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About This Blog

They say if you have to repeat the same task more than a three times write a function, and if you have explain the same material more than three times write a blog. In that spirit, most of these posts are my solutions to problems that I’ve frequently had to explain to myself or others, mostly in the form of longer vignettes. These aren’t intended to be definitive “answers” to a problem, but rather illustrations of the approach that I chose to take. Hopefully these examples help you with your research, or at least spark conversations about better approaches.

My work is mostly in fisheries, so many of the posts will be demonstrations of data-science tools that I’ve had to use to solve fisheries-related problems. Others will be discussions of papers and ideas in fisheries and natural resource management, and when time allows I’m hoping to squeeze in some general music-related data-science geekery.


I develop data-driven tools and ideas to help manage marine resources. My current projects include using the behavior of fishermen to predict the abundance of fish, estimating the conservation impacts of marine protected areas, and integrating economic information into data-limited stock assessments. Other projects include helping design and teach fisheries management strategies, looking at the factors that help make fisheries management work, and researching the state of global marine resources.

I received my B.S. from the University of Miami, and my Master’s in Environmental Science and Management from the Bren School at UC Santa Barbara. After that I worked as a research scientist for the Sustainable Fisheries Group for several years, before returning to the Bren School to do a PhD with Dr. Chris Costello and Dr. Steve Gaines. I did my postdoc and then worked as a research engineer with Dr. Ray Hilborn at the University of Washington School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences from 2018-2022. I am currently a senior quantitative fisheries scientist at the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission.


I am available for consulting contracts regarding environmental data science, R instruction, statistics, fisheries, and marine conservation. Please contact me here if you would like to discuss a potential contract.

Selected Publications

Ovando, D., Caselle, J.E., Costello, C., Deschenes, O., Gaines, S.D., Hilborn, R., Liu, O., 2021. Assessing the population-level conservation effects of marine protected areas. Conservation Biology n/a.

Ovando, D., Hilborn, R., Monnahan, C., Rudd, M., Sharma, R., Thorson, J.T., Rousseau, Y., Ye, Y., 2021. Improving estimates of the state of global fisheries depends on better data. Fish and Fisheries n/a.

Ovando, D., Liu, O., Molina, R., Szuwalski, C., 2021. Models of marine protected areas must explicitly address spatial dynamics. PNAS 118.

Ovando, D., Hilborn, R., Monnahan, C., Rudd, M., Rishi Sharma, Thorson, J., Rousseau, Y., Yimin Ye, In Press. Improving Estimates of the State of Global Fisheries Depends on Better Data. Fish and Fisheries 84041677 Bytes.

Ovando, D., Libecap, G.D., Millage, K.D., Thomas, L., 2020. Coasean Approaches to Address Overfishing: Bigeye Tuna Conservation in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean. Marine Resource Economics 000–000.

Ovando, D., Dougherty, D., Wilson, J.R., 2016. Market and design solutions to the short-term economic impacts of marine reserves. Fish and Fisheries 17, 939–954.

Ovando, D.A., Deacon, R.T., Lester, S.E., Costello, C., Van Leuvan, T., McIlwain, K., Strauss, K.C., Arbuckle, M., Fujita, R., Gelcich, S., Uchida, H., 2013. Conservation incentives and collective choices in cooperative fisheries. Marine Policy 37, 132–140.

Ovando, D., Poon, S., Costello, C., 2017. Opportunities and precautions for integrating cooperation and individual transferable quotas with territorial use rights in fisheries. Bulletin of Marine Science 93, 101–115.

Hilborn, R., Ovando, D., 2014. Reflections on the success of traditional fisheries management. ICES Journal of Marine Science 71, 1040–1046.

Costello, C., Ovando, D., Clavelle, T., Strauss, C.K., Hilborn, R., Melnychuk, M.C., Branch, T.A., Gaines, S.D., Szuwalski, C.S., Cabral, R.B., Rader, D.N., Leland, A., 2016. Global fishery prospects under contrasting management regimes. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 113, 5125–5129.

Costello, C., Ovando, D., Hilborn, R., Gaines, S.D., Deschenes, O., Lester, S.E., 2012. Status and Solutions for the World’s Unassessed Fisheries. Science 338, 517–520.

Costello, C., Ovando, D., 2019. Status, Institutions, and Prospects for Global Capture Fisheries. Annual Review of Environment and Resources 44, 177–200.