Founding members

Sarah Peterson

Sarah PetersonI am broadly interested in the ecology, physiology and toxicology of large marine predators. Currently, I recently graduated from the University of California Santa Cruz in Dr. Dan Costa’s lab. My research is focused on how the foraging ecology and fasting state (body condition) of elephant seals influences their contaminant accumulation and tissue concentrations. I am specifically examining heavy metals (mercury and lead) and persistent organic pollutants. I received my M.S. from Western Washington University in 2008, where I worked with Dr. Alejandro Acevedo-Gutierrez studying the movements of harbor seals in the context of how harbor seals may influence endangered fish species and candidate marine reserves. I have worked part-time since 2003 as a naturalist and science educator and continue to engage in outreach and science education. My email address is

Liz McHuron

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI am interested in the ecology, behavior, and health of marine mammals, and more specifically, how environmental variation and anthropogenic stressors affect pinnipeds. I recently graduated with my Master’s from Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, where I focused on a few aspects of harbor seal health. My project involved determining selenium and mercury concentrations in a variety of tissues of harbor seals from central California, how these concentrations differed with sex and location, and also the potential effects these concentrations may have on harbor seal health. I recently joined the Costa Lab at UCSC and am still exploring project ideas for my dissertation. My email address is

Click on the links below to view graduate student members

Humboldt State University

Moss Landing Marine Laboratories

San Diego State University

San Francisco State University

Sonoma State University

Stanford University

University of California Los Angeles

University of California San Diego

University of California Santa Barbara

University of California Santa Cruz

Out-of-state members based in California