodology and monitoring techniques, and on the creation of educational materials that can be applied to community-based conservation planning. Here's a link to my latest CV.

Ryan Anderson

M.S. in Marine Sciences, started Spring 2017

Ryan Anderson has joined the Hines lab because of his interest and experience with geographic information systems (GIS). He is interested in applying GIS to the intersection of species distribution and global change. Previously he has used GIS to model the nitrogen load to all the watersheds of Long Island, and at the Field Museum in Chicago he used GIS to determine and advocate for ecologically important lands in Peru. He previously worked at Stony Brook University as a research technician where he executed various cruises and experiments focused on ocean acidification and the carbonate chemistry system. For one of the larger field experiments, he designed, built, and tested a new Free Ocean CO2 Enrichment system (FOCE) to be deployed in the field.

Karen Backe

M.S. in Marine Sciences, started Fall 2015

I am studying how climate change will impact Pacific harbor seal habitat. I earned my bachelor's degree at the University of Maryland, and worked on projects in Australia, Southern California, Texas, and Trinidad and Tobago before coming to SFSU. Currently, I can often be found on a boat in a salt marsh collecting field data for my job with USGS, or in the Hines lab at RTC building models of seal habitat and bar-built estuaries for my thesis.

Jeff Blumenthal

M.A. in Geography

My research will evaluate Living Shorelines project potential in the San Francisco Estuary using spatial analysis to compare environmental conditions in the context of local resource management and planning.

Samantha Cope

M.S. in Marine Science, started Fall 2016

Thesis: Vessel traffic distribution in San Francisco Bay Previous school: B.S. in Environmental Science and Policy from University of South Florida St. Petersburg Research interests: biogeography, marine mammals, GIS, conservation Hobbies: hiking, camping, traveling

Max Czapanskiy

M.S. in Geographic Information Sciences, started Fall 2016

Thesis title: Using Wind to Predict Seabird Distributions at Sea BS: Computer Science, Columbia University, 2014 Research interests: Seabirds and algorithms. Marine ecology is incredibly complex and covers enormous spatial scales. I'm interested in novel ways to represent those biological and environmental processes in models. For my thesis, I'm investigating whether movement ecology techniques (such as behavioral classification and energy landscapes) can improve species distribution models.

Max's Blog

Kaytlin Ingman

M.S. in Marine Sciences, started Fall 2016

My interests include marine mammal behavior and conservation as well as public outreach. Currently I am working with a long term cetacean observation dataset gathered from Southeast Farallon Island. I would like to determine possible reasons for changes in seasonal distributions of gray, blue, and humpback whales off the coast of Central California. To do this I will compare basin scale oceanographic patterns (like southern oscillation, north pacific gyre oscillation, and pacific decadal oscillation) and whale presence to see if there are any correlations. Hopefully this information will aid in the management of the local National Marine Sanctuaries and conservation of these species.

Abigail Mohan

M.S. in Marine Sciences, started Spring 2017

Hailing from Missouri, Abby Mohan never imagined her path would lead her to the sea. Since moving to San Francisco 12 years ago Abby started taking sailing lessons and has since spent more time on boats than on land. Abby has worked the past 11 seasons as a deckhand, sailing instructor and now Captain on San Francisco Bay. She has sailed the California coast from Mexico to San Francisco. Abby carries a 100 ton Masters License, is an active member of the Farallon Patrol, the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council and is on the regional sediment management working group. She has worked on charter boats, delivery boats, safety support boats and film production boats on the waters of SF Bay and GFNMS and looks forward to helping protect the marine environment she loves exploring both personally and professionally. She recently interned with the Bay Conservation and Development Commission Adapting to Rising Tides program completing a GIS analysis of shoreline vulnerability of San Francisco Bay. Her thesis is partnering with GFNMS looking at climate adaptation strategies from their climate smart plan in priority areas using GIS analysis. Abby began her career as a graduate student in Spring 2017 but first started hanging out at the lab while completing her geography bachelors at SFSU during Marine Coastal GIS in Fall 2015.

Jane Rudebusch

M.S. in Marine Sciences, started Fall 2016

I am interested in the conservation of endangered marine mammals, and specifically issues pertaining to the recovery of the southern sea otter (E. l. nereis) in California. Using a comparative approach, I hope to analyze the current environment of San Francisco Bay in the context of sea otter habitat-use and population dynamics to help facilitate the return of sea otters to their historic home. I received my Bachelors of Science from the University of Oregon in 2014, where I studied biology and zooarchaeology

Visiting Scientists and Post-Docs

Daniel Beaver, visiting scientist

Daniel is a visiting scholar at San Francisco State University’s Marine & Coastal Conservation and Spatial Planning Lab, the director of the Centre for Conservation Geography, and an adjunct research fellow at the Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Science at the University of Queensland. He has over 15 years of experience in the theory and practice of systematic conservation planning both on land and in the ocean. Daniel's current areas of research are Australia's oceans, Antarctica, the Australian outback and the Canadian boreal forests.

