Project Team

Grant Ballard, OCOF Co-PI, Tool Development

Grant Ballard, Ph.D., is Chief Science Officer at Point Blue Conservation Science. He works in both ecology and bioinformatics and currently leads several projects investigating, communicating, and mitigating the effects of large-scale environmental change on ecosystems in western North America and the Southern Ocean. Originally from St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands, he has made the Bay Area his home since 1991.

Patrick Barnard, OCOF Co-PI, CoSMoS Model Development

Patrick Barnard, Ph.D., has been a coastal geologist with the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center in Santa Cruz since 2003. His research focuses on the dynamics and evolution of the high-energy beaches and estuaries of California, with an emphasis on storm- and climate-change related impacts. He is a member of the Bay Area Ecosystem Climate Change Consortium (BAECCC) and the West Coast Governor’s Agreement (WCGA) Climate Action Team, and serves on the Editorial Board for the Journal of Coastal Research. He received a BA from Williams College, MS from University of South Florida, and PhD from UC Riverside.

Nathan Elliott, OCOF GIS Support

Nathan Elliott is a Spatial Data Analyst with Point Blue Conservation Science. Nathan first came to Point Blue in 2010 as a bird bander at the Palomarin Field Station. He has previously done field work studying migrating raptors in the Marin Headlands, Common Terns nesting off the coast of Maine, and vegetation structure in Canada. Nathan is from the Twin Cities area in Minnesota and received a B.A. in Environmental Studies, Government and Physics from Bowdoin College in Maine.

Megan Elrod, OCOF Collaboration Support

Megan Elrod is a San Francisco Bay Program Biologist with Point Blue Conservation Science. Megan came to Point Blue in 2009 and spent a year as an intern at the Palomarin Field Station. She returned in 2011 as the Librarian and to conduct surveys on the state-endangered California Clapper Rail in the tidal marshes of San Francisco and San Pablo Bays. Besides work at Point Blue, Megan has spent quality time in the field conducting research on Phylloscopus warblers in Siberia, Purple-crowned Fairy-wrens in Western Australia, and Rusty Blackbirds in Alaska. Megan grew up in Louisville, Kentucky and received her B.S. in Biology from Milligan College in East Tennessee.

Li Erikson, CoSMoS Lead Modeler

Li Erikson, Ph.D., is a research oceanographer with the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center in Santa Cruz where she has been working since 2005, focused on hydrodynamics, nearshore processes, coastal flooding, and shoreline change. Dr. Erikson previously worked as an Environmental Engineering consultant and for international aid agencies assisting with coastal planning. She received a B.Sc. from Humboldt State University in Environmental Engineering, M.Sc. in Ocean Engineering from University of Rhode Island at Narragansett, and a PhD from Lund Institute of Technology in Sweden.

Michael Fitzgibbon, OCOF Tool Development

Michael Fitzgibbon is the Chief Technology Officer at Point Blue Conservation Science. Since joining Point Blue in late 2007, Michael has built the California Avian Data Center website, as well as a suite of applications for managing and accessing avian data at Point Blue and their partners. Prior to coming to Point Blue, Michael spent over 20 years in software development, working most recently at Intuit on the new Quicken online products. He also helped form Autodesk’s GIS Market Group, and worked at ESRI as a member of the Arc/Info development team and developing custom applications. Michael holds a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, and a Masters of Landscape Architecture from University of California at Berkeley.

Amy Foxgrover, OCOF/CoSMoS GIS Support

Amy Foxgrover began work as a geographer and GIS specialist at the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center in Santa Cruz in 2000. Her work focuses primarily on the creation of digital elevation models to evaluate bathymetric change resulting from both natural and anthropogenic activities, primarily within San Francisco Bay. Amy received a BA in Environmental Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara and a MS in Marine Science from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science.

