Isabel Rivera-Collazo : Principal Investigator

Isabel Rivera-Collazo

Principal Investigator

Isabel Rivera-Collazo is Associate Professor on Biological, Ecological and Human Adaptations to Climate Change at the Department of Anthropology and Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and Directs the SIO Human Ecology Laboratory. Prof. Rivera-Collazo is native to Borikén (Puerto Rico). Her work combines earth sciences, archaeology and marine ecology to understand social vulnerability to climate and environmental change, in particular through food and habitat security in coastal and marine areas. Through geoarchaeology and archaeomalacology, Prof. Rivera-Collazo works to identify lessons from the past that are relevant to communities in the present. Her research project DUNAS, combines sand dune restoration, cultural heritage and climate change to stimulate community resilience. Most recently Prof. Rivera-Collazo leads the California Heritage Climate Vulnerability Index research project together with the CA State Historic Preservation Office. This project seeks to understand the multiple definitions of site importance, and the interface between cultural significance, climate hazards threatening heritage, and prioritization of action to mitigate climate-related impacts. Rivera-Collazo works with the Borikua / Taino communities in Puerto Rico and the Tongva community of Catalina Island in California. Her work highlights the importance of building horizontal partnerships with indigenous communities through citizen science and communal archaeology. Her practice emphasizes collaboration to identify community-relevant research questions, where the recovery of past knowledge can help decolonize historical accounts and can contribute to answer questions and solve climate-related issues in the present. She is a founding member of UCSD Climate Action Lab, and has been awarded the 2020 Climate Adaptation Leader Award and the 2020 UCSD Integrity Award.

SIO Profile
2020 San Diego Climate Summit
UCSD 2020 Integrity Champion video
Stemming the Tide Symposium: Archaeological Sites

Mariela Declet-Perez : PhD Graduate Student

Mariela Declet-Perez

PhD Graduate Student

Mariela Declet-Perez is an environmental and maritime archaeologist currently pursuing her PhD at the University of California – San Diego. Her research explores human ecodynamics with an emphasis in human adaptation to catastrophic events (i.e. hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes). She uses techniques from paleoclimatology, geoarchaeology, zooarchaeology and integrates current local knowledge of local communities to create a reconstruction of past marine ecosystems and climate conditions. She is currently a researcher in the Scripps Center for Marine Archaeology, Geoarchaeology Lab at UCSD, and the Laboratory for Environmental Archaeology at the University of Puerto Rico. She has a BS from the University of Puerto Rico – Humacao in Marine Biology, and a MA from Centro de Estudios Avanzados de Puerto Rico y el Caribe in Caribbean Archaeology.

DUNAS Project Affiliation

Margaret A. Morris : PhD Graduate Student

Margaret A. Morris

PhD Graduate Student

Margaret is interested in knowing how to locate submerged archaeological materials using marine acoustics, and so spends a great deal of time modeling and measuring the acoustic response of artifacts. She is also interested in understanding how these materials and coastal landscapes they may occupy can survive sea level rise, and to this end works on mapping and reconstructing ancient landscapes and paleochannels offshore Southern California. At SIO, she has become a scientific diver, ROV pilot-in-training, and amateur photographer (for creating 3D photogrammetry models of artifacts). She loves being part of a research group that cares about ethical science and focuses its work and research questions around helping communities and society. Also a fan of blueberry pancakes. Margaret earned a B.S. in Physics and Mathematics from Brandeis University and a PhD at SIO as part of the Human Ecology Lab in 2023, co-advised by Drs. Isabel Rivera-Collazo, John Hildebrand, and Petr Krysl.

