Open to the Public

Melissa Garren

March 10th discussion with Dr. Garren is our last lecture for the season, out of abundance of caution regarding COVID-19.  The public is invited, no registration required, however those who are symptomatic, and those in high-risk categories are urged to stay home.  This lecture will be filmed, and put up on the Center for the Blue Economy MIIS You Tube channel. 

Technology, Entrepreneurship, and the Triple Bottom Line in Ocean and Coastal Sustainability
Discussion with Dr. Melissa Garren
Tuesday, March 10, 2020
6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
Middlebury Institute of International Studies
McGowan Building, Room 100
411 Pacific Street, Monterey

Free, No Registration Required

About the Topic

With all of the challenges that society and the environment currently face, there is an ever growing need to think outside of the box and find win-win-win solutions that are socially, ecologically, and financially sustainable. This talk will discuss how integrated efforts that capitalize on technology, creative thinking, and the social fabric of our communities can make a positive impact for coastal communities on food security and sustainability through innovative approaches to fisheries management. We will examine a handful of case studies from around the globe, and discuss the core elements of success that are shared amongst them.

About the Speaker

Dr. Garren is Founder and CEO of Working Ocean Strategies—a firm dedicated to advancing social, financial, and ecological sustainability in the oceans space.

Holding a Ph.D. in Marine Biology from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, with a completed postdoctoral fellowship in the Dpt. of Civil and Environmental Engineering at MIT, and >20 years of experience underwater as a PADI certified scuba Divemaster, Melissa Garren brings substantial expertise to the intersection of technology and marine conservation. Melissa’s passion for and focus on the application of cutting-edge technologies to marine conservation solutions has remained constant since the earliest days of her scientific career when she completed her undergraduate work in Molecular Biology at Yale University, where her thesis brought novel molecular tools to bear on questions surrounding coral reef conservation.  

In a former role as COO & Chief Scientist at Pelagic Data Systems (PDS) Melissa leveraged her extensive experience and practical knowledge working with local communities and diverse groups of stakeholders around the globe to foster fishery sustainability and healthy nearshore water quality. In addition to awards PDS received in 2018 from the National Geographic Society and SeaWeb, in early 2019 Conscious Company named Melissa to its “35 World-Changing Women in Conscious Business 2019” – aptly placing her in a cohort transforming business, and the planet, for the better. A frequent speaker at international conferences on topics such as combating Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing, Melissa is often called on as a technical expert by UN Agencies such as the FAO and national governments. She is also Adjunct Research Faculty at California State University Monterey Bay in the Department of Applied Environmental Science.

In 2019, Dr. Garren joined the Center for the Blue Economy Advisory Council.

See Dr. Garren’s Ted Talk:

Learn more about her former colleagues:  Pelagic Data Systems

Lecture Location:  McGowan 100

The McGowan Building is located at 411 Pacific Street, Monterey, CA  93940, on the corner of Franklin and Pacific. Enter from Pacific street through a set of glass double-doors (use set of doors on the left), MG100 is inside on immediate left.   View the campus map.


Parking is available in any Middlebury Institute campus lot after 5 p.m., or on the street (time limits on surrounding streets end at 6 p.m.)


The Center for the Blue Economy is a research organization at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies.  Our mission is to promote a sustainable ocean and coastal economy (the “Blue Economy”) through leadership in research, analysis, and education.  For questions contact: Rachel C. at or visit or call 831-647-4183.



McGowan MG100
McGowan Building
411 Pacific St
Monterey, CA 93940