Girls in Ocean Science Teen Conferences
GIOS Middle School Teen Conference: February 9, 2013
GIOS High School Teen Conference: March 16, 2013
These exciting conferences are dedicated to inspiring young women to pursue degrees and careers in the sciences. Sixteen prominent female scientists from around the country will interact with the girls in a series of hands-on workshops aboard our research vessel, Sea Explorer, and in the Ocean Institute’s teaching labs. The conferences, split into two day-long programs, are designed for enthusiastic middle and high school girls who have an interest in science. Girls will explore careers in areas such as ocean conservation, marine biology and ecology, oceanography, and animal husbandry. Reservations are required; please see below for registration dates.
Time: 8:30am – 3pm
Cost: $20/participant (includes lunch)
Registration dates for both conferences:
Early Registration (Ocean Institute members and volunteers): November 20, 2012
General Registration: December 11, 2012
Register online or call (949) 496-2274. (sold out)
For any other questions about the GIOS conferences, please contact Shanette Grieve at
firstname.lastname@example.org or (949) 496-2274 ext. 339
Presenters for the GIOS Middle School Teen Conference – February 9, 2013
Biologist, Protected Resources Division, Southwest Fisheries Science Center
From wolves in the snowy, Canadian woodland, to sea turtles in the South Pacific, Libby Williamson-Ehlers's passion is to help protect some of nature's most precious resources: wild and endangered species! As an experienced conservation ecologist and a biologist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Libby studies predator-prey relationships between wolves and caribou in the wild to find better ways to manage and protect these animals and their environments. She is excited to study some new animals, like marine mammals, very soon! Learn more about the ocean's amazing resources at http://swfsc.noaa.gov.
Director of Education, Marine Mammal Rescuer, Pacific Marine Mammal Center
Saving injured whales and visiting with baby sea lions are practically day-to-day occurrences for Kelli Lewis. How cool is that?! At the Pacific Marine Mammal Center, Kelli is helping save the world's ocean animals, one marine mammal at a time by helping rescue sick dolphins and teaching young students about the lifestyles and marine habitats of our flippered friends. Visit Kelli and the charismatic seals at the PMMC in Laguna Beach, or read their stories at www.pacificmmc.org.
Sea Otter Scientist, USGS (United States Geological Survey)
With all that fluffy fur and cute button noses, who wouldn’t fall in love? Darlene Khalafi tracks one of the ocean’s most adorable creatures, the formerly endangered Southern Sea Otter for the United States Geological Survey. Using radio tracking equipment, Darlene finds tagged otters up and down the coast on foot or by boat. Collecting data on otter locations, feeding habits, activities and associations, Darlene is making sure the Southern Sea Otter doesn’t find its way back onto the endangered species list ever again!
Dr. Rachel Ann Merz
Professor, Department of Biology, Swarthmore College
Imagine yourself shrinking into the microscopic world of bugs and worms where blades of grass are colossal skyscrapers and pools of water are syrup thick. Dr. Merz studies the small-scale realm of invertebrates by examining the ecology and evolution of these tiny critters from a biomechanical perspective. One little critter she looks at is the marine polychaete and its setae (hair-like extensions) that come in different sizes and shapes, helping with anchoring, shoveling, positioning and swimming. What features would you have if you were 1-1/2 inches tall living in a benthic environment? To learn more about Dr. Merz’s research on polychaete worms and flies, check out her webpage at http://www.swarthmore.edu/academics/biology/faculty/dr-rachel-ann-merz.xml.
Pat Peterson Werre
Chemist, Vice President of Research & Development, Aveda Corporation, Estée Lauder Companies
Pat Peterson is one scientist who can really talk cosmetics. A lead chemist for Aveda products, Pat specializes in the formulation of plant-based products for hair, skin, and body. What role do oceans play? One plant: seaweed! Seaweed has many different complex components that can help with wrinkles and others can aid as an anti-inflammatory agent. Peterson has noticed that plants have an uncanny ability to protect themselves chemically in nature and may also be beneficial to human health. Such natural approaches to product development avoid the use of synthetic ingredients. So, next time you get frustrated when tangled in pile of kelp at the beach, keep in mind that it’ll keep your skin healthy.
