Ocean Currents » women’s history month http://blog.oceanconservancy.org News, opinions, photos and facts from Ocean Conservancy Sat, 24 Sep 2016 14:30:37 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 Honoring the Women Who Fight for Our Ocean (Part 3) http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/03/31/honoring-the-women-who-fight-for-our-ocean-part-3/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/03/31/honoring-the-women-who-fight-for-our-ocean-part-3/#comments Mon, 31 Mar 2014 23:00:09 +0000 Brett Nolan http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=7965 In honor of Women’s History Month, Ocean Conservancy will be publishing a three-part series highlighting some of the amazing women who study and protect our ocean. 

Dr. Anne Salomon

Dr. Anne Salomon grew up right by the sea in Vancouver, British Columbia, and it’s where she fell in love with the coast and the outdoors. She studied general biology at the landlocked campus of Queen’s University. She missed the coast and went west for her master’s degree at the University of British Columbia where she studied marine ecology. After completing that degree, Salomon was U.S. bound and received her Ph.D. in zoology.

Salomon was born with a sense of adventure. She started sailing at the age of five. She credits catching her first fish as her inspiration for studying the ocean. “I think catching my first fish gave me an appreciation of the importance of ocean resources and the reality of it being part of our culture and economic system,” she said. She worked with coastal communities in Alaska and New Zealand to better understand the relationships between different species, including marine life and humans.

Currently, Salomon is studying how humans alter coastal ecosystems and how that affects the biodiversity of the ecosystems. Of all of her accomplishments, she’s most proud of her students. “I now have a lab and a whole team,” Salomon said. “I’m so lucky and so proud of creating this space for all these wonderful people to excel and learn and share knowledge.”

Dr. Nyawira Muthiga

Dr. Nyawira Muthiga, a marine conservation scientist, has dedicated her career to protecting coral reefs and advocating for sustainable fisheries management in Kenya and throughout the western Indian Ocean. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Nairobi. She is the director of the Kenyan marine program at the Wildlife Conservation Society. Prior to this, she was the head of the coastal and wetland program at the Kenya Wildlife Service.

Muthiga improved the management of marine protected areas, places where regulations protect the natural habitat and native species, around the Indian Ocean by developing plans and trainings, as well as by building public awareness. She also oversaw a plan to reduce the effects of climate change on coral reefs in the region. She even uses her expertise to protect sea turtles by working with several local organizations in Kenya.

In a talk about Kenyan marine protected areas, Muthiga said, “Fishermen have started realizing what different kinds of fishing gear will do to their catches and that protection is a way of increasing their catches and a way of potentially improving their livelihoods. More and more communities are now coming up and saying we want to start some kind of initiative where we either restrict the gear or where we close the area.”

Dr. Lekelia Jenkins

Dr. Lekelia Jenkins, a Baltimore native, grew up fishing and crabbing with her family on the Chesapeake Bay. She studied biology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore. She went on to get her Ph.D. in marine conservation from Duke University. Jenkins originally wanted to study terrestrial conservation at Duke. After taking a couple classes in marine conservation and marine policy, she was inspired to study the ocean. “I came to understand how much progress needed to be made in marine conservation in comparison to terrestrial conservation,” Jenkins said.

Jenkins studies the effects humans have on the ocean through the invention and adoption of marine technologies. She is especially interested in bycatch reduction devices and tidal energy technology.

On how her research has changed her life, Jenkins said, “It has allowed me to travel the world, meet interesting people and do my small but important part to save the world. It has also made me a more conscious consumer and that ripple effect has spread to my friends and family.”

She does have some advice for young women who want to become scientists. “Talk to people who have the type of career you’d like. Find out how they got there, what skills and education they needed. Find out what their workday is like. Is it really as fascinating and glamorous as you think?” She also added, “A career as a scientist isn’t just about doing good science. It’s about the reputation you make for yourself, the positions that you hold, the grants you’ve received, the people you collaborate with and the awards you’ve won. You can do great science but without the other things your work is less likely to be recognized or to have impact.”

