Science Team Bios

David McGuire, MPH, Director & Founder Sea Stewards

A marine biologist and ocean advocate, David McGuire is the founder of the Ocean Health and Shark Conservation non profit Sea Stewards. As a Research Associate of the Department of Aquatic Biology at the California Academy of Sciences, David is conducting a shark research program that includes population studies, movements and fisheries impacts.  As Captain, Dive Master and filmmaker, David has explored the world ocean on numerous sailing voyages producing media with an emphasis on ocean awareness. Educated in Marine Biology, he holds a masters degree in Environmental Health and has worked in education and public health at the University of California at Berkeley for over a decade.

David is the writer, producer and underwater cinematographer of several award winning documentaries focusing on sharks. David has recently  produced a new documentary on the Sharks of San Francisco Bay and has recently worked as cameraman on feature films such as 180 South with Patagonia and A Beautiful Wave. Films in production includes a film on shark conservation and a series on local sustainable seafood. He has also published numerous articles on the state of the ocean and sharks and writes a blog on sharks and ocean health.Through Sea Stewards he catalyzed the coalition leading to the passage of  the California Shark Conservation Act (Fong, Huffman) in the State of California,the Shark Conservation Act, AB 376. The Shark Stewards project is dedicated to ending shark finning and the shark fin trade.  Work on fin regulation is ongoing in other US states and in the Western Pacific through the Pacific Shark Coalition he founded with Asian partners.  As documentarian and diver, he has conducted expeditions with Academy researchers communicating the wonders of the natural world and ocean life and the need to protect them, including a 2011 two month expedition to the Philippines where he collected and filmed. His work testing seafood and evaluating sustainable fishing influences policies and practices from local to international levels.

David is author of numerous articles and fiction and no fiction books including Surviving the Shark.  He sits on several boards of non-profits including The San Francisco Green Film Festival and the Cordell Bank Marine Sanctuary Association. He has received numerous awards for his work including an award for Journalism with KQED for the investigative story Sea Horse Sleuth, the 2011 Hero of Marin Environmental Stewardship Award, and an Emmy award for his work on the documentary Reefs to Rainforests.

Wallace J Nichols PhD, Ocean Revolution

Wallace “J.” Nichols spends his time discovering nature. Currently, J. works with several universities and organizations to advance ocean protection, including Senior Research Scientist at the Ocean Conservancy, California Academy of Sciences as a Research Associate, Conservation Science Advisor for ProPeninsula, on a global bycatch study with Duke University and Blue Ocean Institute, and as a board member of Animal Alliance , Coastwalk, Drylands Institute, Oceana and Reef Protection International. He is also spearheading the Ocean Revolution, a program that inspires, involves and mentors the next generation of ocean conservation leaders.Dr. Nichols has undertaken the task of reaching new constituencies with a positive and inclusive conservation message and building a network of like-minded people, from diverse regions, backgrounds and careers who share a commitment to maintaining abundant life in the oceans and on the coasts. In 1998 he founded the Grupo Tortuguero, an international grassroots movement dedicated to restoring Pacific sea turtles and to sustainable management of ocean fisheries. In 1999 he co-founded and for five years directed WiLDCOAST, an international conservation team dedicated to the protection of coastal wilderness where he and a diverse group of partners organized fishermen to protect endangered sea turtles and helped coastal ranchers protect their shore for future generations. Through field research, his work with commercial fishermen, and the time he spends in coastal villages, he encounters among people a common appreciation for the ocean’s beauty, abundance and mysteries. Nichols finds successful conservation efforts often include unexpected alliances and that there is common ground to be found between so-called “enemies” of nature. J. is author of more than fifty scientific papers, book chapters, popular articles, and reports on sea turtle ecology and ocean conservation. He is the author of the children’s book Chelonia: Return of the sea turtle, and co-author of the screenplay Adelita’s Journey based on the true story of one loggerhead sea turtle’s epic 24,000 km migration from Japan to Mexico and back home again. J. continues to share his research with millions of school children around the world through school and aquarium visits, field trips, the Internet and various publications and writing projects. J.’s projects and philosophy incorporates participatory science, social networking, and creative communication to inspire a healthier relationship with the sea.

Jack Dumbacher, PhD Biologist Curator Birds and Mammals California Academy of Sciences

Jack Dumbacher is curator of Birds and Mammals at the California Academy of Sciences. He has studied New Guinea and western Pacific birds for over 15 years, and he is currently focused on molecular systematics of birds and mammals in China and southern Africa as well as New Guinea and the Western Pacific. Now living on the west coast after working at Smithsonian for nearly seven years, Jack is enjoying sailing with Sea Stewards and learning more about the birds of the eastern Pacific rim, including pelagic species in the Gulf of the Farallones. An avid sailor, Jack has acted as onboard naturalist at the Farallones Islands with the non profit “Call of the Sea.” Dr. Dumbacher has numerous scientific publications and is is curently planning an expedition with Sea Stewards to study birds and other vertebrates in many of the remote and understudied islands.

Healy Hamilton PhD, Center for Biodiversity Research and Informatics, California Academy of Sciences  
Dr. Hamilton is a biodiversity research scientist at the California Academy of Sciences, and adjunct professor in the Department of Geography at San Francisco State University. She is the founding director of a program that integrates biological and geospatial data for biodiversity research, conservation and education at the Academy. She received her masters degree from Yale University’s School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and her Ph.D. in Integrative Biology from the University of California, Berkeley. For both degrees she conducted extensive field research in Latin America. Her research uses comparative DNA sequence analysis to reconstruct the Tree of Life for certain groups of organisms, including whales, dolphins and seahorses. Dr. Hamilton is a former U.S. Fulbright Fellow and a Switzer Foundation Environmental Leadership Grantee. As a Dive Master and scientist, her work studying Sea Horse genetics has taken her across the Pacific from the Amazon River basin to the reefs of Australia and now to the coastline of California. Dr. Hamilton’s recent work uses climate change modeling to predict the impacts on biodiversity.