Can you tell us about your project and what you hope to accomplish?
This project is a unique opportunity to understand how changing ocean conditions, fishing effort, and prey quality affect the abundance of commercially exploited species in the California Current marine ecosystem. With this study I also hope to further develop an existing modeling framework (ECOTRAN) in ways that can incorporate changing ocean conditions, and be applied to other systems or species. Last but not least, I am excited about the opportunity to engage with colleagues, students, post-docs, who work on similar issues in the east and west coast, and to learn from their projects.
What drew you to your current field of study?
I was born and raised on a small island in south Italy, Ischia, where I lived in proximity to the ocean and to fishermen. Connecting with artisanal fishermen, I experienced first hand the variability of commercial catches, and I have been motivated to understand what drives it.
What is a rewarding aspect of the work you do?
Working with students.
What ways do you think we could engage/interest more people in this field or in science in general?
Stories and narratives like this, about not only the science, but also the people behind it, make the process of doing science more 'human', and can hopefully attract more people to it. Outreaching to schools, and talking about the wonderful things of the ocean, such as the currents, the fish, the ice, the eggs, the larvae, the microbes, not only the challenges that oceans face, is also a way to attract more people to it.
What advice would you give to someone interested in pursuing a similar field of study?
Go for it! It is a lot of fun, and is worth it.
What do you like to do outside of your research interests?
Spend time with my family, travel, cook, eat, swim.