Our Mission

The Farallon Institute for Advanced Ecosystem Research is a nonprofit scientific organization dedicated to the understanding and preservation of healthy marine ecosystems.

Its research is designed to provide the scientific basis for ecosystem based management practices and policy reforms consistent with a productive marine world.

The Farallon Institute emphasizes long-term, multi-species, multi-disciplinary research into the interdependent aspects of the marine environment, including the effects of natural and human based climate change, and the broad implications and influences of ocean currents, weather patterns, fishing practices and coastal development on marine food webs and ecosystem processes.

Farallon Institute Team. Back row (left to right): Sarah Ann Thompson, Bill Sydeman, Jeff Dorman, Julie Thayer. Front row (left to right): Marisol García-Reyes, Heather Robinson, and Ramona Zeno

Farallon Institute Team. Back row (left to right): Sarah Ann Thompson, Bill Sydeman, Jeff Dorman, Julie Thayer. Front row (left to right): Marisol García-Reyes, Heather Robinson, and Ramona Zeno

Jeffrey Dorman, Ph.D.
Executive Director

Jeffrey Dorman, Ph.D. - Executive Director

Jeff Dorman is the Executive Director of the Farallon Institute, overseeing day-to-day operations of the organization including: human resources, budgeting, fundraising, outreach, and communications. Jeff works closely with the board of directors and senior scientists to provide support for current projects as well as develop new directions of research and outreach for the Farallon Institute. Jeff's research interests center around biological productivity of the California Current and how climate changes might impact future productivity. His research experience includes field sampling of zooplankton off northern California as part of the CoOP:WEST program and physical and biological modeling of the California Current ecosystem while working with the Farallon Institute. Jeff has extensive teaching experience with Sea Education Association, San Francisco State University, and UC Berkeley. He earned an M.A. from San Francisco State University and a Ph.D. from UC Berkeley. Read more...

email: jdorman at faralloninstitute.org

William Sydeman, Ph.D.
President & Senior Scientist

William Sydeman, Ph.D. - President and Senior Scientist

Bill's career exceeds three decades of ecological research. Starting as an intern marine ornithologist working on the Farallon Islands in 1981, Bill spent 15 years as the Director of Marine Ecology at PRBO Conservation Science before establishing the Farallon Institute. Bill has conducted a number of "plankton to predator" studies in the California Current large marine ecosystem, and has written about climate effects on seabirds, marine mammals and fish. In recent papers, Bill described dramatic and abrupt ecosystem changes in response to climate variability. Bill serves on many scientific panels, notably as the Chair of the Advisory Panel for Marine Birds and Mammals for the North Pacific Marine Science Organization and Scientific Advisory Committee for implementation of the State of California's Marine Life Protection Act. Bill has presented to state and federal policy-makers on the effects of climate change on marine ecosystems, and how to best design and use the nation's new ocean observing systems.

Zofia Burr, M.Sc.

Zofia Burr, M.Sc. - Scientist

Zoe specializes in seabird ecology in the context of oceanographic processes and food-web dynamics. She completed a B.Sc. in Marine Biology at the University of California at Santa Cruz and an interdisciplinary M.Sc. in Biological Oceanography at several collaborating Nordic institutions. Her work since has been a combination of field, lab, and academic positions in seabird and food-web ecology, primarily working within the California Current and northeastern Atlantic marine ecosystems. Prior to joining the Farallon Institute, phenology was at the core of her research at the University Centre in Svalbard, where she uncovered intra- and inter-species variability in seabird breeding timing as a platform to identify the physical and biological drivers of seabird reproductive phenology in Norway. Zoe has joined the Farallon Institute to conduct research on the breeding ecology and disturbance of seabirds on Alcatraz Island and to study marine predator diet.

email: zburr at faralloninstitute.org

Simon Dedman, Ph.D.
Post-Doctoral Researcher

Simon Dedman, Ph.D. - Post-doctoral Researcher

Simon is working to untangle the complex combination of elements driving the highly dynamic population of Northern anchovy along the California coastline, in order to better manage this politically sensitive stock in the future. His doctoral work was to build a spatial machine learning software package and use it to develop decision support tools and management proposals for a highly exploited ray assemblage in the Irish Sea. Simon earned a Ph.D from Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology in western Ireland, a MRes degree from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, co-completed in Bimini, Bahamas, and a B.Sc. degree from the University of Southampton, England. Between degrees Simon was a fisheries researcher for the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership, the UK’s fishing quota manager, and ran funding programs for the department of health. Having recently moved to California from Ireland and the UK, he is enthusiastically attempting to convert the office to drinking tea, and pronouncing various words differently.

email: sdedman at faralloninstitute.org

Marisol García-Reyes, Ph.D.