Curriculum Vitae
Google Scholar

Eric A. Rodriguez : PhD Graduate Student

Eric A. Rodriguez

PhD Graduate Student

Eric is a maritime archaeologist currently pursuing his PhD at the University of California – San Diego under the supervision of Dra. Isabel Rivera-Collazo. He is currently investigating submerged cultural landscapes in the Caribbean through his knowledge and expertise in maritime archaeology, geoarchaeology, environmental remote sensing, palaeogeographic reconstruction, and geographic information systems. He obtained a B.Phil in Anthropology and History from the University of Pittsburgh in 2012 and a MA in Maritime Archaeology from the University of Southampton in 2014, where his previous master’s dissertation focused on the reconstruction of cultural wetlands in the Humber Estuary. Since then, he has worked as an archaeologist and GIS consultant in the Americas, Italy, Great Britain, Lebanon, and Japan.

Curriculum Vitae
Student profile
DUNAS Project Affiliation

Katrina Cantu : PhD Graduate Student

Katrina Cantu

PhD Graduate Student

Katrina Cantu is a Ph.D. student at UC San Diego's Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Her research focus is how coastal environments evolve over time due to changing sea levels, climate, and human activity. Most of her work involves the collection of sediment cores and sediment analysis including identification of micro and macro fossils, geochronology, geochemistry, and stratigraphy. Katrina has conducted field work in Israel and Puerto Rico where she collected sediment cores and assisted in both terrestrial and underwater excavations. She has a BS and MS in Earth Sciences, both completed at Scripps Institution of Oceanography/ UC San Diego.

Loren Clark : PhD Graduate Student

Loren Clark

PhD Graduate Student

Loren Clark is a fourth year doctoral student in anthropology at UC San Diego under the supervision of Dra. Isabel Rivera-Collazo. Her focus is submerged prehistoric landscapes in the eastern Mediterranean, and she is working through the Human Ecology Lab as well as with the Scripps Center for Marine Archaeology. After completing BA's in Classical Civilizations and Anthropology at Indiana University, Loren participated in multiple underwater and land excavations on shipwrecks in and around the Southeastern US. She then continued on to complete a Masters of Science in Maritime Archaeology from the University of Southampton where she focused on submerged prehistoric landscapes, sea-level change, and tectonics along the Albanian coastline. Prior to joining the UCSD family, Loren spent the majority of her career in cultural resource management working with a myriad of both land and maritime sites. She is particularly interested in using her experience from CRM to continue a multidisciplinary approach to maritime archaeology in the Mediterranean.

Javier Jomar García-Colón : PhD Graduate Student

Javier Jomar García-Colón

PhD Graduate Student

Javier Jomar García-Colón is a PhD student in the archeology and bio-anthropology program at UCSD anthropology department, interested in ideas and perceptions of identity and sense of belonging. To better understand these ideas, he is interested in integrating bio-anthropological and archeological methodologies in order to give light to local community activities during Precolonial Caribbean and its reflection on modern social interactions.

Jordan Griffin : PhD Graduate Student

Jordan Griffin

PhD Graduate Student

Jordan Griffin is a Black feminist archaeologist and PhD student in anthropology at UCSD. With a background in artifact preservation, she entered the PhD program to join all of the incredibly cool scholars contributing to Black archaeological knowledge. Jordan is interested in preserving underwater heritage, Black and Indigenous traditional knowledge of climate shifts, and critical ecology. She is also a writer, a wannabe community homesteader, and an advocate of seaweed and decolonizing nature.

Moon Pankam : Graduate Student

Moon Pankam

Graduate Student
Moon studies human and non-human interactions in coastal and marine environments throughout the Pacific Rim. She is interested in emergent climate change narratives where lush and creative futures abound and loving, colorful communities flourish; where the world is vibrant, verdant, and visionary. Prior to entering the doctoral program in Anthropology at UC San Diego, Moon completed a BA and MS in environmental sciences and policy. She particularly enjoys the 5 Ss: sun, sand, solar punk, SoCal, and sea slugs. She is also passionate about bivalves, karst, and jellies, amongst the many other beautiful things in the world. She is often found in the company of a sunbathing chihuahua.
Ana Paula Tommasini Canestrelli : MAS Graduate Student

