Service Learning Institute

Robin Pelc


Photo of Robin Pelc smiling among redwoods

As COS/Americorps Service Learning Coordinator, I support our College of Science service learning faculty and partner organizations and our Americorps partner organizations and fellows. In addition, I have taught upper-division marine science and biology service learning at CSUMB since the Fall of 2018. It is truly a dream job for me, as it blends my science interests, passion for both social justice and environmental conservation, and love of teaching. I feel fortunate to be a part of the CSUMB Service Learning community!

I received my B.Sc. and M.Sc. from Stanford University's Earth Systems program, which taught me to view environmental issues with an interdisciplinary lens and consider humans as a part of the system. It also gave me the life-changing opportunity to spend a quarter at the Hopkins Marine Station in Pacific Grove -- at which time I decided I wanted to study the ocean and live here forever. However, it took me a while to manage to come back. After graduating, I worked for the environmental non-profit Environmental Defense Fund, spent a few months doing coastal resource management work for the island nation of Palau, and then went to UC Santa Barbara, where I completed my Ph.D. in Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology. My interests in fisheries sustainability then brought me back to Monterey for a position at the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch Program. I worked for over eight years before beginning teaching at CSUMB.

In addition to being part of the Service Learning program, I also work in fisheries sustainability and greenhouse gas verifications and run a project building and donating DIY air filters. I enjoy outdoor activities, especially camping, kayaking, tide-pooling, hiking, and gardening. I live in Pacific Grove with my husband (another CSUMB faculty member), two young kids, a tuxedo cat, and chickens.

Title: College of Science / AmeriCorps Service Learning Coordinator
Phone: 512-963-4556

Social Justice Interest Areas / Social Justice Concerns:

Climate crisis, plastic pollution, ocean biodiversity loss, environmental racism, air pollution

Research, Community Involvement, Achievements:

My research background is in Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and their effects on sustainable fisheries, and I have worked in MPAs in Palau and South Africa as well as right here in California. I currently help advise and support fisheries seeking to improve and attain eco-certification. In addition, I recently completed a research fellowship with Project Drawdown, a leading research organization focused on climate solutions.

Community activities include founding CARE Monterey, a grassroots program with the mission of ensuring clean, healthy air for members of our community; engaging as a member of the Technical Advisory Committees for both the Monterey County Climate Action Plan and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Program, and serving at my children's school as PTA treasurer and a member of the site council.


Jankowska, E., R. Pelc, J. Alvarez, M. Mehra, and C.J. Frischmann. 2022. “Climate benefits from establishing Marine Protected Areas targeted at blue carbon solutions.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 119. In press.

Lewison, R., A. Johnson, J. Gan, K. Segerson, R. Pelc, K. Westfall, and M. Helvey. 2019. “Accounting for transfer effects in resource policy: unifying disciplinary research to prevent backfires of environmental and conservation policies.” Conservation Letters 12(3): e12628.

Pelc, R. “Conservation and Bycatch Mitigation in Tuna Fisheries,” 68th Tuna Conference, 2017.

Pelc, R., L.M. Max, W. Norden, S. Roberts, R. Silverstein, and S.R. Wilding. 2015. “Further action on bycatch could boost United States fisheries performance.” Marine Policy 56: 56-60.

Micheli, F., G. De Leo, G.G. Shester, R.G. Martone, S.E. Lluch-Cota, C. Butner, L.B. Crowder, R. Fujita, S. Gelcich, M. Jain, S.E. Lester, B. McCay, R. Pelc, and A. Sáenz-Arroyo. 2014. “A system‐wide approach to supporting improvements in seafood production practices and outcomes.” Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 12(5): 297-305.

Pelc, R., R. Warner, S. Gaines and C. Paris. 2010. “Detecting larval export from marine reserves.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 107(43): 18266-18271.

Pelc, R., M. Baskett, T. Tanci, S. Gaines and R. Warner. 2009. “Quantifying larval export from South African marine reserves.” Marine Ecology Progress Series 394: 65-78.

Pelc, R. and R. Fujita. 2002. “Renewable Energy from the Ocean.” Marine Policy 26: 471-479.