Marisol García-Reyes, Ph.D. - Scientist

Marisol has a background in physics and atmospheric science, but she's an oceanographer at heart. She has studied coastal upwelling for over 10 years, focusing on its variability, how it relates to climate, and how it impacts its marine ecosystem. Her current research includes a study of the variability in zooplankton community structure with changes in oceanographic conditions and subregions in the subarctic north Pacific, and the development and analysis of indicators of ocean and climate variability in California (see the MOCI project). Read more and access Marisol's CV...

email: marisolgr at faralloninstitute.org

Brian Hoover, Ph.D.
Post-doctoral Researcher

Brian Hoover, Ph.D. - Post-doctoral Researcher

Brian brings an academic background in behavior, genetics, and sensory biology to the Farallon Institute, and looks to apply these perspectives towards existing models of predator/prey distributions in the California current system. He plies his trade at sea and in the office, participating as a seabird observer on oceanographic cruises and analyzing acoustically enumerated estimates of prey availability from these cruises. Brian has a decade of experience working on seabirds, including a M.Sc. from Moss Landing Marine Labs examining the habitat preferences of pelagic seabirds in the Bering Sea. He received his Ph.D. in Ecology from UC Davis, studying the interactions between sensory physiology, genetic quality, and mate choice decisions in seabirds.

email: bhoover at faralloninstitute.org

Emily Klein, Ph.D.
Post-doctoral Researcher

Emily Klein, Ph.D. - Post-doctoral Researcher

Emily’s interests focus on understanding long-term change in marine ecosystem dynamics and structure, and applying diverse and innovative modeling approaches for contemporary management challenges. Her graduate research used time series analysis and nonlinear modeling approaches as well as first-hand accounts from fishermen and marine managers in the late 1800s and early 1900s to understand change and resilience over time in the Bay of Fundy. With collaborators, she used agent-based models to better understand fishermen behavior and how their decisions are impacted by ecosystem conditions, marine management, and existing social ties. Emily holds a B.Sc. from UC San Diego and an M.Sc. and Ph.D. from the University of New Hampshire, and currently serves as co-chair for the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) Working Group on the History of Fish and Fisheries.

Marcel Losekoot, M.Sc.

Marcel Losekoot, M.Sc. - Computer Programmer/Analyst

Marcel is a research and development engineer, computer programmer and analyst. Originally hailing from Europe, Marcel has a Master of Engineering degree from the University of Surrey in England (1991) and a Master of Science from Davis (2007). Marcel comes to us from Collecte Localisation Satellite (CLS), a subsidiary of the French Space Agency, which offers satellite-based products based on environmental (atmospheric and ocean) observations. Marcel works part-time for the FI and part-time for UC Davis Bodega Marine Lab where he operates their network of high-frequency radar (CODAR) stations used to monitor ocean currents in Northern California. Marcel’s interests and work with the FI involve production of physical and biological data products and analysis of hydro-acoustic and spatial oceanographic data.

Heather Robinson, M.Sc.

Heather Robinson, M.Sc. - Scientist

Originally from Massachusetts, Heather moved to California in 2002 to start her career in marine science at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories. While there, her studies focused on ichthyology and the diets of several skate species common to the northeastern Pacific Ocean. After earning her Master of Science degree, Heather moved to Zambia where she completed a 2-year term of service in the Peace Corps teaching villagers how to farm tilapia. Heather returned to California in 2010 where she began to focus on seabird ecology in the San Francisco Bay area while working for the USGS. Heather joined the Farallon Institute team to work on breeding ecology and disturbance of Alcatraz Island seabirds. She also brings her animal dietary expertise to the team participating in a study of California sea lion feeding ecology.

