Project

Conserving Marine Life in the United States

Experts

Peter Baker 

Project Director
Conserving Marine Life, New England and Atlantic Canada

Peter Baker directs Pew’s marine conservation work in New England and the Atlantic region of Canada, focusing on protecting special habitats, encouraging ecosystem-based fisheries management, and addressing the entanglement of right whales in fishing gear. 

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Holly Binns

Project Director
Conserving Marine Life, Gulf Coast and U.S. Caribbean

Holly Binns directs Pew’s efforts to protect ocean life and coastal habitats in the Gulf of Mexico and the U.S. Caribbean Sea. This work aims to protect important habitats such as deep-sea corals and seagrass meadows as well as other valuable areas with diverse marine life; conserve and restore oysters; ensure sustainable fishing and robust marine food webs; promote an ecosystem-based approach in fisheries management plans; and safeguard marine resources for the benefit of coastal communities, fishermen, consumers, divers, boaters, and others, and for future generations.

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Leda Cunningham

Manager
Conserving Marine Life, U.S. East Coast

Leda Cunningham manages Pew’s work in U.S. Atlantic waters to protect and restore ocean resources and coastal habitats, including seagrass and oysters, and to ensure sustainable fishing policies. She is based in Morehead City, North Carolina.

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Joseph Gordon

Project Director
Conserving Marine Life, U.S. East Coast

Joseph Gordon directs Pew campaigns to protect marine life on the U.S. East Coast. He focuses on conserving fisheries and protecting and restoring seagrass, oyster beds, and other important habitats.

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Steve Marx 

Officer
Conserving Marine Life, U.S. West Coast

Steve Marx leads Pew’s efforts to protect ecologically important coastal and nearshore marine habitat on the U.S. West Coast. He also works to advance implementation of ecosystem-based fishery management in the Pacific and North Pacific.

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Ted Morton

Project Director
Conserving Marine Life, National Policy

Ted Morton directs Pew’s U.S. oceans work at the federal level, including efforts to protect coastal habitats, maintain policies to end overfishing and rebuild depleted fish populations, and promote ecosystem-based fisheries management in U.S. federal waters.

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Paul Shively

Project Director
Conserving Marine Life, U.S. West Coast

Paul Shively directs Pew’s ocean and coastal conservation work in the U.S. Pacific. This includes safeguarding coastal estuaries, salt marshes, underwater kelp forests, seagrass meadows, and other important nearshore marine habitat; ensuring sustainable fishing; protecting sensitive corals, rocky reefs, and sponges from seabed mining; and reducing the amount of fish unintentionally killed in fishing gear.

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Thomas Wheatley

Manager
Conserving Marine Life, Gulf Coast

Tom Wheatley manages Pew’s ocean conservation work in the Gulf of Mexico. This work aims to protect important habitats such as deep-sea corals and seagrass meadows; conserve and restore oysters; ensure sustainable fishing and robust marine food webs; and safeguard marine resources for the benefit of coastal communities, fishermen, divers, boaters, consumers, and others, and for future generations. He also managed efforts to protect Atlantic bluefin tuna in the gulf.

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Team Members

Purcie Bennett-Nickerson

Principal Associate
East Coast and New England

Purcie Bennett-Nickerson is a policy and science analyst at Pew, working to protect coastal habitat along the U.S. East Coast. She also focuses on the campaign to limit entanglement of the endangered North Atlantic right whale in fishing gear. Her previous responsibilities at Pew included working to protect forage species such as Atlantic mackerel, Atlantic herring, chub mackerel, and squid in the Mid-Atlantic region and leading efforts to ensure protection for 50 unmanaged forage fish species in the Mid-Atlantic region. 

Before coming Pew, Bennett-Nickerson co-founded Cottonwood Environmental Law Center in Bozeman, Montana, where, as executive director and staff attorney, she worked to protect the wildlife and ecosystems of the forests and rivers of Montana. 

She holds a bachelor’s degree from Goucher College, a master’s degree in environmental and resource policy from George Washington University, and a Juris Doctor from Washington and Lee University.

Lora Clarke

Officer
East Coast

Lora Clarke is the science and policy analyst for Pew’s efforts to protect and restore ocean resources and coastal habitats, including seagrass and oysters, and to ensure sustainable fishing policies in the U.S. Atlantic. She is based in Charleston, South Carolina.

Before joining Pew, Clarke served in various roles for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, including associate program manager for the Comparative Analysis of Marine Ecosystem Organization grant program, coordinator within the Office of Science and Technology where she worked on protected species and national habitat science, policy adviser for the National Ocean Policy, and adviser to the NOAA administrator on climate issues.

Clarke holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Christopher Newport University, a master’s degree in wildlife and fisheries conservation from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a doctorate in marine and atmospheric sciences from Stony Brook University. 

Ruth Driscoll-Lovejoy

Senior Associate
National Policy

Ruth Driscoll-Lovejoy is the policy analyst for Pew’s work to conserve ocean and coastal resources in the U.S. at the national level, focusing on advancing science-based fishery management and co-leading a feasibility study to strengthen protections for U.S. salt marsh habitat.

