Meet the team

Anne R. Kapuscinski (left) is a Professor in the Environmental Studies Department and Director of the Coastal Science and Policy Program. She is an interdisciplinary scholar committed to finding scientifically and socially robust solutions to a major challenge: how to perpetuate healthy aquatic ecosystems while sustaining resource uses that support human well-being. Her past research examined impacts of dams, fish hatcheries, aquaculture and genetic engineering on fish conservation. Her current research aims to shift aquaculture, the world’s fastest growing food sector, towards sustainability. Her team uses marine microalgae to achieve fish-free feeds, thus decouple aquaculture from ocean-caught forage fish, reduce nutrient and carbon emissions and improve food security. She also pursues ecological aquaculture strategies to close water and nutrient loops and conserve biodiversity. Anne participates actively in the science-policy interface, presently as Chair of the Board of Directors of the Union of Concerned Scientists and member of the Ocean Protection Council Science Advisory Team, and has been a scientific advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture (under three administrations), U.S. Food and Drug Administration, World Health Organization and Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN, Global Environment Facility, European Union Food Safety Agency, state of Minnesota, and on four U.S. National Academy of Science committees. She is Editor-in-Chief of the Sustainability Transitions domain of the open-access journal, Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene. Her awards include a 2019 Ocean Award in Innovation, Pew Fellow in Marine Conservation, and Distinguished Service Award from the Society for Conservation Biology, among others. As Director of the Coastal Science and Policy Program, Anne guides and builds a diverse, inclusive community of students, faculty and partners to pursue scalable solutions to pressing coastal and ocean challenges. – Click here to view Dr. Kapuscinski’s short CV and watch Anne describe her research here.

Courses: CSP 244 Adaptation and Planning

AREAS OF EXPERTISE Sustainable aquaculture and nutrition / Improve sustainability of aquaculture feeds / Formulation of low-pollution feeds / Fish and shellfish nutritional requirements / Digestibility of feed ingredients / Dietary nutrient interaction in fish and effects on physiology and gene expression / Strategies to prevent off-flavors in fish

Pallab Sarker (right) is a Research Associate Professor in the Environmental Studies Department at UCSC. His research interests involve shifting aquaculture, the world’s fastest growing food sector, to sustainability by redesigning the composition of aqua-feeds because they drive life-cycle environmental effects of aquaculture, both inputs and emissions (pollution). Shifting aquafeeds to more sustainable ingredients is a key part of sustainable aquaculture. He is interested in developing ecological aquaculture principles and practices. The main focus of his current research is to develop a fish-free and crop-free aquaculture diet by combining different species of micro- and macro-algae and developing targeted biochemical manipulations to maximize the diet’s nutrient quality, economic viability, and benefits for environmental conservation. Aquaculture is the fastest-growing food industry in the world, now producing more edible biomass than wild seafood for humans, making it a fundamental part of future food production. Although aquaculture contributes significantly to the animal protein consumption on a global scale, it raises important questions in the realm of sustainability science. Aquaculture is increasingly dependent on terrestrial crops (soy, corn) and wild fish (fishmeal and fish oil extracted from small ocean fish or “forage fish,” such as anchovy) for feeds—deeply unsustainable—and damaging to aquatic ecosystems. Aquafeeds now use over 70% of the world’s fishmeal and fish oil from unsustainably-sourced forage fish. Large-scale diversion and overfishing pose several environmentally unsustainable consequences. Aquafeeds also contain large amounts of soy and corn ingredients obtained from industrial farms that cause significant environmental damage, especially eutrophication of rivers, lakes and coastal waters; have deficiencies in key essential amino acids; and, for their oils, lack health-promoting long-chain Omega-3s EPA and DHA. Moreover, fish cannot fully digest phosphorus content of fishmeal, soy, and corn, and this elevates nutrient pollution in aquaculture effluents.  Dr. Sarker is on the cutting edge of research on the issue as one of very few scientists in his field dedicated to innovating a sustainable aquafeed that address both the problems of sourcing and waste streams. His ongoing projects examine the in vivo and in vitro digestibility of different marine algae/co-products and their incorporation in tilapia and salmonids feed formulae to eliminate the use of industrial crops and forage fish in aquafeed to foster environmentally sustainable, economically viable and socially responsible aquaculture while assuring human health benefits of fish raised on these diets. Marine algae are excellent sources of essential amino acids, minerals, vitamins, and omega-3 fatty acids that meet the requirements of fish. He is the member of the editorial board of the Journal of Aquaculture & Marine Biology and EC Nutrition and is a member of the manuscript review committee for 7 peer-reviewed journals. – Click here to view Dr. Sarker’s short CV.

