Tawny Mata
Tawny Mata

Dr. Tawny Mata will join us as Executive Director of the Coastal and Marine Sciences Institute


Dr. Tawny Mata will join us in August 2019 as the new Executive Director of the Coastal and Marine Sciences Institute at UC Davis.

We are extremely fortunate to have someone with her talents and experience to help lead us through the next steps of implementing our Strategic Plan, strengthening and expanding our internal and external programs and partnerships, and continuing to build on the foundation that our remarkable community has developed since CMSI launched, barely 6 years ago.

Tawny is an alum of UC Davis, receiving her Ph.D. in Ecology in 2012 (with Marcel Holyoak).  She was among the first trainees in our Biological Invasions IGERT, deeply committed from the start to interdisciplinary research and training at the science-policy interface. Much of her field research was based at Bodega Marine Lab working at the land-sea interface. Since then, she’s been a AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow at USDA, as well as the Coordinator of the U.S. Pollinator Health Task Force. In 2016, she became Scientific Program Director of the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, and most recently worked as the Director for Strategic Engagement for the The Nature Conservancy in the Great Lakes region.   

Biography Dr. Tawny Mata has pursued a lifelong goal of contributing to sustainability through science. In 2013, Dr. Mata was awarded an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science and Technology Policy Fellowship at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Office of the Chief Scientist. During her tenure as an AAAS Fellow and later as the USDA Partnership Coordinator for the U.S. Pollinator Health Task Force, Dr. Mata worked on several major initiatives to protect wildlife, build climate resilience, and enhance food security. In 2016, she joined the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research as a Scientific Program Director, managing a grant portfolio that spanned education, conservation, and plant health with an aim of finding evidence-based, practical solutions to challenges in food and agriculture. In 2017, Dr. Mata accepted a position as Director of Strategic Engagement for The Nature Conservancy and the Great Lakes Commission's Blue Accounting Initiative, where she led an external affairs team to promote collaborative, data-informed management of water resources across the eight states, two provinces, and two countries in the Great Lakes Basin. 

Dr. Mata received her B.A. in Biology from Pomona College and her Ph.D. in Ecology from UC Davis. When not dreaming up new and better ways to promote evidence-based natural resource management, you can find her cooking, riding one of her many bikes, or enjoying the company of her husband, Ryan, and two dog-children, Rocky and Falkor.