Natalya Gallo, a PhD student at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego, has been selected as a 2017 recipient of the Switzer Environmental Fellowship, a program of the Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation, which provides support to emerging leaders committed to solving real world environmental problems.
Gallo’s research focuses on low-oxygen marine environments, called upwelling areas, that can serve as proxies to predict future climate change impacts to oceans. She studies how low-oxygen conditions influence the ecological composition and diversity of fish communities to predict future ecosystem effects of ocean deoxygenation. She has conducted research in the California Current Ecosystem, the Gulf of California, and off the coast of Chile.
Gallo is passionate about improving the interface between ocean scientists and policy-makers and in 2013 co-founded the group Ocean Scientists for Informed Policy. She has actively been involved in topics relating to ocean and climate issues and has participated in four international United Nations climate negotiations and the UN Oceans conference.
“The fellowship provides the financial support to allow me to continue my scientific and policy outreach efforts on ocean and climate change issues, and provides critical leadership training,” said Gallo. “One of the greatest positive impacts of being a Switzer Fellowship recipient is getting to join the Switzer network of multidisciplinary environmental leaders from a multitude of fields and I look forward to networking and working with other fellows towards solutions to some of today's leading environmental challenges, such as climate change.”
“I am very proud of Natalya’s accomplishments and thrilled that Switzer has recognized the importance of both ocean deoxygenation and the need to link science to policy to address climate change issues,” said Scripps biological oceanographer Lisa Levin, Gallo’s adviser. “Natalya’s Switzer activities will be a great reflection of the interdisciplinary training she has received from the NSF IGERT program and from the Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation.”
Twenty environmental scholars were awarded Switzer fellowships this year, with each fellow receiving $15,000 for academic expenses. The Switzer Environmental Fellowship is the hallmark of Switzer Foundation programs and this year’s fellows represent a diversity of backgrounds and expertise. Other 2017 fellows besides Gallo are studying topics ranging from the effect of invasive species in terrestrial ecosystems and creating open spaces in urban environments to corporate environmental liability. Of the 20 recipients, Gallo and School of Medicine student Devish Vashishtha are from UC San Diego and among seven from the University of California system.
“We are proud to be selecting our 31st cohort of Switzer Fellows this year. The 2017 fellows represent the diversity of environmental issues, leadership approaches and backgrounds that are essential to face today’s environmental problems,” said Lissa Widoff, Switzer Foundation executive director. “Increasingly, we see that environmental problems are also social problems. Switzer Fellows share a passion and commitment to improving environmental conditions and reflect diverse communities concerned about environmental impacts. We must learn to work together for positive change, and our fellows are doing just that.”