Dr. Kayla Causey
Cognitive Ethologist; Principal Investigator, Coastal Dolphins of Orange County (CDOC) Project; Lecturer, Cal State University, Fullerton
Although we may look and physically function a bit differently, humans have more in common with dolphins than you think. Only a year ago Dr. Causey started a project with CDOC to study the social network of dolphins. She aims to compare cognition between humans and dolphins. Like humans and primates, dolphins possess problem solving skills, tool use, self awareness, playful behavior, and other comparable characteristics. Who knows, they may even engage in their own form of Facebook-like social profiling. To learn more about Kayla and what she studies, check out her webpage at http://www.kaylacausey.com/Kayla_B._Causey/Homepage.html.
Aquarist, Aquarium of the Pacific, Long Beach, CA
A dive into tropical waters in the middle of winter without leaving home? Sounds too good to be true! Jennifer Gilbertson is responsible for the care required for several exhibits in the Tropical Pacific gallery at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach. She ensures the health of the animals in the exhibits with feedings, water quality management and tank cleanliness. Plus, Jennifer gives presentations and tours to aquarium visitors. Jennifer certainly dives right into her work, often among live coral and sea dragons! To check out some of the awesome exhibits Jennifer maintains every day, visit: http://www.aquariumofpacific.org/exhibits/tropical_pacific_gallery
Co-Founder, 5 Gyres Institute; Education Contractor, Algalita Marine Research Institute
Plastic, plastic, everywhere! So functional, but always there… Did you know that there is an enormous soup of trash in the middle of the Northern Pacific Ocean? It’s called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and it’s up to twice the size of the continental United States! Formed in the middle of a giant, slow-moving, circular ocean current called a gyre, it’s made mostly of plastic debris that never truly disappears. To learn more about the Pacific Garbage Patch and its effects on sea life, Anna embarked on a 4,000 mile-long research expedition. She was then inspired to bike 2,000 miles from Vancouver, Canada to Mexico, spreading the word along the way by giving presentations about plastic pollution. Anna has shared her love for the environment through teaching, writing, campaign development and environmental non-profit work. Visit www.5gyres.org and www.algalita.org to discover more or come talk trash with Anna at the GIOS Teen Conference!
Presenters for the GIOS High School Teen Conference - March 16, 2013
Marine Protection and Education Supervisor, Marine Protected Programs, City of Newport Beach
Imagine your perfect beach dayŠWhich beach would you go to? What would you do there? Would you swim, fish, or collect shells? Can you take a boat ride, kayak, or visit the tidepools? When is the best time and where is the best place to look for sea stars? Is your favorite beach a Marine Protected Area (MPA)? Not sure of some of these answers? No worries! Just ask Michelle Clemente! Michelle specializes in understanding the complex environmental laws and policies which govern MPAs and then communicating these guidelines to the public. She is an expert in ocean life at these areas which are underwater parks where resources can be saved for future generations. People visit and enjoy these special and unique places every day, while following certain rules to ensure their families' safety and the safety of the marine animals and plants. Some MPAs allow beachgoers to catch big fish and touch hermit crabs, but others may just allow sunbathing and snorkeling. Curious about what else you can do at your best surf spot? Then, be sure to find out from Michelle at the Girls in Ocean Science Teen Conference!
Research Diver and Director of Husbandry, Ocean Institute, Dana Point, CA
If you could have any super power, what would it be? To run at the speed of light? Or, to breathe underwater? If you chose the latter and have ever wondered what it's like to explore a fish's wet world, then hear the answer first-hand from research SCUBA diver and aquarist, Julianne Steers. Julianne has gained hundreds of hours of experience underwater in observing, photographing, and studying ocean life. However, her research does not end in the fieldŠit continues in the husbandry lab by collecting animals, designing exhibits, and caring for the many sea creatures in the Ocean Institute's aquaria and teaching labs. Filming 300 baby octopi hatching and raising sea jellies from the deep sea are just a few of Julianne's special projects. How cool is that?! Want to see the video for yourself and learn about other cool critters in Julianne's collection? Check out the aquarist's blog and featured species at http://www.ocean-institute.org/visitor/husbandry.html.
Shark and Stingray Biologist, Graduate Student, Cal State Long Beach
Few people would be brave enough to be in the ocean around sharks, but even less would be able to hold a shark in order to record valuable scientific information. "Every day in the field is an adventure in itself!" says Kady Lyons, team leader of the rapid response team and Master's Candidate at Cal State University Long Beach. Kady's research on elasmobranchs (sharks and rays) involves the accumulation of ocean toxins as they age and the transfer of contaminants from moms to their pups. "It's exciting to be on the rapid response team. We associate with fisherman throughout Southern California, and it's a nice deal, because when they catch sharks, we get to take measurements and samples and tag them to get more information about where they're going."
