May 13 2015

4:00 pm 158 Hershey Hall

Christina (Tina) Swanson
Natural Resources Defense Council

Fish Tales: Ontogeny of a Scientist Advocate


18th Annual Biology Research Symposium
Wednesday, May 13, 2015

4:00pm Research Symposium Lecture
Hershey Hall 158

Dr. Christina Swanson
Natural Resources Defense Council

Fish Tales: Ontogeny of a Scientist Advocate

I have always loved fish and, courtesy of my engineer father, I have an intense interest in understanding how things work. So, a few years after completing my BA, I entered the UCLA’s biological sciences graduate program to pursue my passion and study both. My field, ecological physiology, explored how animals work in the context of the environments in which they live. I chose milkfish (Chanos chanos), bioenergetics and salinity adaptation, and set off on a research odyssey that led me from LA to Hawaii, the Philippines and back again. But productive research, journal articles and conference presentations aside, what I learned from my graduate studies, as well as my subsequent post-doctoral work, extended well beyond my experimental results – and it is what nudged me to pursue a less traditional career path, scientist with an environmental organization. My work still starts with science, both our current body of knowledge and our process for acquiring new knowledge: it is a powerful tool that has (and should have) power and application beyond the classroom, lab or the field. But, fifteen years later, it is those other lessons I learned – from a Filipino fish farmer, from a delicate little fish that refused to swim properly, from government agency staff charged with developing science-based regulations, or from a federal judge struggling to connect science with the law – that best inform, connect and augment my work, my perspectives and my motivation. I’ll share some of these stories with you.

Christina (Tina) Swanson, Ph.D., is Director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s (NRDC) Science Center, where she works to expand the organization’s scientific capabilities and support its legal and policy work across a range of environmental, public health and sustainable management issues. Prior to joining NRDC in 2011, Dr. Swanson worked with The Bay Institute (Novato, CA), serving as the organization’s fisheries/senior scientist and, from 2008-2011, as Executive Director and Chief Scientist. She is an expert in fish biology, aquatic ecosystem protection and restoration, ecological indicators and water resource management. Much of her work has been in the San Francisco Bay-Delta, but she has also worked and conducted research on marine and estuarine fish in Hawaii and, as a Fulbright Scholar, in the Philippines. Dr. Swanson has authored or co-authored more than 20 peer-reviewed articles and numerous technical and policy memoranda and reports. Dr. Swanson received her B.A. from Cornell University, her doctorate from University of California, Los Angeles, and conducted post-doctoral research at University of California, Davis. She was President of the Western Division of the American Fisheries Society in 2012-2013 and of the California-Nevada Chapter in 2004-2005.











































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































this is idtest: