Johanna Polsenberg

A marine ecologist by training, Johanna is interested in encouraging the integration of rigorous science into environmental decision-making to help to address environmental problems that plague coastal and marine ecosystems around the globe.  She strongly believes that effective communication across societal and institutional boundaries is the key for making the best scientific information accessible to the public and policy-makers.

Johanna joined NCORE in January 2003 after a year in Congress as a Knauss Legislative Fellow in the office of Representative Sam Farr.  There she worked on the creation and promotion of marine and environmental policy and helped analyze the consequences of federal environmental policies for the Central Coast region of California.  She was also instrumental in creating a speaker series that brought renowned scientists to Capitol Hill to discuss the scientific foundations of marine-related environmental issues.  She has herself been an invited speaker for university seminars to give her views on the role of scientists in environmental policy-making.

Johanna and her husband Warren Nott, a research diver from Australia, conduct coral reef research and field education programs with Operation Wallacea off Southeast Sulawesi, Indonesia.  Her doctoral dissertation (Stanford University, 2001) focused on the impacts of agricultural nutrient runoff in mangrove estuaries in Queensland, Australia.  She earned her B.S. in biochemistry (with a concentration in chemistry) from the University of Vermont where she contributed to the development of anti-cancer drugs that are currently in clinical trials.  Between college and graduate school, she worked as an underwater photographer and divemaster on a humpback whale project in the Bahamas and theTurks and Caicos, a fisheries observer on the Bering Sea, and a teaching assistant for a subtidal ecology course in the Monterey Bay.