Nicole Naar

Social Science and Education Specialist

Curriculum Vita



  • Collaboration, cooperation, and conflict in coastal social-ecological systems
  • Applied environmental social sciences (political ecology, behavioral ecology, cultural evolution, and economic anthropology)
  • Aquaculture policy and social license
  • Kelp conservation and recovery
  • Facilitation and project management
  • Community engagement and outreach
  • K-12 lesson planning and curriculum development


As an applied anthropologist and educator, Nicole works with coastal communities and resource users to respond to social-ecological challenges through collaboration, research, and education and outreach. She is currently the lead facilitator for the Willapa Bay-Grays Harbor Ecosystem-Based Management Collaborative, which emerged from the Washington Coast Shellfish Aquaculture Study coordinated by WSG. Nicole also works on projects related to seaweed aquaculture and kelp conservation, and collaboratively designs lessons and curricula that bring WSG’s research and extension work into K-12 classrooms. 

Before joining WSG, Nicole was a postdoctoral research associate with NOAA’s West Coast Regional Office in Seattle, where her role was to support Washington State’s emerging seaweed aquaculture industry. Her previous research as a National Science Foundation-funded NOAA intern on the cultural importance of kelp to Pacific Northwest Tribes was included in the Kelp Conservation and Recovery Plan. She was also a high school science teacher in southeastern Texas.

A native southerner, Nicole holds bachelor’s degrees in Anthropology and Environmental Studies from Emory University in Atlanta, GA. She earned her doctoral degree in Anthropology from the University of California-Davis, where she conducted fieldwork with fishing communities in Mexico and Tanzania. Nicole’s dissertation research examined how immigration and community diversity in Baja California Sur affect cooperation in the context of fisheries management. 

Nicole is a near-native Spanish speaker and enjoys traveling, camping, and cultural dance forms. Still a teacher at heart, she loves being able to combine her interest in interdisciplinary research, her passion for education and outreach, and her commitment to social justice as part of the WSG team. 



Washington Coast Shellfish Aquaculture Study
Kelp Conservation and Recovery Plan – Appendix B: The Cultural Importance of Kelp for Pacific Northwest Tribes
Kelp Forest Canopies Vital Sign
Restoring Puget Sound’s Underwater Forests (The Planet Magazine)
Building an Accessible Aquaculture Network (NOAA Fisheries Office of Aquaculture)