Read more from this series:

Honoring the Women Who Fight for Our Ocean (Part 1)

Honoring the Women Who Fight for Our Ocean (Part 2)

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Honoring the Women Who Fight for Our Ocean (Part 2) http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/03/27/honoring-the-women-who-fight-for-our-ocean-part-2/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/03/27/honoring-the-women-who-fight-for-our-ocean-part-2/#comments Thu, 27 Mar 2014 12:47:41 +0000 Jackie Yeary http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=7931 In honor of Women’s History Month, Ocean Conservancy will be publishing a three-part blog series highlighting some of the amazing female scientists who study and protect our ocean.

Kathryn Sullivan

We recently told you about Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, the astronaut-turned-ocean champion who was just confirmed as the head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). NOAA aims to provide “science, service and stewardship” to the American people. It works to understand and predict changes in weather, climate, the ocean and coasts, and to conserve and manage marine ecosystems and resources.

If being the first American woman to walk in space isn’t impressive enough for you, she’s also earned her chops as an ocean explorer.

After working as an astronaut for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, she served as an oceanographer in the U.S. Navy Reserve for 18 years, and became chief scientist for NOAA in 1993. She has also served as NOAA’s assistant secretary of commerce for environmental observation and prediction and deputy administrator. Sullivan’s roles have given her experience in a variety of topics, including fisheries biology, climate change and marine biodiversity.

With such a lifelong passion for the ocean, we’re happy to see her leading NOAA. She has proven that she cares about protecting the ocean and the people who depend on it. After being approved as head of NOAA, Sullivan said, “NOAA provides the environmental intelligence that helps citizens, businesses and governments make smart choices. Mission first, people always—this is my commitment to the American people and to the NOAA workforce.”

Sue Moore

Dr. Sue Moore is a NOAA biological oceanographer who studies the ecology, bioacoustics and natural history of whales and dolphins living in the Arctic. She currently serves on a variety of boards and committees for which she uses her scientific expertise to protect marine mammals from the effects of man-made sounds, whaling and other threats.

Moore has served on the U.S. delegation to the International Whaling Commission to push for the use of scientific data in the protection and management of vulnerable whale species. She’s also worked with the National Marine Mammal Laboratory and as an associate professor at the University of Washington.

Recently, some of her research has used acoustic sonobuoys and hydrophones (tools for recording underwater noises made by whales) to determine the number and distribution of whales, seals and other animals in the Arctic while seeing if sounds could be linked to behavioral patterns. As we continue to see changes in the Arctic, marine mammals are canaries in the coal mine. Scientists can gather insight into physical changes in their ecosystem through their behavior and response.

“Marine mammals can act as ecosystem sentinels because they respond to climate change through shifts in distribution, timing of their movements and feeding locations,” Moore said. “These long-lived mammals also reflect changes to the ecosystem in their shifts in diet, body condition and physical health.”

Sarah Cooley

Dr. Sarah Cooley is an earth scientist who currently works as the science outreach manager for Ocean Conservancy’s Ocean Acidification program. She recently joined us from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts where she researched communities affected by ocean acidification.

At Ocean Conservancy, Cooley continues to work with oceanographers, fishery scientists, economists, geographers and policy specialists to collect data on how quickly ocean acidification is occurring, how it affects marine species, how humans use those species and the potential it has to impact society and the economy.

Cooley has already begun a number of projects, including attending the 2014 Ocean Sciences Meeting in Honolulu. She’s also active in the social media sphere, sharing her thoughts on all things related to ocean acidification.

Regarding her passion for developing solutions to ocean acidification, Cooley said, “My hunger for exploring people’s experiences of global change has now lured me into the policy world. I’m excited to distill technical knowledge into lessons that real people can use to plan ahead.”

To view part 1 of the series, please click here.

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Honoring the Women Who Fight for Our Ocean http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/03/10/honoring-the-women-who-fight-for-our-ocean/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/03/10/honoring-the-women-who-fight-for-our-ocean/#comments Mon, 10 Mar 2014 15:28:39 +0000 Brett Nolan http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=7703

In honor of Women’s History Month, Ocean Conservancy will be publishing a three-part blog series highlighting some of the amazing female scientists who study and protect our ocean.

