The Center for Community and Citizen Science is excited to welcome Michael Dobbins as the new postdoctoral scholar! Michael will be joining a project focused on marine protected areas (MPAs) in California, analyzing citizen science data collected by participants in the MPA Watch Program.
Michael completed his Ph.D. in 2019 at the University of Florida, with a dissertation investigating how environmental and anthropogenic change impacts mammal richness, occurrence, temporal behavior, and distribution in Belize. As part of his dissertation work, he developed a novel integrated monitoring design using passive acoustic monitors to assess human hunting activity via gunshots and camera traps to monitor mammals and conducted the first study to directly link the impacts of hunting on the mammal community, as well as individual species, in real-time using a state-of-the-art Bayesian community occupancy model.
Michael was most recently a postdoctoral scholar in the departments of Environmental Science and Policy and Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology at UC Davis, where he worked on the application and advancement of statistical methods in ecology, with an emphasis on models that address common issues in wildlife ecology, such as sparse data and imperfect detection. He has applied these methods to study wildlife populations, species interactions, and human-wildlife conflict in the US, Belize, China, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
In his new position at the Center for Community and Citizen Science, Michael will use his experience in occupancy models to investigate the impacts of human activity and resource use along California’s coastline using data from MPA Watch, an innovative citizen science monitoring program that monitors human uses of ocean and coastal resources. The results should help to improve MPA Watch practices, and inform the management of marine protected areas in California.