Shauna Oh appointed director of California Sea Grant


Shauna Oh, a leader in California’s marine science community, has been named as the new director of California Sea Grant. She will join the program on February 20th. The appointment follows a nationwide search by Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego, which hosts the program.

California Sea Grant is one of 33 state programs funded by the National Sea Grant College Program, part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The program funds research and conducts applied research and outreach to benefit the economy, the environment, and the citizens of California.

Oh was previously the executive director of the Coastal and Marine Sciences Institute at the University of California Davis. Before moving to Davis in 2014, Oh worked with California Sea Grant from 1998 to 2014, most recently as associate director of the program.

“California Sea Grant plays an important role linking academia, federal, state, and local government agencies, non-governmental organizations, industries, and local communities to define and address challenges and opportunities for coastal communities and ecosystems in California,” says Oh. “I am excited to return to the program. I look forward to working with the dedicated staff to increase the research, training, and outreach opportunities for a larger segment of the marine science and management community in California."

Oh brings a wealth of experience in research, grant administration, and management, and a unique blend of expertise at the interface of science and policy. In her new position, she will draw on her extensive network in science, policy, and resource management agencies within California and nationwide. She earned a PhD in fisheries and wildlife from Michigan State University, after focusing her studies on the role of science in governance of tuna fisheries in the Eastern Pacific Ocean.

Oh replaces outgoing California Sea Grant Director Jim Eckman, who has led the program since 2010 and is now retiring.

“I am delighted that Shauna chose to apply for and was offered the position as the new director of California Sea Grant,” said Eckman.  “I have worked closely with Shauna for many years, especially those when she served as associate director, and I know she will do an excellent job in the position.  She has the background, knowledge, drive, and judgement to hit the ground running and take our program successfully into the future.”

"I am excited to welcome Dr. Shauna Oh back to UC San Diego and the California Sea Grant program as its new director. Her scientific expertise in Pacific ecosystems will be important for California Sea Grant and her experience in working with the many marine-related departments and agencies of California government will provide California Sea Grant with new opportunities to provide scientific information and expertise to the state," says Scripps Institution of Oceanography Director Margaret Leinen.

External Comments on the Selection of Dr. Shauna Oh:

“My Assembly District–the 78th Assembly District—is  fortunate to have UC San Diego and California Sea Grant among the outstanding research institutions located within its boundaries. It’s my pleasure to welcome Shauna Oh as California Sea Grant’s newest director. I look forward to the opportunities ahead to work with her to ensure our beaches and bays are preserved and the positive impact Sea Grant will undoubtedly have on our environment, economy, and coastline.” – California State Assemblymember Todd Gloria

I am thrilled to continue to partner with Shauna Oh in her new position as Director of California Sea Grant.  During Shauna’s time at the Coastal and Marine Sciences Institute, she has always been approachable, thoughtful, and creative.  Above all, she is incredibly knowledgeable about the field of marine science and is deeply invested in the people and institutions who work to advance it. I’m excited to see her bring these skills to her leadership at California Sea Grant and I look forward to continuing our close partnership with Sea Grant. – Deborah Halberstadt, California Ocean Protection Council

“Congratulations to Shauna Oh as she steps up to serve as the next director of the California Sea Grant Program. Shauna has a proven track record of facilitating collaboration between scientists, stakeholders, and decision makers, using research to solve real world problems, and training the next generation of marine and coastal experts. I’ve seen firsthand the important work the Sea Grant program does in our coastal communities, and I’m glad the program is in such good hands.” – U.S. Representative Jared Huffman (CA-02), chair of the Water, Oceans, and Wildlife Subcommittee and lead author of the Sea Grant reauthorization bill.

“I look forward to working with Shauna Oh and California Sea Grant to support scientists and graduate students who help shape the future of coastal and marine sciences and policies in California.” – Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis

“As a member of the House Natural Resources Committee and longtime environmental advocate, protecting our oceans and marine life is a top priority of mine. I am grateful for all of the important work that the California Sea Grant does, and I look forward to working with incoming Director Shauna Oh.”  – U.S. Representative Mike Levin (CA-49)

Thank you, Jim, for almost a decade of work developing the California Sea Grant Program into the successful public private-partnership it is today. I want to welcome back Shauna, who brings expertise in the marine science field and experience working with California Sea Grant. I look forward to working with her to support this key program for San Diego’s environment, economy, and communities. – U.S. Representative Scott Peters (CA-52)

“Ocean Science Trust is delighted to see Shauna move into this new position. We look forward to deepening our long-standing partnership with Shauna and California Sea Grant. Working together we can harness the deep scientific capacity and expertise in California and point it at the most pressing ocean challenges” – Liz Whiteman, Executive Director of the Ocean Science Trust

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