Who we are

Overview of beach

The Frank R. Seaver College of Science and Engineering and The Bay Foundation renew their decade-long partnership with an eye towards the future in the Coastal Research Institute. The institute builds on the foundation set by the Center for Santa Monica Bay Studies. The CRI brings together expertise from Seaver College and The Bay Foundation to further the goals of Santa Monica Bay National Estuary Program to restore and enhance Santa Monica Bay and local coastal waters. The CRI will engage educators, academics, graduate students, undergraduate students, agencies, industry and more in research related to coastal resource management.

Co-Executive Directors

James Landry, Ph.D

Dr. James Landry is a Co-Executive Director of the Coastal Research Institute, Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and a faculty affiliate for the Environmental Science Program at LMU.  Jim received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Chemistry from Xavier University and a Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry from Miami University of Ohio. His research has included collaboration with the Getty Conservation Institute developing methods of analysis of art objects using infrared microspectroscopy and determining museum environments employing gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. He was awarded a patent for the development of a low-tech application process for a coating that allows visible light to pass through but blocks heat. His current research interests include the determination of heavy metal levels by Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS) in the Ballona Wetlands, the use of lost cost monitors for air quality analysis, and the analysis of microplastics found on Santa Monica beaches. He serves as President of the Board of Directors for the Friends of Ballona Wetlands and is a member of the Ballona Discovery Park Partners.  Jim serves on the Board of Directors of the Friends of Ballona Wetlands and is a board member and secretary for the Ballona Discovery Park Partners.

Thomas Ford

Tom Ford is a Co-Executive Director of the Coastal Research Institute at Loyola Marymount University, the Executive Director of The Bay Foundation, and the Director of the Santa Monica Bay National Estuary Program. As part of his engagement at Loyola Marymount University, Tom is a Senior Lecturer teaching environmental science and serves as a faculty affiliate for the environmental science program at Seaver College. Tom holds a M.A. from UCLA in Marine Ecology and a B.A. from the University of Rhode Island in Biology. Tom has been engaged in the study and restoration of kelp forests since he moved to LA in 1998. Other current projects include aerial mapping of boats, abalone genetics-disease risk management, abalone recovery, sea urchin gonad indices, coastal climate change vulnerability and resilience, and SCUBA based biological monitoring of Marine Protected Areas. In addition, Tom serves on: the board of directors of the Southern California Marine Institute, the Joint Strategic Advisory Committee for the Southern, Central-Northern California Coastal Ocean Observing System, and the Association of National Estuary Programs. Tom’s expertise are internationally recognized supporting efforts to promote fisheries and increase coastal resilience along the US West Coast, British Columbia, Australia, and Tasmania.

Director of Programs 

Karina Johnston 

Karina Johnston has been a scientific and community leader in the Los Angeles region for 10 years, culminating in her positions with Loyola Marymount University as Senior Lecturer and Director of Programs for the Coastal Research Institute (CRI) and her position with The Bay Foundation (TBF) as Science Director. As the Science Director for TBF, Karina develops and manages federal, state, and other grants to implement the Action Plan for the Santa Monica Bay National Estuary Program, which strives to clean up waterways and create healthy habitats in the Los Angeles region. She is currently leading multiple projects to restore and monitor the Bay’s coastal habitats, with a focus on wetlands, dunes, and beaches. Karina has extensive experience developing, implementing, and directing scientific research programs including mentoring graduate and undergraduate students. She has a Master’s in Marine Ecology from James Cook University and a BS in Aquatic Biology with a minor in Geology from UCSB. Karina is also a Board Certified Environmental Scientist, with a Biology specialty (American Academy of Environmental Scientists).

Faculty Fellows 

John Dorsey, Ph.D., BCES 

John Dorsey received his B.S. in Marine Biology (1972) and M.S. in Biology (1975) from California State University, Long Beach, his Ph.D. from the University of Melbourne in Zoology (1982), and is a Board Certified Environmental Scientist through the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists. Presently he is a Professor at Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, in the Department of Civil Engineering & Environmental Science where he teaches courses in environmental, biological and marine sciences. He is also a Senior Science Fellow with the Center for Urban Resilience (CURes), Faculty Fellow with the Coastal Research Institute (CRI), and a Faculty Affiliate with the Environmental Science program. Prior to LMU, he worked as a marine biologist for the City of Los Angeles (1983-2002), focusing on marine monitoring in Santa Monica Bay and storm water management. John sits on numerous local and state technical committees dealing with water quality issues and policy, and wetland restoration. He is past-president of the Southern California Academy of Science where he remains an active member with their Research Training Program for high school students. He conducts research on the dynamics of fecal indicator bacteria in coastal waters and wetlands, wetland biodiversity and ecosystem services, the efficiency of water infiltration and pollutant removal in biofiltration systems, and now is working with his students and The Bay Foundation (through the CRI) to characterize beaches in Santa Monica Bay. He has numerous publications in these fields and marine science. John’s passion for good water quality is natural—he is an avid surfer, so most days he can be found at dawn surfing at El Porto near his home and LMU’s campus.

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