In Summer 2014, I joined the Farallones Marine Sanctuary Association in San Francisco as the Science Education and Technology Specialist for LiMPETS (Long-term Monitoring Program and Experiential Training for Students). LiMPETS is an environmental monitoring and education program for students, educators, and volunteer groups throughout California. Approximately 5,500 teachers and students along the coast of California are involved with the collection of rocky intertidal and sandy beach data as part of the LiMPETS network.
I wish I got to do something like the LiMPETS program when I was growing up! It is amazing to see young adults get excited about marine biology as they identify animals in tide pools and core the beach for sand crabs. Along with taking students out in the field, I am developing new teaching tools and working on outreach. LiMPETS is growing and it is exciting to be a part of this great program.
In Summer 2013 and 2014 aboard the Nathaniel B. Palmer icebreaker, I joined an amazing group of scientists from the US, Chile, Peru, Belgium and Italy to research the ecosystem along the coast of the Antarctic Peninsula. The Antarctic Marine Living Resources (AMLR) program, funded by NOAA, contributes to the global mission of CCAMLAR (Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources), which regulates the krill fishery in the Southern Ocean.
I'm thrilled to have contributed as a zooplankton scientist on the 30-day expeditions. Along with examining zooplankton - specifically krill - distribution, the expeditions also investigated phytoplankton and microbial composition in the water column and Antarctic ice as well as marine mammal and seabird distribution across the Antarctic Peninsula.
I had the wonderful opportunity to join the San Diego Coastal Expedition last year when fellow graduate students from Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO) discovered a 1,040 meter-deep methane seep 20 miles off the coast of San Diego. The San Diego Coastal Expedition recovered sulfidic sediments, carbonate rocks, and biological evidence of a diverse chemosynthetic-based community. Geologists saw disruption in sedimentary rock from multibeam sonar and acoustic data indicating fluid was seeping from the seafloor. We collected sediment cores with a multicore to recover organisms from the seep. The most exciting find was siboglinid worms at the San Diego seep site indicating chemoautotrophic symbiosis.
During my time earning my Master's degree at Scripps Institution of Oceanography (UCSD), I worked with Dr. Lisa Levin and Dr. Ben Grupe on examining the biological community of the Del Mar methane seep; I looked at the sediment samples collected on the cruise and found a crazy variety of invertebrates!
In June 2011, I joined The Ocean Foundation and the University of Havana aboard the Sirenuse to investigate the coral reefs in Jardines de la Reina. There we encountered the enormous Goliath Grouper as well as numerous Caribbean Reef sharks. Most of the Jardines de la Reina area is a Marine Protected Area, and because of this, these reefs are some of the most healthy in the Caribbean. Big thanks to Ann and the Sirenuse crew for their amazing contribution to the project.
It was amazing seeing these beautiful reefs and meeting the American and Cuban scientists working on the project. To see my pictures from the expedition, go to my Cuba photography page.
Anderson Cooper came aboard the Sirenuse to report on the expedition and its findings. Dr. David Guggenheim, the head scientist, shows Cooper the reef's vibrant and rich ocean life in the 60 Minutes segment: Gardens of the Queen. To see the full story, click here.