Dr. Sylvia Earle

Dr. Sylvia Earle has been studying and advocating on behalf of our ocean for more than half a century. Earle didn’t just get her feet wet when she started studying marine life – she dove right in. She was one of the first scientists to study the ocean firsthand by scuba diving. In the late 1960s, Earle applied to a research mission called the Tektite project led by the U.S. Navy, NASA and the Department of the Interior. This was an opportunity for scientists to live 50 feet below the ocean’s surface in a closed environment. With more than 1,000 logged hours of underwater research, she was the most experienced applicant. However, the officials in charge felt uncomfortable with a woman living underwater with men. Earle then led an all-female aquanaut team on a mission called Tektite II, Mission 6 in 1970. She and her fellow female scientists spent 14 days on the ocean floor studying marine life.

Earle founded a global initiative called Mission Blue made up of more than 50 organizations and scientific teams. It spreads awareness and motivates ocean lovers to protect the 70 percent of our planet that is underwater.

In a 2009 TED Talk, Earle said, “I’m haunted by the thought of what Ray Anderson calls ‘tomorrow’s child,’ asking why we didn’t do something on our watch to save sharks and bluefin tuna and squids and coral reefs and the living ocean while there still was time. Well, now is that time. I hope for your help to explore and protect the wild ocean in ways that will restore the health and, in so doing, secure hope for humankind.”

Rachel Carson

In 1962, Carson alerted us all to the dangers of DDT, a chemical used in insecticides, with her book Silent Spring. The book reported the negative effects DDT was having on members of the entire food chain, including birds and humans. The thought of a spring without singing birds was enough for Carson to speak up and cause a public uproar. She appeared frequently in the media to talk about the dangers of pesticides and man’s role in nature. She wrote for publications like The New York Times and appeared on news outlets like CBS to demonstrate how interconnected our world truly is.

Before studying the detrimental effects DDT was having on wildlife and humans, Carson was an accomplished marine biologist. While in college, Carson completed a fellowship at the U.S. Marine Laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass. Her first book was called Under the Sea-Wind, which described the lives and behaviors of marine life.

In 1936, Carson was the second woman to ever be hired by the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries. During her 15-year tenure with the Bureau of Fisheries, she used her writing skills to spread scientific information to the country. She wrote reports on marine life for radio spots and brochures on fish populations. Being a scientist who could write for the masses led her to becoming the editor-in-chief for all U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service publications.

Perhaps the best gift she gave to humanity was a sense of humility. She said in a CBS program, “We still talk in terms of conquest. We still haven’t become mature enough to think of ourselves as only a tiny part of a vast and incredible universe. Man’s attitude toward nature is today critically important simply because we have now acquired a fateful power to alter and destroy nature. But man is a part of nature, and his war against nature is inevitably a war against himself.”

Dr. Jane Lubchenco

Dr. Jane Lubchenco was the first woman to hold the positions of under secretary of commerce for the oceans and atmosphere and administrator, from 2009 to 2013, at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Before that, she taught at Harvard for two years and at Oregon State University for more than 30 years. She has studied biology, zoology and ecology.

Lubchenco focused her four years at NOAA on fighting climate change and overfishing. She helped develop the first National Ocean Policy, a unique approach to better protecting our ocean. Since ocean health isn’t bound by state lines, this policy helps states and regions work together to protect their shores. A true educator, Lubchenco made it a priority for NOAA to provide information to the American people on the ocean and our atmosphere. She even oversaw NOAA’s entrance into the digital age with the creation of its first social media channels.

Lubchenco founded the Leopold Leadership Program, which provides training to scientists on how to best inspire action to combat the world’s sustainability challenges through their research, at Stanford Woods Institute. She is also a founding board member of Climate Central, an organization dedicated to providing news and information on climate change.

After being confirmed at NOAA, Lubchenco told NPR, “I believe that scientists have an obligation to share what they know in a way that is relevant and understandable to decisions that people are making. Science should be at the table, and that’s part of the role of scientists regardless of what hat they wear.”

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