Dr. Marjolaine Caillat

University of St. Andrews, St Andrews, UK, Biology and Statistics, Ph.D. 2013

Dr. Caillat is a postdoctoral scholar working with Dr. Hines on a NOAA funded project entitled "Catching the Right Fish: A toolbox to reduce marine mammal bycatch in developing countries." For her PhD, she researched Bayesian frameworks. After her PhD, Dr. Caillat was a postdoc at St. Andrews to develop a Bayesian state-space model to predict and explain the demographic rates of a local seal population in Scotland. Research during her PhD and post-doc appointments involved combining statistical and modelling approaches to applied ecological problems.

Lab Members Past

Melissa Kent

M.A. in Geography & Environment (Resource Management and Environmental Planning), graduated Spring 2017

Title: Citizen Science's Role in Filling Data Gaps: Whale-watching Operators of Northern and Central California The objective of my research was to explore the abilities and desires of the whale-watching industry to collect more and/or new data on the cetaceans they see. This community is underrepresented in the literature, and this research shows the potential and usefulness of their partnership in achieving conservation and protection goals for cetaceans. Participatory GIS was used to document their spatial knowledge of the areas where they search for cetaceans. Currently: 2017 California Sea Grant State Fellow with Ocean Science Trust

Jennifer McGowan

M.A. in Geography (Resource Management and Environmental Planning, graduated in Fall 2012

I am a 3rd- year PhD candidate in the ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions at The University of Queensland, Australia. I am interested in developing interdisciplinary, collaborative and decision theoretic approaches to addressing conservation challenges. My research focuses on improving methods for applied spatial conservation planning and is supervised by Prof. Hugh Possingham, Dr. Maria Beger, and Dr. Carissa Klein. I am interested in the value of science to make robust decisions, improving the return of investment in expensive data collection methods and outcome focused planning. In January 2017, I began as a post-doc at Macquarie University in the School of Biological Sciences to work on a global prioritisation project in collaboration with WildArk. Beyond my research, I invest much of my free time into training and building capacity for NGOs and governments in the use of decision support tools, such as Marxan. I work with WWF, TNC, IUCN and local organisations on applied conservation projects all over the world, from the highly contested waters of the Adriatic Sea to the remote seascapes of Papua New Guinea. Jen's Master's project, in collaboration with Dr. Jaime Jahcnke of Point Blue Conservation Science, was published in PLOS One: Using seabird habitat modeling to inform marine spatial planning in central California’s National Marine Sanctuaries.

Jen's Word Press site

Matt Merrifield

M.A. in Geography - Resource Management and Environmental Planning, graduated in Fall 2008

Matt's thesis project used GIScience and statistics to define networks of estuaries and the west coast of the United States that shared similar impacts. He is currently the Chief Technology Officer at the Nature Conservancy. His thesis was published in PLOS One, please follow the link. PLOS One article

Laura Duffy

M.S. in Marine Biology (with Drs Jon Stern and Sarah Cohen), graduated in Fall 2015

BS Marine Biology, College of Charleston, 2009 MS Marine Biology, San Francisco State University, 2015 I finished my MS Thesis, “Patterns of Habitat Use by Harbor Porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) in central San Francisco Bay” in 2015 under the guidance of Drs. Ellen Hines, Jonathan Stern, and Sarah Cohen. My researched modeled porpoise presence in and around the Golden Gate according to tidal state, tidal velocity, and surface features associated with tidal fronts. I now work as a Wildlife Biologist for AECOM in Oakland, CA. Current projects include avian and marine mammal monitoring for Caltrans in the Bay, marine resource consulting for the USCG, and environmental compliance for the SFPUC Water System Improvement Program.

Cara Gallaher

M.S. in Marine Biology (with Drs Jon Stern and Sarah Cohen), graduated in Spring 2016

Cara's thesis was entitled: Estimating the sequestration and outflow of energy from San Francisco Bay by the returning marine predator, the harbor porpoise, Phocoena phocoena. Her paper is in revision for Marine Mammal Science, stay tuned!

Andrea Dransfield

M.A. in Geography-Resource Management and Environmental Planning, graduated in Fall 2012

Andrea Dransfield is a Biologist in the Marine Consulting Team at Dudek Environmental Consulting in Santa Barbara. She received a B.Sc. in Zoology and Environmental Science with a thesis on harbor porpoise habitat use in British Columbia. She received an MA in Geography: Resource Management and Environmental Planning at San Francisco State University, through the Marine & Coastal Conservation and Spatial Planning Center. Her thesis, in collaboration with Point Blue Conservation Science focused on humpback whale habitat modeling and ship strike risk within National Marine Sanctuaries in Central California. Andrea worked for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife doing stream habitat assessments, steeIhead trout surveys and rescues. She has also worked for the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary as a Resource Protection Specialist & Sea Grant State Fellow, where she focused on marine mammal protection, policy and management. Her interests are marine conservation with a focus on cetaceans. In her spare time, she enjoys horseback riding, stand up paddle boarding, hiking and scuba diving. Andrea's thesis was published in Endangered Species Management. Click here for the link

Kristal Ip

M.A. in Geography, graduated in Spring 2014

Kristal's thesis was entitled: A GIS soundscape of an urban environment. She currently works at the Exploratorium's Teacher Institute department, which provides professional development for science teachers of grades 6 to 12. My position is project coordinator. My main duties are related to communication and planning workshops, and I also manage projects like EDGE (Exhibit Designs for Girls' Engagement) and teacher STEM conferences. I've used GIS to create maps for my department, in support of efforts to expand our professional development work throughout the state of California (we want to reach all 58 counties!).

