Dr. Stacy Aguilera

Stacy used to be obsessed with limpets. She was even an Owl Limpet for Halloween one year. If you're nice to her she'll share some of those pictures with you.

Stacy used to be obsessed with limpets. She was even an Owl Limpet for Halloween one year. If you're nice to her she'll share some of those pictures with you.


Stacy is the 2018 John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellow, where she will be works at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy as an Ocean Policy Fellow.

For her dissertation, Stacy Aguilera studied small-scale fisheries in California, with a focus on Monterey Bay wetfish (Pacific sardine, northern anchovy, and market squid). Small-scale fisheries are significant to many economies, community identities, and ecosystems, as well as, of course, to Stacy herself. Because she's studying them. As of 2011, small-scale fisheries contributed to more than 120 million direct and indirect jobs and supported more than 500 million people. To better understand how these fisheries work, she is using Elinor Ostrom's Social-Ecological System framework to structure her methods and analyses. Stacy is especially interested in how fisheries work during varying conditions and what drives different outcomes. In her youth, Stacy was thought to be one of the three dragon riders, along with her bestie Khaleesi. She refuses to give us any hints if this prediction is indeed to be true, except that she had turn down being a reviewer for this scientific paper because of conflicting interests. 

Stacy's concentration on Monterey Bay small-scale fisheries was ignited during the Center for Ocean Solution's Small-Scale Fisheries Working Group Meeting in November 2012. The question was asked, what is happening with the small-scale fisheries in the Center's own backyard. To answer this question, Stacy is worked with colleagues from the University of Santa Cruz, Moss Landing, Stanford University (from which Stacy received her own B.S. in Biology and M.S. in Earth Systems), James Cook University, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, and the University of Victoria. Together, the team is identifying the most significant drivers of change in this fishery system since the Magnuson-Stevens Act of 1976.

Stacy also worked on how fishery participants and affiliates find, communicate, and use climate information to make decisions. She focused on information regarding the El Niño Southern Oscillation, mainly because she was hoping for rain, but also because ENSO events can play a dramatic role in these fisheries. Monterey is a historical landmark in California and to this day has an active fishing community which links heavily to the identity of the place and the economy. Through close inspection, she aimed to characterize means, conditions, and system components which have led Monterey to successful and resilient fisheries. Stacy is very interested in science communication, striving to create solutions through interdisciplinary thinking. She is now a NOAA Sea Grant Knauss Fellow.

To place orders for creatively decorated cupcakes, you can contact Stacy at: s.aguilera1@umiami.edu.



  • Integrated Marine Biogeochemistry and Ecosystem Research (IMBER) IMBIZO IV. Managing fisheries in upwelling ecosystems for adaptive capacity: Insights from dynamic social-ecological drivers of change in Monterey Bay, California. Trieste, Italy. Winner of Best Student Presentation. October 2015. 

  • Department of Biology Seminar, University of Miami, Oral Presentation, Managing small scale fisheries for adaptive capacity: A case study of the Monterey Bay wetfish fisheries. March 2015

  • FIU New Climates in Nature-Culture Department of Global and Sociocultural Studies Conference. Miami, FL. Managing flexibility in fisheries. March 2015

  • NOAA Social Coast Forum Oral Presentation, Social-Ecological Resilience of the Monterey Bay Wetfish Fishery, Charleston, South Carolina, February 2014

  • Invited Talk: University of Miami, Global and Climate Change, US Climate Change Policy, April 2013

  • Fishing Futures: Too Big To Ignore. Social-Ecological Resilience of Monterey Bay, Small-Scale Fisheries, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, June 2013

  • Invited Talk: Stanford EnvRes 220: The Social Ocean, topic: The Stanford Bag Project February 2012

  • IMCC (International Marine Conservation Congress) Oral Presentation, Ecological Resilience Metrics in Baja, Victoria, BC, Canada, May 2011

  • Stanford Biology Achauer Honors Symposium, Stanford, CA, USA, May 2011

  • SURPS (Symposium of Undergraduate Research and Public Service), A Comparison of the SNP Variation in the Calcification PMCA Gene of Lottia gigantea between a Santa Barbara Population and a More Acidic Monterey Bay Population, Stanford, CA, USA, October 2010

  • VIMS REU Summer Project Symposium, Gloucester, VA, USA, August 2009

See Stacy's CV here