The Center for Stock Assessment Research (CSTAR) was formed in 2001, as a collaboration between the NMFS laboratories in Santa Cruz and Pacific Grove, with the objective of undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate training in the basic science associated with the problems of assessing the numerical abundance, spatial distribution, size distribution and reproductive status of commercially important fish species. A broad and deep understanding of population processes is critical to the development and management of sustainable fisheries.

Finding means to conserve fish populations and to achieve sustainable fisheries requires understanding the effects of fishing on behavior, life history and population biology of exploited fishes. The work at CSTAR focuses on using mathematical, statistical and computer models to solve important environmental and ecological problems. The work is grounded in data, and also seeks to expand the base of basic knowledge that supports rigorous application of science to real-world problems. Furthermore, research on marine fisheries conducted in CSTAR allows testing theoretical predictions via natural and human experiments on a scale that is appropriate for understanding the dynamics of ecosystems. Such large scale experiments are rarely available to the scientific community.

The CSTAR grant provides level of core support which is then leveraged by teaching assistantships and graduate research assistantships or post-doctoral scholar support from other grants or contracts .This enables us to create a relatively large and interactively group of quantitative scientists working on a wide range of problems in fishery management.

The research and training of first class fishery scientists at CSTAR is science done in the national interest and moves in the direction outlined by the National Research Council in its report Recruiting Fihsery Scientists: Workshop on Stock Assessment and Social Science Careers.

CSTAR Activities and Accomplishments, April 2012-March 2013

• CSTAR Almuni are repsented in 4 of the 8 research teams at the FED, and CSTAR members worked with colleagues in 5 of the 8 teams at the FED and with colleagues at US AMLR: Salmon Assessment (CSTAR Alum Will Satterthwaite), Landscape Ecology (CSTAR student Juan Lopez), Groundfish Analysis (CSTAR Alum EJ Dick, CSTAR Post-doc Melissa Monk), Fisheries Economics (CSTAR student Daniel Ladd), Early Life History (CSTAR Alum Steve Munch, CSTAR Post-doc Carl Boettiger Santiago Salinas, CSTAR student Simon Brown), Salmon Ecology (CSTAR Alum Valerie Brown, CSTAR Researcher Jarrod Santora), Molecular Ecology (CSTAR Visiting EU Marie Curie Fellow Simone Vincenzi), and US AMLR (CSTAR Student Kate Richerson)

• CSTAR student Kate Richerson participated in the first ever winter cruise of US AMLR

• CSTAR student Daniel Ladd conducted an economic analysis of the elasticity of water release and employment in the Central Valley of California as part of his capstone project for the MSc in Statistics and Applied Mathematics

• CSTAR student Juan Lopez conducted an analysis of the growth potential of steelhead in more than 60 streams in the Santa Ynez River system as part of his capstone project for the MSc in Statistics and Applied Mathematics

• CSTAR student Braden Soper continued work with the Groundfish Team to analyze the recreational fishery database

• CSTAR student Taal Levi published a paper in PLoS Biology on Ecosystem Based Fishery Management for salmon, taking into account indirect effects of fisheries on bear population dynamics

• CSTAR post-doc Andew Ole Shelton started NOAA Fisheries employment at the Northwest Fisheries Science Center

• CSTAR post-doc Melissa Monk developed new indices to be used in data moderate stock assessments

• CSTAR post-doc Carl Boettiger received a NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship in Biology and Mathematics, to continue working on nonparametric methods for fishery management with CSTAR Director Mangel and member Dr. Stephan Munch (FED)

• CSTAR post-doc Simone Vincenzi completed his work on kittiwakes and environmental change in the Bering Sea and began an EU International Outgoing Fellowship at the FED, working with Director Mangel and the Molecular Ecology and Genetic Analysis team.

• CSTAR affiliate Mariah Boyle (FishWise staff member) published a second white paper on Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated fishing

• CSTAR Director Mangel gave the Keynote Address at the Symposium “In Honour of Dr. Colin Clark: Developments and Challenges in Fisheries Economics”, the Distinguished Alumnus Lecture, Institute of Applied Mathematics, University of British Columbia and completed service on the Lenfest Forage Fish Task Force

• CSTAR hosted two sabbatical visitors from the University of Bergen (Sigrunn Elliasen, March- August 2012; Hans Skaug, August 2012-April 2013 and continuing to the end of the academic year)

Current Members of CSTAR

Eric Anderson (Staff Member, NMFS Santa Cruz Laboratory)

Carl Boettiger (NSF Postdoctoral Fellow)

Mariah Boyle (Staff Member, FishWise)

Valerie Brown (Assistant Specialist, UCSC)

Edward (EJ) Dick (Staff member, NMFS Santa Cruz Laboratory)

