Sean McDonald speaks about the value of translational ecology, March 7

This month’s Rabinowitz Speaker Series: Society’s Role in a Changing Environment, co-hosted by Program on the Environment and School of Marine and Environmental Affairs, is next week, Wednesday, March 7.

Please note the date change! Join us from 4:30–6pm in Wallace Hall Commons. Faculty talks are followed by Q&A and time for mingling. Light refreshments served.

Our March speaker is Program on the Environment lecturer Dr. P. Sean McDonald. The title of his talk is: Lost in translation? Making marine ecology more relevant to environment-related decision making.

Dr. McDonald will discuss the value of translational ecology and interdisciplinary environmental studies in addressing marine resource issues in fisheries, aquaculture, and conservation. In particular he will discuss tools and approaches to support decisions in natural resource management using three recent case studies in social-ecological systems centered around geoduck aquaculture in south Puget Sound, invasive green crab in NE Pacific estuaries, and Pribilof Island blue king crab recovery.


Sean is a faculty member in the Program on the Environment where he teaches environmental communications and directs the Capstone activities of Environmental Studies students (2010-present). Twice nominated for the UW Distinguished Teaching Award, Sean strives to connect his student’s classroom learning with real-world professional experience and research. 

In addition to his teaching and research, Sean is passionate about linking people and science. As co-PI of Washington Sea Grant’s CrabTeam, he’s helped develop an extremely successful citizen science monitoring program for Salish Sea pocket estuaries. He also spearheads SciCommSwarm, an initiative developing a platform to connect scientists and journalists, and he co-organizes and Emcee’s Climate Science on Tap, a monthly science communication event for the public. 

Sean earned a B.S. in biology (Marine emphasis) from Western Washington University, and a doctorate in Aquatic and Fishery Sciences from the University of Washington. He has served on the governing board for the Pacific Coast Section of the National Shellfisheries Association for more than a decade. His research interests center on marine ecology and natural resource issues, in which he focuses on applying ecological principles to problems involving exploitation, cultivation, and conservation of aquatic species in a changing global landscape. In particular, he is interested in responses to major agents of ecosystem change, such as climate change and invasive species, in human and natural systems.