Welcome to the Pirate Lab.

Creative Coastal Conservation

My colleagues, students, and I explore and conserve our shared ecological heritage from our Pirate Lab here in the ESRM Program at CSU Channel Islands. While coastal southern California is both the epicenter of our work and home for most of my students, our reach is long and interests disparate. We have several fantastic long-term research, teaching, and management projects across the United States and globe.


Our crew is a diverse bunch of folks with wide-ranging life experiences, skill sets, and interests all unified by our desire foster a more verdant, sustainable and just planet. And we kind of have a thing for pirates.


We are not your typical research laboratory.

Diverse Partners

  • Undergrads

    At any given time we have anywhere between 8 and 30 undergrads working on externally funded, senior capstone or directed research, or nascent “what if” projects.  Our undergrads hail from more than half the departments across campus, although most are ESRM majors. They are frequently assumed to be graduate students (and that makes us proud).

  • Resource Managers

    We have strong collaborations with land and ocean managers across local, state, and federal agencies. Our collaborations frequently begin with the assessment phase of a disaster or stressor, continue with assisting with design of the potential management actions, and evolve into longer-term monitoring and assessment.

  • Other Universities

    We collaborate with friends and colleagues across several of our sister CSU universities (often facilitated by COAST) as well as institutions across the UC system, western U.S. and beyond. Some of our deepest and longest collaborations are with CSU Northridge, Oregon State University, and UCLA.


  • Industry

    Technology is often central to our work, either causing a problem, solving that problem, or allowing us to collect key data. When appropriate and practical, we partner with industry to either help evolve new technologies (especially robotics and sensors) or assure any detrimental aspects of a given sector can be minimized as quickly as possible.

  • NGOs & 1st Nations

    We collaborate with indigenous peoples and environmental advocacy groups frequently. We have most often partnered with Californian Chumash, Polynesian Māori, and Anatolian Kurdish peoples and with The Nature Conservancy, Woodlands Conservancy, and Bay Foundation non-profits.

  • Community Partners

    Our community partners are diverse, spanning the spectrum from local civic associations and congregations to homeowner’s associations and individual land owners. Sometimes these partnerships merely provide access to sites, but more often than not these are true partnerships wherein everyone takes away some new knowledge or insight.

Past Pirates Cogitate

We are always looking to add to our Pirate crew as we always seem to have 3 more things to do than we can seem to get to by our deadline. If you are the responsible, hard-working type willing to put the time in to learn some new skills and help our planet, we'd love to have you.


But lest you take my word for it, here are some unrehearsed reflections from previous Pirates.