Chris Edwards (Faculty, UCSC)

John Field (Staff Member, NMFS Santa Cruz Laboratory; Co-Director)

Xi He (Staff member, NMFS Santa Cruz Laboratory)

Meisha Key (Staff member, California Department of Fish and Game)

Thanassis Kottas (Faculty, UCSC)

Vanessa Labrada Martagon (CONACyT-UC MEXUS Postdoctoral Fellow)

Juan Lopez (PhD student, Applied Mathematics)

Alec MacCall (Staff member, NMFS Santa Cruz Laboratory)

Marc Mangel (Faculty UCSC, Co-director)

Melissa Hedges Monk (Post-doctoral scholar)

Steve Munch (Staff member, NMFS Santa Cruz Laboratory)

Valerie Poynor (Post-doctoral Scholar)

Steve Ralston (Staff member, NMFS Santa Cruz Laboratory)

Kate Richerson (PhD student, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology)

Santiago Salinas (Post-doctoral Scholar)

Bruno Sanso (Faculty, UCSC)

Jarrod Santora (Assistant Research Applied Mathematician, UCSC )

Will Satterthwaite (Staff member, NMFS Santa Cruz Laboratory)

Braden Soper (PhD student, Applied Mathematics)

Simone Vincenzi (EU Marie Curie Fellow)

Brian Wells (Staff member, NMFS Santa Cruz Laboratory)


Long-term Visitors to CSTAR

Michael Bonsall (Royal Society Research Fellow, Imperial College, January-May 2003; currently Lecturer at the University of Oxford)

Nadiezhda Cantu (Graduate Student, CiBNor, La Paz, Mexico; Spring 2008)

Sigrun Elliasen (Graduate Student, University of Bergen, March-July 2003) Return visit academic year 2011-12 as a Researcher at the University of Bergen

Katja Engberg (Post-doctoral resesearcher, University of Bergen, Fall 2008, 2011)

Jarl Giske (Professor, University of Bergen, Summer and Fall 2010; Summer 2011)

Hiroshi Hakoyama (Research Visitor from the Stock Assessment Division, National Research Institute of Fisheries Science, Japan, February-March 2005)

Christian Jorgensen (Post-doctoral resesearcher, University of Bergen, Fall 2008, 2011)

Kai Lorenzen (Sabbatical Visitor from Imperial College of Science and Technology; Fall 2003). While at CSTAR, Lorenzen began work on a software package for fish stock enhancement. This can be found at

Who Seung Lee (Graduate Student, University of Glasgow, Winter 2009)

Ricardo Lemos (Graduate Student, University of Lisbon, Fall 2004, Winter 2009)

Hans Skaug (PRofessor, University of Bergen, Academic year 2012-13)

Simone Vincenzi (Post-doctoral researcher, University of Parma, Spring 2009; Summer and Fall 2010; Calendar years 2013 and 2014 as EU Marie Curie International Outgoing Fellow)


Former members of CSTAR (their CSTAR position) and current positions

Suzanne Alonzo (Post-doc): Associate Professor, Yale University

Valerie Brown (MS, Statistics and Applied Mathematics): Research staff, NMFS Santa Cruz Laboratory

Christie Boone (PhD, Anthropology): Principal, Ichthyofaunal Analysis, Seattle, WA

Jacqueline Campos (Assistant to Marc Mangel): Biotech industry

Stephane Carlson (NSF Bioinformatics post-doc): Assistant Professor UC Berkeley

Kate Cresswell (Post-doctoral scholar): Personal leave

Robert Curzon (MS, Statistics and Applied Mathematics): Staff member, McGraw Hill

Katy Doctor (Assistant to Marc Mangel): Staff Member, Washington Department of Fisheries

Daniel Hively (MS, Statistics and Applied Mathematics): Research Staff, School of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, University of Washington

Kristen Honey (MA, Enviornmental Studies): NMFS Silver Spring Office

Leah Johnson (PhD Physics): Post-doctoral scholar, University of Chicago

Teresa Ish (MSc, Marine Sciences): Staff Member, Walton Family Foundation

Cynthia Kern (Post-doctoral scholar): Staff Member, NMFS Santa Cruz Laboratory

Holly Kindsvater (Senior Thesis Student): NSF Postdoctoral Fellow in Biology and Mathematics

Taal Levi (PhD, Environmental Studies): Post-doctoral Scholar, University of Florida and the Carey Institute

Yasmin Lucero (PhD student, Ocean Sciences and NMFS/Sea Grant Fellow): Senior Statistician,

Steve Munch (Post-doc), Staff member, NMFS Santa Cruz Laboratory

Anand Patil (PhD student, Statistics and Stochastic Modeling): High tech industry