Dennis Jongsomjit, OCOF GIS Support

Dennis Jongsomjit is the GIS Specialist with Point Blue Conservation Science. Dennis escaped from the jungles of Los Angeles to earn his Bachelor of Science degree in Wildlife Conservation Biology from the University of California, Davis. He came to Point Blue in 2001 as an intern nest searcher at the Palomarin field station. At Palomarin he worked on the creation of a guide to aging altricial nestlings to help better our understanding of factors affecting nest success. He is now a GIS specialist and biologist, focusing his efforts on landscape and climate change factors affecting bird distributions.

Kelley Higgason, OCOF Project Coordinator

Kelley Higgason is the Ocean Climate Initiative Coordinator for NOAA’s Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary (GFNMS). Her work with the sanctuary involves addressing climate change impacts to marine ecosystems through regional partnerships, outreach, and adaptive management, and currently also oversees the GFNMS Ocean Climate Indicators project. Kelley is a member of the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries Climate Subcommittee, the West Coast Sanctuaries Ocean Acidification Task Force, and the Bay Area Ecosystems Climate Change Consortium. She participated on the writing team for the NOAA West Coast Ocean Acidification Research Plan, and was joint editor of the collaborative report, Climate Change Impacts: Gulf of the Farallones and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries. She holds a BS in Marine Biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and an MS in Environmental Management from the University of San Francisco.

Sara Hutto, OCOF Project Support

Sara Hutto is the Ocean Climate Initiative Specialist for Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, where she is developing a climate adaptation plan and a climate education plan for Sanctuary management. Sara is also a team member of the California King Tides Initiative and the San Francisco Bay Sentinel Site Cooperative, two collaborative projects that aim to address climate change impacts to California resources through partnerships and outreach. In addition to her climate work, she also serves as the Sanctuary Advisory Council Coordinator for Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Sara holds a BA in Biology from Clemson University in South Carolina, and an MS in Marine Science from Moss Landing Marine Labs, where she studied the impact of climate change on California kelp species.

Sherie Michaile, OCOF Tool Development

Sherie Michaile, Ph.D., is Informatics Engineer with Point Blue Conservation Science. Sherie came to Point Blue in 2010 to embark on a new career in web development and programming after sojourns into the worlds of pharmaceutical development and chemistry education. Sherie holds a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and a doctorate in Chemistry.

Doug Moody, OCOF Data Management and Tool Development

Doug Moody is Informatics Engineer with Point Blue Conservation Science, Petaluma, CA

Andrea O’Neill, OCOF/CoSMoS Technical Support

Andrea O'Neill is an oceanographer and meteorologist with the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center in Santa Cruz. She came to the USGS in 2012 after doing over 10 years of oceanographic and meteorological support for the US Navy out of Japan, where much of her work focused on tailored forecasts and climatological products for resource planning. Andrea holds a BS in Oceanography from University of Washington in Seattle, and an MS in Meteorology and Physical Oceanography from Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA.

Marina Psaros, OCOF Collaboration Lead

Marina Psaros is the founder and Principal at Coravai LLC, a communications and technology consulting firm specializing in environmental issues. Psaros has over 15 years experience in product and business development; science and technology communications; market research; and program management. She holds a masters degree in environmental policy and planning from MIT and has worked in the public, private, and non-profit sectors in the U.S. and in Germany.

Peter Ruggiero, CoSMoS Coastal Hazards Consultant

Peter Ruggiero, Ph.D., is Associate Professor at Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR.

Sam Veloz, OCOF Tool Development

Sam Veloz, Ph.D., is a spatial ecologist with Point Blue Conservation Science. Sam is primarily working on projects that explore how species will respond to global change, including climate change and other human modifications to the environment. Recent work includes collaborating on the development of a decision support tool to analyze what effects sea level rise and climate change will have on tidal marsh species within the San Francisco Estuary. As a member of the Climate Change and Informatics group at Point Blue, Sam’s work is dedicated to the development of tools, frameworks and techniques for transforming the wealth of scientific data compiled by Point Blue and its partners into successful conservation outcomes and ecosystem knowledge.

Julian Wood, OCOF Collaboration

Julian Wood is the SF Bay Program Leader with Point Blue Conservation Science, where he has worked since 1996.

Updated: August 14, 2013