Denny Takahashi-Kelso, Ph.D., J.D.

Program Director, Marine Conservation


Denny leads the Marine Conservation Initiative, overseeing the foundation’s work on ocean planning and reforming fisheries management.

Denny Takahashi-Kelso, Ph.D., J.D.


He has dedicated his career to ocean conservation, most recently as senior counsel at the Ocean Conservancy, where his work included Arctic ecosystem protection and science-based ecosystem restoration in the Gulf of Mexico following the BP oil disaster.

Previously, Denny was a program officer in conservation and science at the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. He has also served as an assistant professor of environmental studies and the associate director of the STEPS (Science, Technology, Engineering, Policy, and Society) Institute for Innovation in Environmental Research at UC Santa Cruz, and worked as an independent consultant advising on natural resources and environmental protection issues in Juneau, AK, and Seattle, WA.

Denny began his career in natural resource management roles with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and then as Alaska Commissioner of Environmental Conservation. During his time as commissioner, he helped to oversee the state's response to the Exxon Valdez oil spill and enforce cleanup standards.

Denny holds a B.S. in psychology from Iowa State University, a J.D. in environmental law from Harvard University, and a Ph.D. in energy and resources from the University of California, Berkeley.


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