Roxanna Pourzand (Administrative and Scientific Assistant): Oracle Corporation

Will Satterthwaite (Post-doc): Staff Member, NMFS Santa Cruz Laboratory

Ole Shelton (Post-doctoral scholar): Staff Member, Northwest Fisheries Science Center

Kate Siegfried (PhD, Environmental Studies): Research Fishery Biologist NMFS Beaufort, NC Laboratory

Chris Simon (Assistant to Marc Mangel): 1010 Data Corp, New York City

Melissa Snover (National Research Council Post-doctoral fellow): Staff Member, Fish and Wildlife Service, Corvallis, OR

David Swank (Post-doctoral scholar): Staff member, NMFS Regional Office, Sacramento

Andi Stephens (PhD, Ocean Sciences): Fishery Biologist, Northwest Fisheries Science Center, Newport, OR

Matt Taddy (PhD, Statistics and Stochastic Modeling): Associate Professor, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicag

John Wiedenmann (PhD, Ocean Sciences): Research Scientist, Rutgers University

Chris Wilcox (PhD, Environmental Studies): Staff Member, CSIRO, Hobart

Nick Wolf (Doctor Philosoph, University of Bergen, supervised by Marc Mangel): Instructor, Cascadia Community College, Seattle , WA

Justin Yeakel (PhD, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology) Postdoctoral Fellow, Simon Fraser University


CSTAR Theses and Technical Reports

T. Ish. 2003. Conceptual Tools for Managing Two Monterey Bay Fisheries. MSc. Thesis, Marine Sciences, UCSC.

S. Alonzo, M. Key, T. Ish and A. MacCall. 2004. Status of California Sheephead (Semicossyphus pulcher) Stock (2004). This is the first ever stock assessment for California sheephead.. As part of that work, we also examined sources of data for potential assessments of other species in the Nearshore Management plan:

T. Ish, M. Key and Y. Lucero. 2005. Summary of Data Sources for Stock Assessments for the Species in the Nearshore Fisheries Management Plan (NFMP).

N. Wolf, K. Shea and M. Mangel. 2005. A review of the evidence for density dependence or independence in the life history of Coho (Oncorhynchus kisutch) and other salmonids from the west coast of North America. 

Stephens, A. 2005. Assessment in Salmon and Groundfish Fisheries. PhD dissertation, Ocean Sciences

Siegfried, Kate I.2006 Fishery Management in Data-Limited Situations: Application to stock assessment, marine reserve design, and fish by-catch policy. PhD dissertation, Environmental Studies

Johnson, L. 2006. Mathematical Modeling of Cholera: From Bacterial Life Histories to Human Epidemics. PhD dissertation, Physics

N. Wolf 2006. Understanding the Decline of The Western Alaskan Steller Sea Lion: Assessing the Evidence Concerning Multiple Hypothesis. Dr. Philosoph dissertation University of Bergen

A. Patil. 2007. Bayesian Nonparametrics for Inference of Ecological Dynamics. PhD Dissertation, Statistics and Stochastic Modeling

Y. Lucero. 2007. Population Consequences of Age-Dependent Maternal Effects in Rockfish (Sebastes spp.). PhD dissertation, Ocean Sciences

M. Taddy. 2008 Bayesian Nonparametric Analysis of Conditional Distributions and Inference for Poisson Point Processes PhD dissertation, Statistics and Stochastic Modeling

E.J. Dick 2009 Modeling The Reproductive Potential of Rockfishes (Sebastes spp.) PhD dissertation, Ocean Sciences

J.R. Wiedenmann 2010 Implications of Climate Change for Antarctic Krill and Their Cetecean Predators PhD dissertation, Ocean Sciences

V. Brown 2011 Implementing State-dependent Models to Investigate Complex Life History Stages and Their Influence on Population Dynamics MS Thesis, Statistics and Applied Mathematics

R.Curzon 2011 Estimating Rates of Natural Mortality for Fish Using Bayesian Linear Regression Methods: A Comprehensive Approach MS Thesis, Statistics and Applied Mathematics

D. Hively 2011 Biological Monitoring in Data Poor Scenarios MS Thesis, Statistics and Applied Mathematics

D.Ladd 2013 Mathematical and Econometric Modelling of Farm Labor Demand and Financial Risk Management MS Thesis, Statistics and Applied Mathematics

J. Lopez Arriaza The Use of Mathematical Models for Informing Management Strategies: An Application in Steelhead Trout and Fleet Dynamics MS Thesis, Statistics and Applied Mathematics

Monk, M., Dick, E.J., Buell, T., ZumBrunnen, L., Dauble, A., and D. Pearson Documentation of a Relational Database for the Oregon Sport Groundfish Onboard Sampling Program NOAA Technical Memorandum NOAA-™-NMFS-SWFSC-519