Maryanne Romanowski, M.Sc.
Financial Administrator

Maryanne Romanowski, M.Sc. - Financial Administrator

Maryanne became a member of the Farallon Institute team in June 2016. Her background includes a B.S. in Accounting, M.S. in Business Information Systems, and 25 years of accounting experience in a variety of organizations including public accounting, consulting, internet startups, and the wine industry. Her ten years at Care2.com introduced her to the greater nonprofit community and the causes they advocate, motivating her to guide her career in that direction. Working at Farallon Institute has provided Maryanne the opportunity to learn more about climate change and other issues affecting the marine environment, inspiring a renewed interest in understanding and conserving the natural world. In her free time, Maryanne can be found enjoying the hiking trails in regional and state parks.

Amber Szoboszlai, M.Sc. Scientist

Amber Szoboszlai, M.Sc. - Scientist

Amber specializes in developing database management tools to compile long-term historical data sets for large marine ecosystems. At the Farallon Institute she works on food web characterization and analysis, bio-energetic modeling, database development, and building tools to answer complex ecological questions. Her training in marine science and ecology included research on how environmental stress alters species interactions, and the role of species diversity in ecosystem function in California's productive and dynamic marine environment.

Julie Thayer, Ph.D.

Julie Thayer, Ph.D. - Scientist

Julie has worked in the California Current marine ecosystem for the past 18 years. She did undergraduate work in marine biology at the University of California at Santa Cruz and Long Marine Lab, and obtained a Ph.D. in Marine Ecology from the University of California at Davis. Julie has conducted research on a variety of top marine predators and their prey in relation to ocean climate. She organized a group of researchers around the North Pacific Rim (Japan, Canada, U.S.) for a comparative study of forage fishes eaten by the seabird rhinoceros auklet, focusing on spatio-temporal synchronicity in connection with local to basin-scale marine variability. Julie also led a Collaborative Fisheries Research project in which scientific data on the diet of salmon is collected in partnership with local recreational and commercial fishers, providing data to help understand the recent salmon population crash. She is currently focusing on forage fish management strategies and incorporation of predator needs.

Sarah Ann Thompson, M.Sc. Scientist

Sarah Ann Thompson, M.Sc. - Scientist

Sarah Ann participates in studies of climate effects on top predators, climate variability in the California Current, and predator-prey relationships in the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska. She also manages the Farallon Institute’s Integrated Marine Ecological Database (IMED) with physical and biological data sets for the California Current. Read more...

email: sathompson at faralloninstitute.org

Lucy and Charlie
Office Assistants

Lucy and Charlie - Office Assistants

The youngest of our office assistants, Lucy and Charlie embrace their youth and pension for learning by enthusiastically participating in every meeting that happens in the office. They love desk work and events that take place in the conference room, where they find central places to sit in the middle of it all, quite literally. Since they shadow and assist Farallon Institute's executive director, they're involved in all important decisions that are made for the company.

Office Assistant

Keshi - Office Assistant

Keshi is an avid birder with a specialty in seabirds. She studies their behavior, migration patterns and resilience to stalking and staring. However, she also extends this research to other canines. Keshi’s office duties include enthusiastically greeting people, teaching Spanish to the office staff, and providing toys when a break from research is needed. As a dedicated working dog, Keshi is ready to go to work very early in morning, every single day.

Office Assistant

Julio - Office Assistant

Julio quickly adjusted to the demanding work schedule at the Farallon Institute. Julio was rescued from the streets and has easily shifted his many street-tested skills to office life, where opportunities abound for quiet, fast workers. He specializes in independent analysis of research tasks. Where other office assistants might "stay" or "come", Julio has a different, perhaps more nuanced, interpretations of these common tasks. He is an enthusiastic explorer and friendly companion to the other office assistants and visitors.

