Cotton Rockwood

Senior Marine Ecologist

As Senior Marine Ecologist with the California Current Group, I work on problems ranging from marine megafauna ecology and species modeling to marine spatial planning.  I have developed decision tools to help minimize whale ship strikes and improve the siting of renewable marine energy.  My overarching mission is to understand and mitigate the impacts of human activities to marine ecosystems, food webs and top predators by leveraging the excellent long-term Point Blue marine data sets and working with management partners.

I grew up in Sonoma County where I learned a deep love of nature, birds and the ocean and established a profound conservation ethic that has guided my life since.  I attended University of California, Davis for my B.S., where I embarked on two study abroad programs: one in tropical ecology in Costa Rica and the other in marine biology at Bamfield Marine Station on the west coast of Canada’s spectacular Vancouver Island.  The latter program armed me with the knowledge and passion to dive into marine conservation science.

I continued on to Scripps Institution of Oceanography where I studied within the Center for Marine Biology and Conservation.  This training molded me into an interdisciplinary scientist with expertise in marine ecology, conservation, and cumulative impact assessment.  I received my M.Sc. from Scripps in 2010 where I researched human impacts to marine ecosystems and particularly to seabirds. That research provided tools used in trans-national management and conservation efforts.

When I’m not at our Petaluma headquarters or joining an ACCESS cruise, you can find me exploring the wonders of the natural world on a surfboard, in a raft, on a bike, with a backpack, or on a horse.