Before coming to Pew, Driscoll-Lovejoy helped global multinational companies with regulatory compliance as an environmental, health, and safety regulatory consultant and was director of strategic initiatives for the Security and Sustainability Forum.

She received a bachelor’s degree in marine biology from Texas A&M University and a master’s degree in environmental law and policy and a Juris Doctor from Vermont Law School. 

Katharine Deuel

Officer
New England and Atlantic Canada

Katharine Deuel is an officer, based north of Boston, with Pew’s efforts to protect endangered marine mammal species and implement fisheries reforms and habitat protections in Atlantic Canada. She has worked with Pew’s New England team and diverse stakeholders to ensure sustainable management of herring, menhaden, and other forage fish; protect deep-sea corals and other offshore habitat areas; and sustain New England’s iconic cod fishery.

Before joining Pew, Deuel worked for the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California, developing media and communications plans for exhibits, educational programs, and marine policy initiatives.

Deuel holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Wesleyan University and a master’s degree in sustainability and environmental management from Harvard University Extension School. 

Zack Greenberg

Senior Associate
East Coast

Zack Greenberg is the outreach coordinator for Pew’s marine conservation work on the U.S. East Coast, focusing on conserving forage fish, advancing ecosystem-based fisheries management, and protecting habitat.

Before joining Pew, Greenberg spent five years as a campaign manager with a national consulting firm, where he worked on a variety of federal, state, and local electoral races as well as issues such as improving health care education, siting utility-scale energy projects, and protecting essential wildlife habitat.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies and history from Northeastern University and a master’s degree in environmental law and policy from Vermont Law School.

Justin Grubich

Principal Associate
Gulf Coast

Justin Grubich serves as science and policy lead for Pew’s work to conserve Florida’s marine resources, including seagrass and forage fish. He based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Grubich has more than 20 years of research and teaching experience in fish science, marine ecology, and environmental policy. Before joining Pew, he was an assistant professor of marine biology at the American University in Cairo, where he studied the ecology of the lionfish in its native Red Sea habitat. He was also a science and technology policy fellow for the American Association for the Advancement of Science, serving in the U.S. Department of State. As a National Geographic explorer, he led documentary expeditions to examine the fish of the Nile and Amazon River basins. An avid angler, Grubich holds two International Game Fish Association world records.

Grubich holds a bachelor’s degree in marine biology from the University of Miami and a doctorate in fish ecomorphology and biomechanics from Florida State University.

Chad Hanson

Officer
Gulf Coast

Chad Hanson is a science and policy analyst for Pew’s efforts to conserve ocean resources, including oysters and seagrass; protect deep-sea corals; and ensure sustainable fishing in the Gulf of Mexico. He also serves as policy coordinator for Pew’s broader marine work in the U.S. Southeast, and is based in Tallahassee, Florida.

Before coming to Pew, Hanson worked with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission as a research biologist monitoring fish populations and fishing activity and then as a biologist and analyst for its Marine Fisheries Management Division.

Hanson holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire and a master’s degree in biological oceanography from Florida State University.

Robert Hayden

Principal Associate
West Coast

Robert Hayden is outreach coordinator for Pew’s efforts to conserve ocean and coastal resources on the U.S. West Coast.

Before joining Pew, Hayden worked as a community organizer and communications advocate for more than a decade. As the solutions stories and media manager with Climate Solutions, he worked to identify and engage new audiences for climate and clean energy campaigns throughout the Northwest. He also spent several years as the national representative for the Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition, mobilizing support to restore the Columbia-Snake River Basin, which has some of the world’s best habitat for sustaining wild and steelhead salmon.

Hayden holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Oregon.

Cameron Jaggard

Principal Associate
Gulf Coast

Cameron Jaggard is outreach coordinator for Pew’s efforts to conserve Florida’s ocean resources, including seagrass and forage fish. He is based in North Palm Beach, Florida.

Before joining Pew, Cameron was a watershed steward with the Institute for Fisheries Resources in San Francisco, supporting protection and restoration efforts for salmon and other commercially and recreationally important marine species off the U.S. West Coast. Jaggard performed outreach to government officials and the public, authored fishery and ocean policy articles, managed the Wildfish Coalition and Salmon Water Now websites, and assisted in planning the annual SalmonAID Festival. He also was an environmental consultant responsible for natural resource permitting, wildlife relocations, and habitat monitoring projects in Florida’s Indian River, St. Lucie, Martin, and Palm Beach counties.

Jaggard holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental policy from Rollins College and an environmental science certificate from Florida Atlantic University.

Aaron Kornbluth

Officer
East Coast

Aaron Kornbluth is a science and policy analyst for Pew’s efforts to protect marine life on the U.S East Coast, including conserving forage fish and protecting and restoring important marine habitats, such as oyster beds. Kornbluth’s prior work with the team focused on protecting deep-sea corals and helping to ensure that forage fish, such as menhaden and herring, are managed for their role in the ecosystem. Previously he worked for Pew on efforts to reduce nutrient pollution from industrial animal feeding operations.

Before joining Pew, Kornbluth worked for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, where he focused on efforts to reduce the Gulf of Mexico “dead zone,” and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, where he helped to secure funding for the agency’s research on ecosystems.

