Three new graduate electives align with Sustainable Oceans goals and broaden and strengthen the existing graduate curriculum at UC Davis.

  • a marine science and policy course that will provide the fundamental background across the full spectrum of relevant disciplines essential for the development, assessment, and implementation of ecosystem-based fisheries management programs (taken by trainees in fall quarter of their first year of graduate study)
  • a transdisciplinary course whose basis is a causal chain. The causal chain extends from a policy goal to a management intervention to the scientific information needed to assess the ecological, economic, and social impacts of the policy (taken by trainees in fall quarter of their second year of graduate study).
  • a data-model integration course that will focus on bringing the key aspects of the Causal Chain process (e.g., “dose-response” curves) to data. The course will provide training on fitting linear and nonlinear dynamic models to data utilizing ecosystem-based fishery management examples(taken by trainees in winter quarter of their second year of graduate study).

The timing of courses allows Sustainable Oceans trainees to develop their disciplinary background in the first year and to bring these skills to the second year curriculum. All courses will be open to students from across UC Davis.

In addition, a cross-cutting theme throughout the curriculum of the Sustainable Oceans program will be decision making under uncertainty. This will include an introduction to the concepts in the marine science and policy course with special attention to how uncertainty is incorporated into management decisions, and a more in-depth development in the causal chain course and the data-model integration course.

We will supplement formal coursework with interactions with short-term visiting scientists, training in professional skills through the UC Davis GradPathways program and via workshops in communication, and an annual research symposium. The practice of working through a causal chain, coupled with fieldtrips to stakeholders, basecamps (week-long workshops with decision-makers and stakeholders organized around marine management issues), internships, data-model integration training, supplementary activities, and immersion in marine science and policy will provide trainees with a deeper understanding of how their own STEM research, founded in the primary perspective of a single discipline, fits into a policy process.