Leadership Team & Support Staff



Dean Wendt: SLOSEA Executive Director


Dean Wendt serves as SLOSEA's Executive Director as well as Associate Dean of Cal Poly's College of Science & Mathematics. Currently, he is also the Interim Director of the Cal Poly Center for Coastal Marine Sciences (CCMS). Dean pioneered the idea of SLOSEA serving Central Coast resource management needs by providing user-driven and ecosystem-based research conducted at the CCMS. He co-leads SLOSEA's fisheries research efforts with Rick Starr of Moss Landing Marine Labs and Cal Poly's Ryoden Nakamura, and also conducts research on the ecology and physiology of invertebrate larvae. Additionally, he serves as a mentor to SLOSEA Graduate Student Fellows and undergraduate researchers. Dean earned his BS in biology from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, followed by a masters and Ph.D. at Harvard University.

Adrienne Harris: Morro Bay National Estuary Program, Director


Adrienne Harris joined the MBNEP after working as a policy analyst for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Washington, DC. She has also worked with state and local government to protect water quality. She earned her BS from Purdue University and a masters degree in environmental management from Duke University. As the MBNEP Director, Adrienne serves in an advisory capacity to SLOSEA initiatives and helps to strengthen the partnership between the two organizations.

Melissa Locke: Marine Policy & Communications Manager


Melissa Locke works to integrate scientific research conducted at Cal Poly's Center for Coastal Marine Sciences to policy and resource management decision-making processes in local, state and federal forums. She also participates in grant writing and reporting activities, stakeholder outreach and communications, and often serves as a liaison between SLOSEA and its partners. Melissa brings her experience working for government agencies, NGOs, and in the private sector on projects related to natural resources law and policy as well as shareholder advocacy and environmental education. She earned a Juris Doctor from Vermont Law School where she focused on ocean and coastal law, and received her undergraduate degree in the Program in the Environment from the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and the Environment.

Don Maruska: Strategy and Fisheries Policy Advisor


Don Maruska has been a key contributor in building SLOSEA since its inception, and brings his extensive experience addressing natural resource management, policy and stakeholder issues. He leads SLOSEA in its efforts to apply ecosystem-based management to fisheries on the Central Coast of California, and he serves on the Pacific Fishery Management Council's Ecosystem Advisory Subpanel. Don co-authored a chapter in "Ecosystem-Based Management for the Oceans" (McLeod and Leslie, with Foreword by Lubchenco, 2009). He earned his MBA and JD from Stanford University and BA magna cum laude from Harvard in Government and served as legislative assistant in the U.S. Senate.

Leslie Rebik: Program Support


Leslie Rebik assists SLOSEA part-time with the coordination of budgeting, graduate student funding, and other important tasks while also working full-time within the department of Natural Resources Management and Environmental Science, a division of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences. Leslie earned a BS in Agricultural Science and an MS in Agriculture from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.