Marine Science Full-Time Faculty

Schedule a Meeting with Marine Science Faculty

Karen Baker (Professor)

Karen BakerKaren has worked at Orange Coast College since 2005 in the Marine Science Department. Her love of the ocean has continued since her study abroad experience in St. Andrews Scotland, as well as her graduate work at San Diego State University. At San Diego State University she studied the behavior of bottlenose dolphins with R.H. Defran at the Cetacean Behavior Laboratory. Her favorite pastime is eating pizza.

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(714) 432-0202 ext. 23067

Lewis 105

Robert Ellis (Associate Professor)

Robert EllisRob has worked at Orange Coast College since 2011. He served as the director of the OCC Aquarium for 8 years and has coauthored three oceanography textbook editions with OCC Professor Emeritus, Tom Garrison. When not on campus, Rob often helps develop and teach international field courses in marine science and management in various parts of the Caribbean, Central America, and the South Pacific. His graduate work focused on marine resource management at UC Santa Barbara, and he has participated in and managed research projects and educational programs in many parts of the world.

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(714) 432-0202 ext. 23375

Lewis 106

Marine Science Part-Time Faculty

Jeff Armstrong

Jeff Armstrong

Dr. Jeff Armstrong is the Environmental Supervisor of the Orange County Sanitation District’s Ocean Monitoring Program. He has been with OC San for over 27 years, all in Ocean Monitoring. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Marine Biology and a master’s degree in Biology from the California State University, Long Beach, and a Ph.D. in Biological Oceanography from City University Los Angeles. Dr. Armstrong was formerly an adjunct professor of marine biology at CSU Long Beach where he worked in the Environmental Endocrinology Laboratory researching the effects of contaminant on the marine environment. Dr. Armstrong’s professional experience and interests include ocean water and sediment quality assessments, fish and invertebrate community health monitoring, and how marine policy and environmental law shape ocean conservation efforts.

Mary Blasius

Mary Blasius
Mary has worked at Orange Coast College since 2007.  She attended California State University Long Beach for her Master’s focusing her thesis research on legacy contaminants such as DDT in stranded seals and sea lions in southern California. Mary continues to be an active researcher in the field of environmental contamination with over ten peer-reviewed publications with her most recent research paper examining cigarette butt pollution in the marine environment. 

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Don Johnston

Don Johnston

Don has worked at Orange Coast College since 2014 in the Marine Science Department. Don found his passion for studying the Ocean while attending Orange Coast College straight out of High School. After Graduating from California State Long Beach, he worked as a Marine Field Biologist studying human impacts along the southern California Coast. He was hired by a local high school to expand its Marine Science program, which he has been working at for 25 years.

Erin Pereira

Erin PereiraErin Pereira is new to the Marine Science department faculty as of Fall 2021. She has spent the last ten years working in various aspects of the aquarium industry. For the past few years she has been the Director of Animal Care at Quality Marine, one of the nation’s largest aquarium fish wholesalers. Her graduate work focused on the aquaculture of the Hawaiian yellow tang, with an emphasis on early larval rearing conditions. At the Oceanic Institute in Hawaii, she was part of the team that successfully aquacultured the yellow tang, an important feat that many aquarium professionals previously considered a "hard to rear" ornamental aquarium species. Not anymore! 

Lisa Snyder

Lisa Snyder

Lisa has been working at Orange Coast College since 2004 in both the Marine Science and the Environmental Science and Ecology Departments.  Her graduate work, at California State University, Long Beach, focused on estuary restoration in Southern California and human impacts on the natural environment.

Lindsey Williamson

Lindsey WilliamsonLindsey has worked at Orange Coast College since 2017 in the Marine Science Department. She works as an aquarist at the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium in San Pedro, California. Here at OCC, she administers the Aquatic Animal Life Support Operator (AALSO) Level 1 Operator's Exam for aspiring aquarists, marine biologists, and marine scientists interested in aquatic animal care. Her graduate work focused on marine coastal ecology at Cal Poly Pomona, specifically human impacts on intertidal shorebirds. She is interested in marine plastic debris, marine algae, intertidal invertebrates, and shorebirds. Black oystercatchers, especially!

Video Gallery for Prospective Students

Department presentation from the 2021 Ocean Institute Marine and Environmental Science Virtual College Fair. This presentation is for prospective students interested in learning more about the opportunities available in marine science and technology at Orange Coast College.

Student panel presentation from the 2021 Ocean Institute Marine and Environmental Science Virtual College Fair. The student panel consisted of past OCC students discussing the advantage of attending community college as part of an undergraduate degree in marine science.

Promotional video for Orange Coast College with a fly-over campus tour of the college.

Useful Links for Students Interested in Marine Science

Marine Science-Related Career Paths
Marine science is an interdisciplinary field with opportunities available to students with a broad range of backgrounds and interests ranging from biology, geology, physics and engineering, to economics, law, communications and a variety of other subjects. Some marine careers are field-work based while others may center around primarily working in a laboratory setting, government agency office, or educational facility. Students are encouraged to explore the wide-ranging opportunities and career paths available to marine science students in the external links below: