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Sara Cannon


As a marine biologist who has collaborated with Indigenous peoples and local communities in the Pacific Islands, I am passionate about working to change conservation norms and moving away from exclusionary models of conservation and to justice-centered, rights-based and decolonial approaches (for example, check out the Decolonizing Conservation reading list I curate at I am currently wrapping up my PhD research at the University of British Columbia, where I studied the interactions between local and global stressors affecting coral reefs in the Micronesia region of the Pacific Ocean. I am thrilled to support the important work happening in the Salmon Watersheds Laboratory!

I grew up on the Chesapeake Bay in southern Maryland, USA on the traditional territory of the Piscataway people, where there is a vibrant maritime culture. The water has always been an important part of my life and I’ve wanted to be a marine biologist for as long as I can remember. I received my Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology the University of California Santa Cruz, which is located on the traditional territory of the Amam Mutsun peoples. I also earned a Master of Science in Geography from the University of British Columbia, for research investigating how local populations affect coral reef communities. Collectively, my work has challenged conventional ideas about what constitutes a healthy coral reef, and has demonstrated how the colonial histories of the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Republic of Kiribati, both atoll nations in the central Pacific, have created the conditions driving reef degradation today and have also made communities more vulnerable to climate-driven threats to these atolls, such as sea-level rise.

Learn more about me on my website or on my LinkedIn profile.

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