Rubaya Pervin

M.S. in Geographic Information Science, graduated in Spring 2016

Rubaya' thesis was entitled: Identifying changes in mangroves and shrimp farming in the eastern Gulf of Thailand using remote sensing.

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Anna Studwell

M.A. in Geography, graduated in Spring 2016

Anna's thesis, in collaboration with Point Blue Conservation Science, was entitled: Habitat use by non-central foraging seabirds in the Cordell Bank and Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuaries. Her paper was published in PLOS One, click here for the link. Anna is currently working at the Institute for GISciences at San Francisco State!

Sadie Waddington

M.A. in Geography, graduated in Spring 2008

Sadie's Thesis: Quantitative Study of Sediment Accumulation Due to Mangrove Removal at Turneffe Atoll, Belize The removal of mangroves along the coast of Turneffe Atoll is hypothesized to cause larger then usual quantities of sediment accumulation along the nearshore reef. My thesis examined movement and accumulation of sediment along the east coast of Turneffe Atoll, through two studies. The first study looked at the rate of erosion/accretion of sediment within disturbed/intacted mangroves on the edge of the atoll. The second study looked at sediment transportation to the fringing reef. Data were collected every ~3-months from January-November 2007 for both studies. General reef health was assessed via point count surveys during two of the sampling periods, July and November 2017. Sadie currently runs One Big Fish Events, an event planning company focused on sustainability. Her interests: Hiking, biking, running after our two boys (ages 3 and 5.5 years)!

Dorothy Dick

M.A. in Geography, graduated in Spring 2008

Dori's thesis was entitled: Relative abundance and fine scale habitat use of bottlenose dolphins at Turneffe Atoll, Belize. Her thesis was published in Marine Mammal Science. Click here for the link She completed her PhD under Dr. Dawn Wright at Oregon State University, and is currently completing her term as a NOAA Knauss Policy Fellow in Washington D.C.

Caitlin Jensen

M.s. in Geographic Information Science, graduated in Spring 2014

Caitlin's thesis was entitled: Spatial and temporal variability in shipping traffic entering and exiting San Francisco Bay. She was a NOAA Nancy Foster Scholar and is currently doing GIS for AECOM environmental engineering. Her thesis was published in Coastal Management. Click here for the link

Laurel Ballenti

M.S. in Geographic Information Science, graduated Fall 2016

Laurel’s work in the Hines lab focused on using hyperspectral imagery and lidar to map and inventory species and heights of individual trees within Muir Woods National Monument and Kent Creek Canyon. Her thesis, ‘Tree species classification using hyperspectral imagery: A comparison of two classifiers‘, was published in Remote Sensing in January 2016. Currently she works at the US Geological Survey in the Western Geographic Science Center, where she has been applying her background in remote sensing to develop methods for improving aboveground biomass estimates for Blue Carbon accounting, creating historical wetland classifications for change analysis, and mapping hazards for Bay Area earthquake scenarios. Ballenti et al 2016.pdf Currently: USGS Western Geography Science Center, Menlo Park

Timothe Vincent

M.S. in Geographic Information Science, graduated in Fall 2013

Timothe's thesis was entitled: Finless porpoises in Hong Kong Harbor: Population distribution and environmental planning. He currently does GIS for the Anthropocene Foundation.

Nathan Greig

M.S. in Geographic Information Science, graduated in Spring 2016

Nathan's thesis was entitled: Composition and analysis of vessel speeds off the coast of Washington State. He is currently doing GIS for the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District.

Stefanie Egan

M.A. in Geography, graduated in Spring 2009

Stefanie's thesis was entitled: Using a GIS for planning a Biosphere Reserve in Turneffe Atoll, Belize

Cyndy Comerford

M.A. in Geography, graduated in Spring 2005

Cyndy's thesis was on GIS, environmental justice and public health in San Francisco. She is currently the Manager of Planning, Policy and Analysis for the City and County of San Francisco.

Other students include:
Suzanne Poloner Stone (Contextual conservation: Antillean Manatees of Turneffe Atoll, Belize, completed in Fall 2004). Her paper was published in the Caribbean Journal of Science, Click here for the link
Jim Pettigrew (Invasive green crabs in Tomales Bay, completed in Spring 2005).
Angela Yu (A Comparison of Habitat Conservation Planning for Butterflies in San Bruno Mountain and the Wisconsin Karner Blue Butterfly (completed in Spring 2008, currently TRC Environmental Services)
Kota Funayama (How sea level rise will change habitat for elephant seals in Point Reyes National Seashore, completed in Fall 2010). His paper was published in Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Systems. Click here for the link.
Eli Waggoner, Using LiDAR to model carbon sequestration in urban forests, with Leo Blesius (completed in Spring of 2015).

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