Farallon Institute Symposium 2012. Standing (left to right): Rob Suryan, Zack Powell, Adele Paquin, Jason Hassrick, Alec MacCall, Nate Mantua, Marisol García-Reyes, John Field, Julie Thayer, Anna Weinstein, John Piatt, Andy Thomas, Dawn Breese, Larry Campbell, Sarah Ann Thompson, Jeff Dorman, Marcel Losekoot, Jarrod Santora. Kneeling (left to right): Kyra Mills, Brian Wells, Steven Bograd, John Largier, Bill Sydeman

Farallon Institute Symposium 2012. Standing (left to right): Rob Suryan, Zack Powell, Adele Paquin, Jason Hassrick, Alec MacCall, Nate Mantua, Marisol García-Reyes, John Field, Julie Thayer, Anna Weinstein, John Piatt, Andy Thomas, Dawn Breese, Larry Campbell, Sarah Ann Thompson, Jeff Dorman, Marcel Losekoot, Jarrod Santora. Kneeling (left to right): Kyra Mills, Brian Wells, Steven Bograd, John Largier, Bill Sydeman

Sonia D. Batten, Ph.D.

Sonia is the coordinator of the North Pacific Continuous Plankton Recorder (CPR) Survey for the Sir Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science (SAHFOS).


Bryan Black, Ph.D.

Bryan is an Assistant Professor at Austin Marine Science Institute (University of Texas) in Port Aransas, TX.  Bryan is expert in using growth chronologies of trees, bivalves, and rockfish in climate variability studies.


Steven Bograd, Ph.D.

Steven is an oceanographer in the Environmental Research Division of NOAA’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center.  His diverse research interests include climate variability in eastern boundary current systems.


Peter Davison, Ph.D.

Pete is a biological oceanographer and acoustician working at Scripps Institution of Oceanography as a National Research Council Research Assistant.  Pete studies marine fish ecology in the California Current System, with a focus on mesopelagic fishes.


Chelle Gentemann, Ph.D.

Chelle is a physical oceanographer who specializes in upper ocean dynamics, air-sea interactions, and passive microwave remote sensing.  Chelle works for Earth and Space Research in Seattle, WA, but often occupies a desk in the FI office.


Jason Hassrick, Ph.D.

Jason, a former FI researcher, is an aquatic ecologist with ICF International in San Rafael, CA.


Grant Humphries, Ph.D.

Grant, a seabird ecologist and former FI post-doctoral researcher, is currently a post-doctoral associate at Stony Brook University.  His current work is on website development for data and model access.


Mike Litzow, Ph.D.

Mike spent several years as an FI researcher abroad, but now has more permanently set anchor in Kodiak with a position at the University of Alaska.  He specializes in links between climate change and ecosystem status, with a focus on commercially important groundfish and crustacean populations.



Alec is a member of the Farallon Institute Board of Directors and collaborator on recent FI research concerning anchovy.  He is a quantitative fisheries biologist from Seattle, Washington, and recently retired from a successful career with NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service.



Nathan Mantua, Ph.D.

Nate, a member of the FI Board of Directors, is the leader for the Landscape Ecology Team at NOAA’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center, and has expertise about decadal-scale climate variability and ecosystem regime shifts.


Kyra L. Mills, M.Sc.

Kyra is the Field Operations Manager for the Oiled Wildlife Care Network at UC Davis, and her expertise is in seabird ecology.


John Piatt, Ph.D.

John is a seabird ecologist for the USGS Alaska Science Center.  His recent studies have focused on relationships between the environment, forage fish, and seabirds in the Gulf of Alaska and Aleutian Islands.


Ryan Rykaczewski, Ph.D.

Ryan is an assistant professor for the University of South Carolina.  He is an oceanographer with current interests in large-scale, coupled, physical-biological processes.


Jarrod A. Santora, Ph.D.

Jarrod is a researcher for the Center for Stock Assessment Research (CSTAR) at the University of California Santa Cruz and studies comparative ecosystem oceanography.


Nandita Sarkar, Ph.D.

Nandita is a physical oceanographer who works for the Monterey Peninsula College.  She currently is the internship coordinator for the Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) Center.


Isaac Schroeder, Ph.D.

Isaac is a physical oceanographer in NOAA’s Environmental Research Division.  His work focuses on linking oceanographic processes to predator productivity.


Robert Suryan, Ph.D.

Rob is an associate professor at Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center.  As a senior researcher there, his work centers around marine ecosystem processes including food web dynamics and foraging ecology.


Ramona Zeno, M.Sc.

Ramona is a former FI researcher who now works for ICF International in San Rafael, CA.




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