Current Lab Members

Masters Students


Victoria Moreno

Victoria Moreno earned her Bachelors of Science in Environmental Studies, with a minor in Anthropology from the University of Richmond in 2019. During her time at the University of Richmond, Victoria has conducted research in Belize, Bocas del Toro Panama, and at the University of Maryland Horn Point Lab, where she grew in her understanding of how human dimensions intersected with marine ecosystems. Through internships with nonprofits such as The James River Association and Virginia Interfaith Power and Light, she was able to expand my knowledge on marine and coastal ecosystems to the local systems and policies within Richmond Virginia. 

Given her past interests, Victoria’s research continues to explore the intersectionality of marine impacts and human effects within the coastal communities. Specifically, Victoria’s current research is geared at understanding the how-to inform policy to support the adaptive capacity of coastal communities along the West Coast. Her current project aims to assess the factors that affect the adaptive capacity of wild-capture-reliant-crabbing communities along the coast of Oregon.

Victoria wishes to develop the skills in her MPP program to become a better scholar and researcher, so she can best prepare herself to pursue a career in marine conservation policy in the future.


Emily Griffith

Emily graduated in 2019 from Washington State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and a minor in Environmental Science. Through completing her undergraduate degree, Emily gained research experience in a variety of topics. Emily spent a few summers researching ecological succession on the pumice plains of Mt. St. Helens. Emily also studied landscape genetics and genomics of the invasive Cane Toad species of Australia. After graduating, Emily worked for one year at a plant pathology lab developing microbiology techniques as well as knowledge of wheat and grass pathology. From this eclectic research background, Emily discovered how environmental conditions can impact the severity of disease transmission of plants and animals as well as the cycle and depth of implications from ongoing environmental harm.

Emily’s goals are to expand and use her biology background to work on bridging the gap between science and policy. She wants to work on solving environmental justice issues, particularly those involving marine conservation and climate change adaptation. 

Emily’s work focuses on assessing the adaptive capacity of coastal communities with analyzing threats of ocean acidification. Emily also manages a subgroup of the Marine Social Science Network of interdisciplinary scholars interested in the adaptive capacity of Coastal Communities. Currently, Emily is working on a case study discussing ocean acidification and marine policy through the story of abalone decline off the coast of California. 


PhD Students


Ricardo de Ycaza

Ricardo de Ycaza earned a BSc in Marine Biology from the College of Charleston in 2007. He holds a Post-Graduate degree in High Management and a Master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA) from the Latin University of Panama. He has 11 years of work experience in non-profit, private and government sectors.  His work has included scientific research, conservation, sustainable development and natural resource management. Ricardo is currently a Ph.D. student at Oregon State University’s School of Public Policy, where he focuses on emerging issues in international Marine and Coastal Policy.

His research explores the consequences of global, regional, and national marine policies on small-scale fishing communities (SSFCs) under the emerging Blue Economy movement. Using a mixed methods approach, Ricardo compares Blue Economy narratives, crafted by international leaders in the public and private sector, to policy implementation at the local level. The research aims to better understand how SSFCs are impacted by the Blue Economy movement and explore if pervasive narratives match the daily reality of coastal fishing communities.


  • Spalding, A. K., & de Ycaza, R. (2020). Navigating Shifting Regimes of Ocean Governance: From UNCLOS to Sustainable Development Goal 14. Environment and Society, 11(1), 5-26.

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Eric Wade

Eric Wade is a current Ph.D. Candidate in Fisheries Science at Oregon State University. Dr. Spalding served on his Master’s Thesis Committee and now serves on his dissertation committee. His research is exploring the decision-making strategies of small-scale fishers in Jamaica, looking at the role of individual and group level motivations coupled with the influence of social and institutional enabling environments. Eric earned his Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and a Master's in Fisheries Science from Oregon State University.

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Lucas R. Pacheco

In 2013 Lucas obtained a master's degree in sustainable fisheries management, at the University of Alicante (Spain) and is currently doing doctoral studies at the University of Panama, at the Faculty of Humanities, under Dr. Ana Spalding’s supervision. Lucas also worked for Regional Fisheries Management Organizations, CAF-AMP, and UNDP. 

Lucas was able to develop important relationship with the different marine resource sectors. The ability to communicate with artisanal fishermen, industrial fishermen, managers of marine resources, industry leaders, scientists, members of environmental groups and the general public, has served to create bridges between sectors to produce solutions with the agreement of the different parties. In 2020, he was a technical advisor for AGAC as part of a technical strengthening initiative of the Sub-group of Sharks and Highly Migratory Species (GTEAM) of the Central American Fisheries and Aquaculture Agency (OSPESCA) in the field of tropical tuna fishing in the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific.

2021 bring new opportunities for Lucas as he begins his new role as Methods and Development Chief at USDA - APHIS at COPEG (



Undergraduate Students


Owen Thomas Welch

Owen Welch was Dr. Ana Spalding's mentee for his CIMRS fellowship and has helped him learn more about management implications and fishery policy. His project focuses on the dynamics of the market squid population off the Oregon coast and Owen worked with a NOAA research team to better understand some of the environmental factors for the population shifts and the management implications of a growing Oregon fishery. Historically, squid are incredibly abundant in California and are the State's most profitable fishery. This makes the squid fishery important economically and the population dynamics are important to further understand what the future might look like for market squid. Owen is graduated Spring 2020 in Environmental Sciences with an option in policy and economics and hopes to go on to graduate school for interdisciplinary marine studies.