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This team develops scientific methods, communicates results to governments, marine managers, scientists and the public, manages current operations and directs future development of the Ocean Health Index project.  Ben Halpern and Steve Katona have been with the project since planning began in 2008.  The team gratefully acknowledges the individuals, foundations, organizations and corporations listed as Contributors and Sustaining Partners. This project would not exist without them.  

Johanna Polsenberg

Director

Johanna Polsenberg

Director

Johanna Polsenberg

  • Director, Ocean Health Index

    Conservation International

  • Email Johanna

Johanna joined the Ocean Health Index team as Director in October 2014, with more than 20 years experience working on environmental, energy science and policy in domestic and international non-governmental organizations, the private sector, the U.S. Congress and academia. 

Prior to the Index, Johanna worked independently to advance the sustainability of marine and coastal development activities through collaborations and partnerships with companies, industry associations and representatives from global ocean industries. 

She previously directed the Congo Basin Coast Marine Program witht the Wildlife Conservation Society in Libreville, Gabon, with projects in Gabon, Congo and Equatorial Guinea. There she organized an broad spectrum of partnerships to support the region’s growing commitment to sustainable development during a period of rapid economic expansion.  This included working directly with offshore oil and fishing industries to develop a network of marine protected areas across more than 20% of the region’s coastal area and to reform fisheries to increase ecological and economic benefits.

From 2004-2008, Johanna was the Senior Legislative Assistant for U.S. Member of Congress Tom Udall (New Mexico), where she led the Representative’s work on natural resources, energy, climate change, Native Americans, the Los Alamos National Laboratory, and agriculture. Johanna also worked independently with the Gulf Restoration Network to direct billions in funding to the Gulf of Mexico following the 2010 Deep Horizon oil spill and with both start-ups and established companies developing advanced energy technologies.

Johanna first came to D.C. as a NOAA Sea Grant Marine Policy Legislative Fellow, working in the U.S. Congressional office of Representative Sam Farr (California), advising on marine and environmental policy issues and managing major legislative efforts to promote sustainable marine fisheries and recover depleted fish stocks.  She also helped develop the bipartisan House Oceans Caucus into a respected, consistently objective source of information on ocean- and coastal-related federal issues.

Johanna holds an MBA from the University of Maryland, a Ph.D. from Stanford University, and a B.S. from the University of Vermont. She is passionate about traveling and simply being outdoors, especially with her two young sons. Her two favorite pieces of technology are her Kindle and, of course, the OHI Toolbox.
 

Steven Katona

Managing Director

Steven Katona

Managing Director

Steven Katona

  • Managing Director, Ocean Health Index

    Conservation International

  • Email Steven

Steve began work on ocean health in 2008, leading collaborative efforts of Conservation International (CI), the New England Aquarium, National Geographic and Sea Around Us, then joining those efforts with the University of California’s (Santa Barbara) National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) and 
more than 65 scientists and ocean experts to develop the Ocean Health Index.
 
As managing Director, Steve helps integrate work of the scientific team at NCEAS with that of the CI communications and development team, including Web site content, reports, conference presentations and assistance with regional assessments (OHI+) and other outreach. Steve holds a Ph.D. in Biology from Harvard University and was a Fulbright Scholar at the Department of Oceanography, Southampton University, U.K.  His Ph.D. dissertation showed for the first time that sex pheromones play important roles in the reproductive behavior of planktonic marine copepods.  He was a founding faculty member in the Design School at California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, where he taught ecology and then at College of the Atlantic (COA) in Bar Harbor, Maine, where he taught courses in marine science and human ecology from 1972-1993 and where his laboratory pioneered collaborative studies on individual photo-identification of humpback and finback whales to study their distribution, abundance and population stock sub-structure. As COA president from 1993-2006, he helped strengthen the college’s international programs and commitment to sustainability.

Steve resides in Bar Harbor, Maine, with his artist wife Susan and their dog, Sam. When not working on the Ocean Health Index, Steve enjoys family, gardening and growing trees, natural history, hiking, cooking and crossword puzzles.

Erich Pacheco

Senior Manager

Erich Pacheco

Senior Manager

Erich Pacheco

  • Senior Manager, International Outreach, Ocean Health Index

    Conservation International

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Erich is the Senior Manager for the Ocean Health Index , where he is responsible for collaborating with multiple international stakeholders to support decision-making on the sustainable use of ocean and coastal resources. His primary focus is on creating and implementing strategies for the development of independent ocean health assessments.

An avid SCUBA diver, hiker, and traveller, Erich has dedicated his life to working on natural resource management, which has taken him from his native Venezuela to California, Guinea, Mali, Cuba, and Papua New Guinea.

Prior to joining the Ocean Health Index team, Erich worked as a consultant at the Tree Kangaroo Conservation Programme in Papua New Guinea on the nexus between ecosystems and the livelihoods of coastal communities. And, he worked on sustainable food security initiatives in West Africa with farmer cooperatives, first as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Guinea and later as a technical coordinator for a USAID program in Mali.

Erich earned a master’s degree in ocean and coastal resource management from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, and his bachelor’s degree from the University of California in natural resource economics and international relations. He is fluent in English, Spanish and French, and in his spare time volunteers with the Sierra club and plays softball and disc golf. He currently resides in Washington, DC.

