Monika is the Science Education and Technology Specialist for the LiMPETS program at the Farallones Marine Sanctuary Association in San Francisco. This citizen science educational program inspires youth up and down the California coast and produces a wide-spread and long-term dataset of CA coastal ecosystem health.
Originally from Los Gatos, a small town south of San Francisco, Monika graduated from Princeton University with a degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. After graduating from Princeton, she worked as a PR and Marketing Director in New York City and for Green Renaissance, an environmental film company in South Africa.
She earned a Master's degree at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UCSD. She researched benthic ecology, specifically chemosynthetic-based ecosystems. With the Levin lab at Scripps, she identified the first infaunal invertebrates from the Del Mar Methane Seep and studied the seep's macrofauna composition.
Monika also works with the Antarctic Ecosystem Research Division of NOAA on an annual 30-day expedition along the Antarctic Peninsula.
Monika is a SCUBA diving fanatic, adventurer, and general lover of mischief. Along with diving and traveling, she loves playing tennis, swimming, biking, and watching action movies. Team In Training is a huge part of her life. After she completed the San Diego Rock N Roll Marathon (2012) - a feat which would not have been possible without Team - she was hooked. Team In Training benefits The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and provides training for teams across the country.
October 18, 2014: I love my job and I love my new city!
September 25, 2014: I just returned from my second AMLR expedition in Antarctica! Once again, this research cruise was an amazing experience. I learned so much and had a great time. This year, our team finished every sampling station on the AMLR grid. While I'd like to say that we accomplished this because we were so productive and efficient, the weather played a big role in our success. It was very warm compared to last year and we didn't have any storms. There was also not as much ice. The weather and ocean conditions were very atypical of Antarctic winter and I can't help but think of climate change and its effect on this amazing continent.
July 12, 2014: I recently started working for the Farallones Marine Sanctuary Association with the LiMPETS citizen science program. LiMPETS is an environmental monitoring and education program for students, educators, and volunteer groups throughout California. My move to San Francisco is going smoothly and I've been enjoying exploring the city.
February 8, 2014: Last year, I graduated from University of California, San Diego with a Masters at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. The classes at Scripps were amazing, my favorites being Marine Invertebrates with Dr. Greg Rouse (he wrote the book on worms, literally), Paleobiology with Dr. Dick Norris, and Marine Law and Policy with Dr. Kathryn Mengerick. I learned how to apply science to inform the public, educate children, and influence policy-makers -- Important stuff given the state of our world.
October 12, 2013: In August and September, I took a break from benthic ecology to investigate the pelagic invertebrate community in the Southern Ocean. Aboard the Nathaniel B. Palmer icebreaker, I joined a group of scientists from the US, Chile, Peru, 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 for the 30-day expedition. Along with examining zooplankton - specifically krill - distribution, the expedition also investigated phytoplankton and microbial composition in the water column and Antarctic ice.
March 2, 2013: Currently, I am working with Dr. Lisa Levin and Ben Grupe on the biological community of the Del Mar methane seep. Through this research, I joined the San Diego Coastal Expedition, a student-run research cruise aboard the R/V Melville. Now, I look at the sediment samples collected on the cruise and find a crazy variety of invertebrates!
November 22, 2012: While I have always been passionate about marine life, an amazing research expedition to Cuba's southern reefs solidified this decision to enter the oceanography field. I worked with a great group of people in Cuba and experienced the most incredible dives (check out this picture of a Caribbean reef sharks and me).