Donna is a marine ecologist and former US Navy Officer and Navy diver. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Missouri, Columbia in 1979, serving six years in the active Navy including leading a team that used California sea lions to recover equipment from the sea floor which reignited her interest in ocean sciences. Inspired to return to her science roots, Donna returned to school to earn a Master of Science (MS) in Marine Science from San Jose State University through Moss Landing Marine Laboratories in 1996, later adding technology and policy through a Professional Science Masters’ in Coastal and Watershed Science and Policy from California State University, Monterey Bay in 2010. Donna’s masters research centered on ichthyology - age and growth verification of deep-sea rockfishes. Her current research interests include the biology and ecology of shelf and slope marine fishes and habitats, visual survey technologies and techniques, collaborative fisheries, and marine protected area performance.
Donna’s position in the Fisheries and Conservation Biology Lab supports collaborative fisheries projects dedicated to studying benthic habitat and fish assemblage and population responses to California Marine Protected Areas (MPA) and Rockfish Conservation Areas (RCA). The projects are broadly collaborative including partnerships with Marine Applied Research and Exploration (MARE), the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) as well as commercial fishermen in Central California.