Visiting Scientists
2018 Conference

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Middle School Conference Presenters: 

Ashley “Peach” Marshall | Catalina Sea Camp Dive Director | Catalina Guided Discoveries 

Ms. Marshall grew up in the ocean and has always had a passion for anything in or on the water. After graduating from Boston College with degrees in Environmental Geoscience and Early Education, she was able to combine her two passions together on Catalina Island. Peach learned to scuba dive after moving to Catalina, and quickly realized her passion for diving. She became part of the Guided Discoveries team in 2011 as a Marine Science Instructor at Fox Landing. Since then she has worked as an Assistant Program Director at Cherry Cove and Toyon Bay. This career allows Peach to share her experiences with students and inspire others to love the ocean as much as she does. The camps provide students with skills that they can use for the rest of their lives, and a passion for the ocean that will not be forgotten.

Emily Klein | Associate Professor of Geology | Duke University, Nicholas School of the Environment 

The ocean is constantly moving, and by that we mean all parts of the sea—including the ocean floor! Although it may not look like it, the ocean floor expands and shrinks among pools of lava and plate tectonic action. Moving alongside these underwater processes is Marine Geochemist Emily Klein who studies these sizzling spots spewing with volcanic activity. As someone who loves the life of a research scientist, Emily has embarked on many expeditions and explored rifts (places where new oceanic crust is created) such as Hess Deep, Pito Deep, and the Incipient Ridge. Emily Klein first utilizes ROVs to observe and map the area under investigation, and then guides deep submersible Alvin to collect samples. By collecting samples of lava, she can analyze the chemical composition and identify the presence of crystals and variations in elements and isotopes. This allows her to tell a great deal about the magma’s journey to the surface and the formation of slabs of lava inside the crust called dikes. Her findings have changed the way that scientists view mid-ocean ridges and the eruption of new crust and magma from the ocean floor.

Jennifer Burnaford | Associate Professor | California State University, Fullerton

As an intertidal community ecologist, Jennifer Burnaford has years of experience working in intertidal systems along the US Pacific coast as well as in New Zealand and the Gulf of California. After graduating with a B.A. in biology from Dartmouth College, Jennifer received her Ph.D. from Oregon State University. Her current research focus is on understanding the community-level effects of habitat modification by algal canopies on rocky shores. Her comparative studies of plant-herbivore interactions on rocky shore as well as physiological ecology of algae allow her to travel along the coast from Washington to southern California. Her studies have also included the effects of non-native species on intertidal community, as well as kelp physiology and the effects of invasive clams and oysters in southern California. Dr. Burnaford has published in numerous scientific journals and collaborates with the Multi-Agency Rocky Intertidal Network (MARINe) on long-term monitoring efforts on rocky shores.

Juli Barron | Veterinary Technician | Aquarium of the Pacific 

Juli Barron has put her passion for animals and her interest in technology to work by pursuing a career as a veterinary technician at the Aquarium of the Pacific. She works with veterinarians to care for the animal collection at the aquarium, including annual exams, treating sick or injured animals, as well as managing the hospital. She works with a collection of incredibly diverse animals and is the go-to person when it comes to the use of technology in the management of the animals. A significant part of her job as a RVT is to understand the individual needs of each animal, physically as we as ecologically and psychologically. With such a diverse range of patients, from big to small and feathered to scaled, Ms. Barron must be prepared for every day and every patient to be different. Having a background in radiology, mathematics, and animal behavior as well as a B.S. in biology and ecology from University of Georgia in Athens sets Ms. Barron up for success in an incredibly competitive field.

Rebecca Ingram | Research Associate | Institute of Nautical Archaeology 

Rebecca Ingram’s interests lie in ancient Mediterranean seafaring and trade. After earning her M.A. and Ph.D. through the Nautical Archaeology Program at Texas A&M University, she began her research as a nautical archaeologist and historian. Her passion for travel and cultural exchange began at a young age, and her search for the understanding of the significance of ancient artifacts led her to her current career. Since 2000, she has been spending part of each year in the eastern Mediterranean studying artifacts in Turkey. Between 2005 and 2008, she worked with the INA team at the Theodosian Harbor excavations in Istanbul on 37 Byzantine shipwrecks. Studying shipwrecks in this area can illuminate much about the history of ancient human seafaring and trade, including the development of shipbuilding technology. She continues to study material from the Theodosian Harbor and participates in underwater surveys of new sites. Dr. Ingram will be sharing her research and techniques for her nautical discoveries at the Girls in Ocean Science Conference.

Kelsey Bisson | Graduate Student Researcher | University of California, Santa Barbara

Ms. Bisson is known for her use of technology in studying the role of phytoplankton community structure in determining the magnitude of carbon export flux from the ocean surface. She uses satellites to learn about the biological communities of the ocean because satellites cover more significant areas of ocean in a shorter period of time than ships. She supplements her satellite data with field work to profile different areas of the sample site. Ms. Bisson was also recently the recipient of a grant to study aboard the R/V Sally Ride on a graduate-student led expedition to observe the marine plankton in Santa Barbara. She understands the important role phytoplankton plays not to just the local ocean, but to the climate of the entire world.

Misty Paig-Tran | Assitant Professor | California State University, Fullerton 

Have you ever wondered how a whaleshark eats? Or how a scallop sticks to the side of a rock? Well Misty Paig-Tran has the answers! She started years ago at a community college, where she volunteered at the Aquarium of the Pacific in the husbandry department. This valuable experience paved the way for her life-long passion of sea life. She eventually received her degree from CSU Long Beach in marine biology, then continued her education and received her PhD. She currently teaches at CSU Fullerton, and researches mechanics of filter-feeding with an emphasis on large elasmobranchs (sharks, skates, and rays). She runs the FABB Lab (Functional Anatomy, Biomechanics, and Biomaterials) and continues to do field research and publish in scientific journals. How do deep-sea fish live in a habitat that would crush other animals? How can the scales of fish inspire us to create state-of-the-art armor? Misty will be sharing these answers and others with the girls of the Girls in Ocean Science Conference.

Sabrina Mashburn | Owner & Sole Proprietor | Sabrina Mashburn Environmental Consulting 

Few people in Southern California are aware that we are home to a thriving population of green sea turtles. These beautiful animals look for food in shallow murky waters off our coast and can grow to nearly 600 pounds in our area. Sabrina Mashburn is one of a few scientists who are studying the relationship between these turtles and the people who share those waters. The greatest threats to the green sea turtles in our area are boat strikes and entanglement. Sabrina has dedicated her time to researching the connection between awareness of green sea turtle population and human impacts on these animals. By promoting green sea turtle awareness, she hopes to protect them from human impacts like boats and debris. After graduating from Scripps Institute of Oceanography with a Master’s degree, Ms. Mashburn created her own environmental consulting firm and a citizen science project called SoCal Sea Turtle. This project allows citizen scientists to participate in sea turtle identification and monitoring in Southern California. Ms. Mashburn continues to promote sea turtle conservation and the participation of local people and fisherman to protect these beautiful animals.