About Us

The California Ocean Alliance is a non-profit collaboration of scientists, educators, and conservationists committed to the understanding and protection of whales locally and globally. We have extensive collective experience working within non-profit, academic, and corporate organizations, and we support a holistic approach to whale conservation that is based on local engagement and action.

COA Management Team

Brandon Southall

Brandon is President of Southall Environmental Associates (SEA), Inc., a Research Associate at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC), and an Adjunct Associate Professor at Duke University. His work includes research on the hearing, behavior and effects of noise on marine mammals as well as the translation of these studies into noise exposure criteria, regulatory policies, and public understanding and appreciation of these issues.

Kristin Southall

Kristin’s career in marine biology began back in 1996 when she graduated from UC Santa Cruz, volunteered at The Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, and worked with captive marine mammals at UCSC. Her own research on deep-diving marine mammal visual acuity was published soon after/. After professional experiences working in a UCSC RNA crystallography lab, and later at NASA Ames Research Center, she stepped away for a few years to raise three children with her husband. In 2009 they started their own small business together, Southall Environmental Associates, Inc, where she is Chief Operating Officer, Associate Scientist, and a BOD member. She acts as treasurer for the California Ocean Alliance and supports both the education and research departments.

Caroline Casey

Caroline has combined research and education in California over the past decade, and has developed a strong sense of devotion to making science both accessible and fun for everyone. Her approach to reaching students is through hands-on educational opportunities, and believes that students learn best when they develop a deep connection and responsibility towards the ocean.

Ari Friedlaender

Ari is an Associate Researcher and Professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz. His research interests are in using tag technology to study the underwater behavior of marine mammals. Having made over 25 trips to the Antarctic, Ari has developed a long-term ecological research program that has led to many important discoveries about whales.

Robert Mazurek

Robert has spent the last two decades leading national and international efforts to strengthen marine policy and ocean governance.  He has forged alliances with decision-makers and stakeholders to create marine reserves, combat illegal fishing, and improve sustainable fisheries management.  Robert’s work has led to the creation of some of the largest marine reserves in the world including Australia’s Coral Sea Marine National Park, Chile’s Easter Island Marine Reserve, and the U.K.’s Pitcairn Island Marine Reserve.  He currently is the Senior Program Officer for the Secure Fisheries program, at the One Earth Future Foundation.  Secure Fisheries works around the world to strengthen fisheries governance, end illegal fishing, and promote sustainable fisheries that foster lasting economic and food security in fragile and post-conflict environments.

Chloe Lew

After collaborating with COA through research and fundraising efforts, Chloe joined the team as social media coordinator in 2020. She is excited to foster a community surrounding ocean health, conservation research and education throughout California and beyond through digital outreach. Outside of COA she has pursued research opportunities working on bioacoustics of marine mammals and works at one of COA’s business collaborators, Humble Sea Brewing Company.

John Calambokidis

John is a Senior Research Biologist with a Cascadia Research Collective, a nonprofit scientific research organization he founded in 1979. He directs Cascadia’s long-term studies and photo-ID effort on humpback, blue, and gray whales that tracks populations along the US West Coast, including employing new tag technologies to better understand their behavior and the impacts of human activities.


Jeremy Goldbogen

Jeremy is an Assistant Professor at Stanford University’s, Hopkins Marine Station. He studies the feeding behavior and ecology of large whales using advanced integrated sensor technologies. His research provides both fine-scale scientific measurements and compelling visualizations showing how the largest animals on earth make a living.


COA Internships

Zaahir Santhanam

Zaahir “Zaaz” Santhanam is a Senior double majoring in marine biology and political science at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. He is working on his undergraduate thesis in the Tift lab working on CO and O2 binding affinities for hemoglobin. When he’s not working, he can be found surfing , reading, or cooking.


G Mendoza

G Mendoza is a freshman in college majoring in animal science, and hopes to one day to be able to work closely with marine life. He love animals (especially whales) and being outdoors- specifically playing basketball, baseball, and other cool games. He goes to the beach with his best friend every chance he gets, and he loves his dog!


COA Partnerships, Funders & Collaborators

Humble Sea Brewing Co.
The Volgenau Foundation
The Lush Foundation

The Dalio Foundation
Falkland Conservation
Duke University
The Oak Foundation
LMR (St. Andrews Marine Laboratory)

University of California at Santa Cruz
National Science Foundation
University of Hawaii
The Hurtigruten Foundation
The Wildlife Conservation Society
Conservation International
Ventana Surfboards

Tracey Blundy
Gary and Linda Friedlaender
Claude Babcock
Joshua Elliott, DVM
Hugh and Linda Southall
Eric Lawrence and A. Leslie Ludwig
Alena Jarrett