Environmental Science Associate Professor Marco Hatch recently received a grant from The Pew Charitable Trusts for his research of Indigenous shellfish gardens, work that combines mainstream science and ancestral knowledge.
Hatch, one of seven researchers from around the world awarded the 2023 Pew Fellowship in Marine Conservation, studies sea gardens, terraced intertidal areas created to extend habitats suitable for cultivating clams as food. Indigenous people have been building sea gardens along the shores of the Pacific Northwest for millennia.
A member of the Samish Indian Nation, Hatch will help create a collaborative network of Indigenous community members and researchers throughout the Pacific Northwest aiming to support Indigenous-led restoration of ancestral sea gardens. The impacts of colonialism have interrupted active management of most sea gardens, but there’s a growing movement to reactivate sea garden stewardship in the Pacific Northwest to restore these culturally important shellfish areas and support marine conservation.
Hatch will receive $150,000 over three years.
In addition to his work in the lab, Hatch is dedicated to the students in his classroom and has a special passion for mentoring the next generation of scientists from underserved communities and populations. He is also adept at community-building.
“I have seen his incredible ability to build meaningful relationships with others,” said graduate student Jackelyn Garcia. “These people are Indigenous communities and non-native peoples; academics and non-academics. Marco has worked tirelessly to connect these people with information relevant to Indigenous marine management, and that, in turn, has been critical to decision-making in their communities.”
The Pew Fellows Program in Marine Conservation supports mid-career scientists and other experts seeking solutions to challenges affecting the world’s oceans. Fellows are selected by an international committee of marine science experts with a range of expertise following a rigorous nomination and review process.
Hatch holds a doctorate in biological oceanography and a master’s degree in marine biology from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California at San Diego. He earned a bachelor’s degree in fisheries and aquatic sciences from the University of Washington and has taught at Western since 2016.