After failing at commercial fishing and getting paid to surf, Bernie pursued his Plan C – becoming a scientist. He’s now a serial conservation entrepreneur. He co-founded the: Conservation Action Lab at the University of California, Santa Cruz which identifies and tests conservation solutions and trains conservation leaders; nonprofits Island Conservation and Conservación de Islas science-based NGOs that have protected over 460 insular endemics from extinction, and formed over 1,665,000ha of new marine and island protected areas; and for-profit social venture, Conservation Metrics which uses machine learning tools to analyze sensor-derived big data on wildlife populations, and drive iterative improvements in conservation practice. He also helped develop the: Henry Arnhold Fellows Program which finds great people with proven conservation solutions and helps them go to scale; and, California Biodiversity Initiative a Governor’s Directive that commits California, the world’s 5th largest economy, to no new extinctions of native species and protecting and restoring 30% of each California ecosystem type. He has a B.S. in Biology from the UC, Santa Cruz; M.S. in Marine Sciences from Moss Landing Marine Labs; and a Ph.D. in Neurobiology and Behavior from Cornell University.
Harmony C. Patricio, PhDChief Scientist
Born and raised in the mountains of Colorado, spending summer days exploring alpine lakes and rivers, Harmony’s love of freshwater was ingrained from an early age. This fascination has carried her far afield, in search of the world’s most endangered animals, like the Mekong giant catfish. Much of her work has been in Australia, Central America, and Southeast Asia. For six years she worked in the Mekong River Basin, leading freshwater biodiversity research and conservation through close collaboration with rural fishing communities. Her PhD research focused on molecular ecology, where she developed novel environmental DNA methods to assess distributions of rare fish and river biodiversity. She has a B.A. in Environmental Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz; an M.P.A in Environmental Science and Policy from Columbia University; and a PhD in Environmental Science from the Australian Rivers Institute at Griffith University. Harmony serves on the Freshwater Conservation Committee and Freshwater Fish Specialist Group of the IUCN Species Survival Commission. She is also the Co-Chair of the Freshwater Specialist Group for the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas.
Serena CouttsSocial Media Intern
Serena is an avid surfer and snowboarder. She gets to ride great waves near her home in Santa Cruz, CA. As an intern with Freshwater Life, Serena manages our social media platforms. She has a keen interest in conservation, and is continuously developing her knowledge.
Jessica Romero WeikertData Technician & Designer
Jessica Romero Weikert grew up surrounded by rivers of salmon and pipelines of oil in Anchorage, Alaska. She loves books, and tries to finish at least one every week. She is a recent graduate of University of South Dakota, and holds a bachelor’s degree in conservation biology and sustainability. During her undergraduate career, Weikert was a UCSC Doris Duke Conservation Scholar, studied on scholarship in Costa Rica, completed an honors thesis, and received a grant for a bike-sharing program on her campus. She has worked on various projects with Dr. Bernie Tershy since 2017. She aspires to attend graduate school and continue pursuing a career in global conservation.