Courses: ENVS 135 Sustainable Aquaculture

Large succulent at the UCSC arboretum – with Devin for scale and approval.

Devin Fitzgerald (left) is an Assistant Specialist in the Environmental Studies Department who manages the team’s lab on science hill, and the (soon) aquaculture research greenhouse lab located at the CASFS farm. He had worked with Dr’s. Kapuscinski and Sarker at Dartmouth college for several years before transplanting to UCSC with the team. Devin has worked at a commercial recirculating aquaculture facility in Massachusetts and as field tech for Trout Unlimited in the Deerfield river watershed (MA/VT). Not only does he have hands on experience in the industry and in the field, he has cultivated considerable expertise in the chemistry lab. At Dartmouth college he, with the help of top Japanese enzyme scientist Dr. Tsuki Takayuki, developed an in-vitro test to determine protein digestibility for novel feed ingredients. Devin is a methods driven researcher focused on aquaculture feed composition and efficacy, water use efficiency for aquaculture systems, Integrated Agriculture-Aquaculture (IAA), and analytical procedures to help interpret experimental results. (To view Devin’s short CV – click here).

Click on her profile picture to view Ashley’s personal website.

Ashley Bae (right) is an Environmental Studies PhD student with a Designated Emphasis in Coastal Science & Policy (CSP). Her research with advisor Prof. Anne Kapuscinski lies in the practical solutions for a healthier ocean and fish-friendly aquaculture. Relevant (buzz) words that motivate her work include sustainable food systems, integrated agriculture-aquaculture, circular economy, and consumption trends. Prior to coming to UC Santa Cruz, Ashley worked on Adaptation & Resilience strategies (World Bank – Climate Change Group), product-level supply chain emissions analysis (CoClear, CDP), and planning for the Global Climate Action Summit (Gov. Jerry Brown’s office). Ashley holds an M.A. in Climate & Society from Columbia University and a B.S. in Biology from the University of St. Andrews, Scotland.

 

Safari Fang (left) is an interdisciplinary scientist and international ocean conservationist. As a current Coastal Science and Policy Fellow at UC Santa Cruz, she is leading a project in partnership with the Packard Foundation on shifting China’s marine aquaculture toward sustainability. She is particularly interested in securing sustainable food systems and using science-based analyses to inform policy at local to global scales. Prior to the Coastal Science and Policy program, Safari worked at the Monterey Bay Aquarium and International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Connor is seen above, proudly sporting his favorite animal on his shirt.

Connor Greenwood (right) is a recent graduate of the Environmental Studies and Ecology and Evolutionary Biology departments of UCSC. He works on the team as a research assistant and manager of social media. Connor first fell in love with aquaculture when he started a saltwater reef tank with ornamental fish and corals in high school. This lead him to work a variety of jobs in the coral trade, such as online coral vendor, photographer, wholesale buyer, and manager of a saltwater fish and coral store. During his studies at UCSC, which focused primarily on increasing the sustainability of our food systems from both an ecological and social perspective, he realized the potential for aquaculture to feed the growing population in a sustainable way. For his senior exit, he researched IAA, or aquaculture that has been integrated into existing agriculture, as well as IAA’s ability to increase food security in rural Sub-Saharan Africa. Connor hopes to increase the prevalence of zero input seafood farming in California, specifically for organisms such as mussels and kelp, due to their incredibly small environmental footprints and high nutritional values when compared to other widely available food sources.

Stephanie Webb (left) is an Environmental Studies PhD candidate. Her research focuses on multiple dimensions of fisheries and food system sustainability. Her primary areas of focus are 1) political economy of nature, 2) social networks and power in supply chains, and 3) food science. Her current research examines relationships and conflict between fisheries governance and seafood system sustainability in the Pacific herring fishery. She questions how interplays between fisheries management, seafood markets and technology limit or improve equity, quality and sustainability in seafood systems. Stephanie’s research is inspired by ten years of applied research in coastal communities where she used community organizing and business planning skills to design innovative, multifaceted solutions for small-scale fisheries and seafood systems. She also holds a Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning from Eastern Washington and a B.S. in Business Administration from Missouri Western University, which frame her expertise and interest in environmental entrepreneurship. She has received awards from Santa Cruz’s IDEAs Hub, National Science Foundation Innovation Corps, Berkley’s Big Ideas Competition and the Center of Innovation and Entrepreneurial Development for developing technology aimed at improving livelihoods of small-scale fishers and national seafood security.