Kornbluth holds a bachelor’s degree in biology and science communications from Cornell University and a master’s degree in natural resources management from the University of New Hampshire.

Gillian Lyons

Officer
West Coast

Gillian Lyons serves as a science and policy analyst for Pew’s efforts to conserve fish managed by the state of California. She also works to protect California’s vanishing kelp forests and implement ecosystem-based management of West Coast forage fish.

Before coming to Pew, Lyons was policy director for the Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition in Portland, Oregon, and legislative director for the National Public Lands Grazing Campaign in Washington, DC.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Oberlin College and a Master of Science in environmental studies from the University of Montana.

Sharon McBreen

Officer
Gulf Coast

Sharon McBreen is outreach coordinator for Pew’s efforts to conserve ocean resources, including oysters; protect deep-sea corals; and ensure sustainable fishing in the Gulf of Mexico. She is based in Orlando, Florida.

She previously spent 24 years as a reporter, copy desk manager, and editor at the Orlando Sentinel, where she wrote chiefly about crime, politics, and government and managed the nighttime copy editing operations. She later oversaw coverage and content from the newspaper’s five regional bureaus across Central Florida as well as its home county.

McBreen holds a bachelor’s degree in print journalism and editing from the University of Florida.

Tom Rudolph

Officer
West Coast

Tom Rudolph is science and policy lead for Pew’s work to protect sensitive ocean habitat— including rocky reefs, corals, and sponges—from seabed mining and other threats. He also works to conserve important coastal areas, including Oregon’s rocky shores.

Before joining Pew, Rudolph worked as a cooperative research director and conservation campaign operations director for the Cape Cod Commercial Hook Fishermen’s Association (now the Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance). His research resulted in several published journal articles on topics such as fish-discard mortality and bycatch reduction through use of alternative longline baits. He has also worked as a deckhand on commercial fishing vessels.

Rudolph holds a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Cornell University.

Sylvia Troost

Officer

Sylvia Troost is an officer with Pew’s U.S. oceans program and is based in Washington, DC, where she focuses on advancing coastal habitat conservation efforts and assists with cross-cutting program management.

Before joining Pew, Troost worked for seven years in Monterey and Sacramento, California, where she helped design and implement the Marine Life Protection Act Initiative and managed the California Coastal and Marine Initiative grant program. Earlier in her career, she focused on international community development issues with an emphasis on coral reef conservation and sustainable livelihoods in the Pacific Islands of Fiji, Vanuatu, and Kiribati. She also worked on capacity building of environmental nongovernmental organizations in Eastern Europe.

She has a bachelor’s degree in public policy from the University of California, Santa Barbara and a master’s degree in international affairs from George Washington University.

Kristina Trotta

Senior Associate
National Policy

Kristina Trotta is a senior associate with Pew’s work to conserve ocean and coastal resources in the U.S. at the national level, coordinating stakeholders and co-leading efforts to strengthen and expand the National Estuarine Research Reserve System. 

Before joining Pew, she was a policy associate with the National Marine Fisheries Service, where she advised the Policy Office on bycatch, marine spatial planning, and electronic monitoring, among other topics. With Florida’s Coral Reef Conservation Program, Trotta managed the field research program and conducted research on international fisheries for the Billfish Foundation. An avid diver, she is a Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) staff instructor and has taught scuba diving in the Caribbean, Central America, Thailand, and the U.S. Trotta is also a senior fellow in the Environmental Leadership Program.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in conservation biology and ecology from the University of Miami and master’s degrees in marine biology and coastal zone management from Nova Southeastern University. 

Orian Tzadik

Officer
U.S. Caribbean

Orian Tzadik is the science and policy officer for Pew’s campaigns to conserve ocean resources and coastal habitats, promote sustainable fishing practices, and transition to an ecosystem-based approach to fisheries management in the U.S. Caribbean. He is based in Rincón, Puerto Rico.

Tzadik previously was a research biologist with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, where he collected and analyzed fish community data to inform fishery management decisions. Tzadik was also the science officer for Global Vision International in Costa Rica and head of science for the organization in Mexico; a dive and science officer for Windjammer Barefoot Cruises; and a research assistant at the University of Puerto Rico and the University of South Florida.

Tzadik holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Texas, Austin; a master’s degree in biological oceanography from the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez; and a doctorate in marine resource management from the University of South Florida.

Yasmin Vélez-Sánchez

Officer
U.S. Caribbean

Yasmin Vélez-Sánchez works on coastal habitat issues in the Gulf of Mexico and coordinates Pew’s campaigns to conserve ocean resources, promote sustainable fishing practices, and transition to an ecosystem-based approach to fisheries management in the U.S. Caribbean. She is based in Dallas.

Before coming to Pew, she was the program director of Fundación Agenda Ciudadana, where she mobilized citizens to advance public policy on education, health, economic development, and the environment. She also organized workshops to facilitate citizen engagement in democratic processes. In addition, she launched Puerto Rico’s first publication detailing legislative candidates’ positions on and perceptions of proposed changes to public education.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in public relations from the Universidad del Sagrado Corazón in Puerto Rico.