I’m a Ph.D. candidate, Vanier Scholar, and Ocean Leaders Graduate Fellow at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada (where I also completed my M.Sc.). Before moving to Vancouver, I lived for five years in Santa Cruz, California, where I earned a B.Sc. in Marine Biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz. My research interests involve attempting to understand the ways that local and global human impacts interact to influence coral reef health and resilience in the central Pacific Islands.

I grew up on the Chesapeake Bay in rural Maryland where there is a vibrant maritime culture, and as a result, the water has always been an important part of my life. My parents were also avid scuba divers who exposed me to the world of coral reefs at a very young age. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be a marine scientist.

I’m currently working in the Micronesia region of the Pacific. My M.Sc. research was based in the Republic of the Marshall Islands (read more about the project here), and my Ph.D. work is based in both the Marshalls and Kiribati. I’ve worked in the Micronesia region before; as an undergraduate student, I spent many summers in the Ulithi Atoll, Yap State in the Federated States of Micronesia as a part of One People One Reef (a group of community members and researchers combining science and tradition to find innovative ways to manage marine resources).

In my work, I partner with local communities and marine managers in the Micronesia region to integrate local and traditional ecological knowledge, biology, and social science in an attempt to understand how human activities interact with climate change to influence coral reef health. In this way, I hope my research will center the needs of local people and provide communities with the tools they need to make empowered decisions about resource management.

If you’d like to get in touch, please send an email to secanno@gmail.com.