Events & Media

Bren Group Project is First Undertaking for Honda Marine Science Foundation

February 7, 2017

The Honda American Motor Company has established the Honda Marine Science Foundation with the mission of “helping to restore marine ecosystems and facilitate climate change resilience.” A brand-new foundation website has just been rolled out, and Honda is currently featuring it top center on the company's home page. A visit to the site reveals multiple Bren School connections and a video highlighting a Master's Group Project.

The foundation's ten-member Board of Directors includes Professor Hunter Lenihan, and pair of Bren alumnae: Sarah Abramson Sikich (MESM ’05) is vice president of the Santa Monica‒based nonprofit Heal the Bay, and Jessalyn Ishigo (MESM '13) is secretary of the foundation as well as a business analyst in Honda’s Environmental Business Development Office.

The first undertaking to receive foundation support is a 2016-17 Bren School Group Project that has the goal of establishing feasibility metrics for restoring native oyster populations in Southern California and Baja Mexico. Oysters are immensely valuable not only as a rich source of dietary protein, but also as natural water purifiers that are also referred to as “marine engineers” because they accrete to form reef structures that provide multiple ecosystem services.

The Group Project team is made up of second-year MESM students Colleen Grant, Brianna Group, Desmond Ho, Emily Read, and Erin Winslow. A video on the foundation website includes Lenihan explaining the Group Project and the goals of the foundation and shows Grant, Group, Ho, Read, and Winslow conducting lab work and field work at the Carpinteria Salt Marsh. The marsh is one of 39 sites in the University of California Natural Reserve System and one of six managed by UCSB, under the direction of Bren professor Patricia Holden.

The Honda partnership is an exciting one for the Bren School, and emblematic of the high profile it has achieved in its twenty-year history.

Visit the Honda website.


Oyster restoration Group Project members (from left) Emily Read, Colleen Grant, Erin Winslow, and Brianna Group measure juvenile oysters they and team member Desmond Ho (not shown) collected at the Carpinteria Salt Marsh Reserve.