Lindsay Mosher

Coordinator

Lindsay Mosher

Coordinator

Lindsay Mosher

  • Coordinator, Ocean Health Index

    Conservation International

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As Ocean Health Index coordinator, Lindsay assists on program management and outreach and leads communications efforts through press for international workshops, production of marketing materials and reports, engagement through social media and news updates and maintaining the Ocean Health Index website.

Prior to joining the Index team, Lindsay worked as Communications Assistant for Cornell Law, focusing on content strategy for web communications and events to improve admissions initiatives and as Alumni Relations Coordinator at Colgate University through outreach to distinguished alumni for various speaker series, regional events and institutional advancement opportunities.

Lindsay also interned at National Geographic Society focusing on public relations and communications for the magazine, exploration, books and mission divisions and at Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse, NY as a public relations intern.

Lindsay is currently working towards her Master’s at Miami University of Ohio studying Conservation Biology with a focus on community-based conservation. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Ithaca College in journalism and biological anthropology.

Lindsay enjoys spending time with friends and family, cooking and baking, hiking, exploring D.C. and traveling when possible. 

Ben Halpern

Lead Scientist

Ben Halpern

Lead Scientist

Ben Halpern

  • Lead Scientist, Ocean Health Index

    National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS)

  • Email Ben Halpern

As lead scientist of the Ocean Health Index, Ben has guided the development and annual implementation of the Index since the inception of the project.  He coordinates a research team based at NCEAS that continues to improve and refine elements of the Index, and works closely with the broader team to support other assessment efforts.

Ben received his Ph.D in 2003 from UC Santa Barbara and held a joint post-doctoral fellowship at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) and the Smith Fellowship Program sponsored by The Nature Conservancy. Ben’s research has addressed questions that span from local to global scales, including spatial population dynamics, trophic interactions in community ecology, and the interface between ecology and human dynamics, with an ultimate focus on informing and facilitating conservation and resource management efforts in marine systems.

In addition to his role as lead scientist for the Ocean Health Index, Ben is also a professor of Marine Biology and Conservation Science at the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management at UC Santa Barbara, Director of the Center for Marine Assessment and Planning (CMAP), Chair in Marine Conservation at Imperial College London as part of the Grand Challenges in Ecosystems and the Environment program and a Senior Fellow at the World Conservation Monitoring Centre, a part of the United Nations Environment Programme.

During spare time, Ben likes to surf, hike, and travel the world. With two young kids, though, spare time is a rare commodity.

JulIa Stewart Lowndes

Project Scientist

JulIa Stewart Lowndes

Project Scientist

JulIa Stewart Lowndes

  • Project Scientist, Ocean Health Index

    National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS)

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Julie is a marine biologist working to bridge science and resource management. In her role as project scientist for the Ocean Health Index, Julie facilitates the adaptation of the OHI+ assessment framework to smaller spatial scales relevant to marine policy. She leads trainings internationally and provides conceptual and technical support for independent OHI assessments.

Prior to joining the Index team, Julie completed her Ph.D dissertation at Stanford University’s Hopkins Marine Station, researching potential effects of the Humboldt squid in the California Current System on coastal fisheries in a changing climate.

Julie likes cooking, baking, sewing, knitting, hiking, swimming, gardening, and planning the next adventure.

Websites: 
http://benhalpernlab.org/people/
http://juliastewart.org/
https://scholar.google.co.uk/citations?user=qr9gICIAAAAJ&hl=en&oi=sra
Twitter: @juliesquid

Melanie frazier

Project Analyst

Melanie frazier

Project Analyst

Melanie frazier

  • Project Analyst, Ocean Health Index

    National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS)

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Melanie is a marine biologist and statistician who enjoys distilling complex data so it can better inform our understanding of systems and improve decision making. As an analyst for the Ocean Health Index, Melanie works to improve methods of assessing ocean health from both a conceptual and technological level. 

Melanie has a broad scientific background.  She worked at the US Environmental Protection Agency for 5 years devising better indicators of estuarine condition and developing effective monitoring protocols to prevent the spread of invasive species through ballast water discharges of ships.  She has a Ph.D from the University of Washington and a Master’s from Arizona State University where she studied how the environment effects the physiology, development, and evolution of organisms.

Melanie has been spending a lot of time exploring Flagstaff, AZ (where she just moved).  And, her favorite activity is hanging out with her family and friends!

Ning JIANG Mendes

Assistant Project Scientist

Ning JIANG Mendes

Assistant Project Scientist

Ning JIANG Mendes

  • Assistant Project Scientist, Ocean Health Index

    National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS)

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Ning completed her Master's degree in Environmental Science and Management from the Bren School, UC Santa Barbara. Prior to graduate school, she had three years of research experience in coastal water quality and drinking water purification. Ning is passionate about solving environmental issues in developing countries, especially her home country, China. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of Safe Water International, a non-profit organization that provides clean water to rural communities in developing countries. 

During her spare time, Ning enjoys cooking, beer brewing, yoga, dancing, and taking walks with her senior dog Xilias.