Sarah Hardee Peterson
Ph.D. Student, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Elephant Seal Researcher, UC Santa Cruz
How do bees sniff out and find the flowers that they pollinate? What is a harbor seal's favorite food? Do grey wolf packs always catch the elk they hunt? Where should I attach the radio tag on a baby chick? Which native trees should we plant to restore this creek bed? As an ecologist and evolutionary biologist, these are all questions which Sarah Peterson has asked. Sarah's research on top level predators has taken her across the globe studying wild dogs in Southern Africa, solitary bees in Sweden, and gray wolves in Yellowstone National Park. Today, Sarah's research takes her to Santa Cruz, California to discover how northern elephant seals build up contaminants and heavy metals in their bodies during feeding trips. Find out more about elephant seals and Sarah's many adventures at http://people.ucsc.edu/~saepeter/.
Evolutionary Biologist, Functional Morphologist, Ph.D. Candidate, UCLA
"Cats are such airheads!" Although our furry feline friends are quite clever, Abigail has found that cats and other carnivores quite literally are airheadsŠthey have air-filled cavities at the front of their skulls called sinuses. The size and shape of these sinuses and the bones surrounding them vary between carnivores such as cheetahs, polar bears, skunks, and otters, depending on how their skulls are used. For example, slender jaws may be sufficient for foxes to hunt small rodents. However, African wild dogs, which take down large gazelles, may need more robust skulls with large, bony crests where huge muscles attach for a powerful bite. Using x-ray scans and computer models, Abigail is able to make 3D images of these animals' skulls to better understand the roles these animals play in their environments. Click http://abigailacurtis.wix.com/abigailcurtis#!media/c1han to see a cool video about Abigail's research!
Dr. Christine Nicholls
Astrophysicist, UC San Diego
Did you know that our Milky Way Galaxy is 13.2 billion years old?! Dr. Christine Nicholls studies some very big and bright stars in this galaxy called red giant stars. Our sun will become one of these in about 5 billion years! As an astronomer, Dr. Nicholls gets to use some of the largest and most technologically advanced telescopes in the world to study these stars. Red giants change form over time and even have their own life cycles (although a star's life is much longer than ours J). There are many unknown mysteries about red giant stars, and Dr. Nicholls is determined to solve them! The next time you gaze at the clear night sky, look for a twinkling red lightŠit could be a red giant! See tons of out-of-this world photos of stars and galaxies from the famous Hubble Telescope at http://hubblesite.org!
Ph.D. Student, Earth & Environmental Sciences, Climate Change Scientist, University of Rochester
Did you know that our world's oceans and atmosphere are slowly getting warmer? These changes in earth's temperatures are referred to as global climate change. As a young student, researcher Katy Sparrow was drawn to this hugely important idea and set her goals high to become a chemical oceanographer. Katy studies how a greenhouse gas called methane enters our seas and air and can even change the world's climate! Her studies have taken her to some of the farthest northern reaches of our planet, from Alaska to the Arctic Ocean! Learn more about the effects of sea temperature rise at http://ocean.nationalgeographic.com/ocean/critical-issues-sea-temperature-rise/.
Dr. Rachel Kennison (she is replacing Dr. Peggy Fong, UCLA)
Co-Director, COSEE-West (Centers for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence), UCLA
Did you finish your algae for breakfast this morning? And, for dessert last night? How about to brush your teeth before bed? Algae are everywhere! >From single-celled organisms to giant kelp and other seaweeds, algae are found in many products we use daily like yogurt, ice cream, and toothpaste! As a phycologist (a scientist who studies algae), a marine ecologist, and an education director, Dr. Rachel Kennison loves teaching about the science of algae! She is particularly interested in how what we do as humans can affect algae populations. Our activities can affect other animal populations, as well; they can even change entire ecosystems! Algae and seaweeds are found in all sorts of habitats, from estuaries to tidepools to kelp forests. To learn what other foods contain algae and why, check out this article at http://www.livestrong.com/article/427504-list-of-foods-that-contain-algae/.