Ana Paula Tommasini Canestrelli

MAS Graduate Student

Ana is a communications professional from Brazil, bringing with her more than 12 years of experience working at the United Nations and alongside NGOs focusing on international development. The ocean has been Ana’s greatest passion since she started diving as a teenager and it eventually brought her to UC San Diego, where she is part of the Master of Advanced Studies, Marine Biodiversity and Conservation Program at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Ana is working with the Human Ecology Lab for her Capstone Project on a climate vulnerability assessment of coastal cultural heritage in Puerto Rico, focused on a participatory approach that prioritises the perspectives of local stakeholders. Before coming to UCSD, Ana worked as Communications & Knowledge Management Specialist at the Small Grants Programme, a flagship initiative of the Global Environment Facility implemented by the UN Development Program that supports community-based projects to address environmental issues while improving livelihoods. Prior to that, Ana held similar positions at the International Labour Organization and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime in Brazil, and at international development NGOs in the United Kingdom. She holds a MSc in Media, Communication and Development from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a BA in Journalism as well.

Elise Miyahara : Undergraduate Researcher

Elise Miyahara

Undergraduate Researcher

Elise is an undergraduate student at UCSD double-majoring in international business at the Rady School of Management and in marine biology at SIO. Born and raised in Aiea, Hawaii, Elise's interests include marine biochemical processes, cnidaria, and gelatinous zooplankton.

Margie M. Burton : Research Associate

Margie M. Burton

Research Associate

Margie M. Burton is a Research Associate in the Department of Anthropology at the University of California San Diego. She received her PhD in Anthropology from the University of California San Diego in 2004. She is currently Project Manager for the University of California San Diego – Scripps Center for Marine Archaeology Israel Initiative: Climate, Environmental and Cultural Change in Deep-Time. From 2005-2014 she was Research Director at the San Diego Archaeological Center, a non-profit curatorial, education and research organization located in Escondido. Her main research interests are prehistoric ceramic and ground stone technologies and their relationship to socio-economic change, employing analytical techniques such as use-wear analysis, petrography, pXRF and NAA, SEM-EDS, and X-radiography. She has worked on projects in the southern Levant, southern California and Puerto Rico. She earned her BA from Stanford University in Cultural and Social Anthropology (jointly with a BS in Biological Sciences) and her MBA from UC Berkeley.


Hector M. Rivera-Claudio : Chief Citizen Scientist

Hector M. Rivera-Claudio

Chief Citizen Scientist

Hector M Rivera-Claudio is a retired accountant, nature lover, and active volunteer of archaeological and Sand dunes restauration projects in conjunction with Para la Naturaleza, (a Unit of PR Conservation Trust) in Hacienda la Esperazan in Manati. Under the guidance and collaboration of Dr. Isabel Rivera-Collazo, Mariela Declet-Pérez (UCSD Grad student), and “Para La Naturaleza” employees and volunteers, he has become a chief Citizen Scientist. As part of his learning process as a scientific citizen, he has joined the HEL work team and has become a direct contact agent in Puerto Rico while the staff is abroad. He firmly believes that as we get closer to nature and purse its preservation, we naturally develop a more spiritual consciousness.

Publications, Education & Memberships
DUNAS Project Affiliation

Undergraduate Volunteers:

Anna Eaton
Major: Anthropological Archaeology
Research Interest: Digital curation and community outreach
John Isla
Major: Anthropology with a concentration in Archaeology
Research Interest: Malacology, geology, and lithics
Favorite Fish: Ocellaris
Kaitlyn Callagher
Major: Marine Biology
Research interests: Marine sediment microbiology and malacology
Anna Mendelsohn
Major: Archeology
Minor: Biology
Research Interest: Lithics and ceramics
Ava Beisenstein
Major: Anthropology with a concentration in Archaeology
Minor: Marine science
Research Interest: marine archaeology, marine mammalogy, indigenous archaeology in the Midwest North America, classical archaeology
Javier Jose Hernandez
Major: Archeology
Research Interest: Environmental archeology
Cora Annamaiya Lotus Norling
Major: Near Eastern Archaeology
Research Interest: Underwater archaeology, human adaptation, human-environmental relations