Ask the Scientist


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How do scientists go from OMG to PhD? How do they turn their passion for science into their profession? What advice do they have for future scientists? If you are a 5th-12th grade student, undergraduate, teacher or parent, join us to ask these questions and more in a Q&A session with our weekly Seminar speakers on Wednesdays from 1:30-2PM.

Parents must give permission for children under 18 to participate. 

Register to attend here.

Questions? Contact Erin Blackwood at



"Ask the Scientist" Speakers


November 18
Linda McCann, Marine Biologist, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center

Based at SERC’s Marine Invasions Lab located on San Francisco bay, Linda studies non-native or invasive species in marine, coastal ecosystems: species that move from their place of origin to establish in new areas (non-native) and have negative impacts in their new homes (invasive). Beginning with work in Chesapeake Bay at SERC’s east coast lab, Linda has over 25 years of experience in invasive species research exploring patterns in species distributions, impacts of invasives on native species and working to predict community structure in changing conditions. Her main focus has been on the ‘moss animals’ or bryozoans- tiny, colonial animals that inhabit shallow waters of the sea. Linda’s work has taken her all over the world, to places as different as the Galapagos and the Bering Sea, Australia and Panama, to try to piece together how marine invertebrates in all of these places are different, how they are the same, and how they are changing through time. 



September 16
Andres Cisneros, Research Associate, University of British Columbia

Andrés Cisneros-Montemayor (PhD ) is a resource economist specializing in marine systems and cross-scale development policy. He is Deputy Director of the Nippon Foundation Ocean Nexus Program and Research Associate at the University of British Columbia. Linking field, theoretical, and policy work, he studies the economics of ecotourism, competing fishing sectors, alternative management strategies, and ecosystem and social-ecological approaches to policy in multi-stakeholder contexts. An important aspect of this work involves the dynamics between commercial, recreational, social and cultural benefits within complex social-ecological systems.


September 23
Daniel Harris, Postdoctoral Fellow, Boyer Lab, Estuary and Ocean Science Center, SFSU

Daniel received his BSc in Geology from the National University of Ireland, Galway. He moved to the US in 2007, where he coordinated Georgia’s oyster restoration program and facilitated the development of the state’s first two living shorelines. This work led him to his PhD position with Jeb Byers at the University of Georgia’s Odum School of Ecology. His dissertation research on intertidal ecosystem engineers was supported by an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, Georgia Seagrant, and the St. Catherines Island Foundation. Daniel is excited to venture into subtidal eelgrass ecosystems as a postdoctoral researcher in Kathy Boyer’s lab.


September 30
Kate High, Graduate Student, Hines Lab, Estuary and Ocean Science Center, SFSU

I am a Bay Area native, who grew up spending my time outdoors and volunteering with East Bay Regional Park District since I could walk. I received my B.S. in Marine Biology from San Jose State University. I have been spending most of my time volunteering for Cal Academy of Sciences and working within the Stranding Network for dead marine mammals.

I am working in Dr. Ellen Hines lab on trend analysis and GIS mapping of stranding network data.


October 7
Gabriel Ng, Smithsonian Institution

I am studying the efficacy of stock enhancement in the blue swimmer crab fisheries within the Philippines. Stock enhancement, the process by which hatchery-reared juveniles are released to augment the natural populations, can be a potentially useful strategy in managing a declining fishery. However, stock enhancement is only feasible if the populations are limited by recruitment and not through other factors such as predation, habitat degradation, or food limitation. In collaboration with the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology and the Philippines Association of Crab Producers Inc., we are conducting mark-recapture studies on hatchery-reared juvenile blue swimmer crabs to track their survival and performance in the wild. The results from this study will quantify the effectiveness of stock enhancement and provide insights on optimal release strategies to promote survival of the juveniles.



October 14
Alex Bevan, Graduate Student, Estuary & Ocean Science Center, San Francisco State University

I am a native Californian and have spent most of my life in gold country and Santa Cruz. I earned my BS in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at UCSC and went on to work for the university coordinating logistics for field biology classes in Big Sur, Point Reyes, Yosemite, and Baja. I am also a volunteer at Monterey Bay Aquarium and spend most of my time there tracking tagged sea otters in the wild. I am working with Dr. Ellen Hines to examine and analyze the complex relationship between Southern sea otters and kelp forest habitats. 



October 14
Bekah Lane, Graduate Student, Estuary & Ocean Science Center, San Francisco State University

I earned my Bachelor of Science in Biology from Emporia State University and Master of Science in Education from Fort Hays State University in my home state of Kansas. I taught high school field ecology for two years before moving to the Bay Area to pursue my interests in marine mammal science. I am excited to be working in Dr. Ellen Hines' lab and in partnership with The Marine Mammal Center to evaluate risk of ship strike to humpback whales in San Francisco Bay.



October 21
Bethanie Edwards, Assistant Professor, UC Berkeley

Bethanie Edwards is a professor at UC-Berkeley and a sea-going oceanographer who hails from rural Arkansas. She is deeply interested in how marine microbes interact with one another, the chemical language that they use to do so, and the impact this has on ocean chemistry and climate. Since the industrial revolution, the ocean has absorbed ~40% of the CO2 that we’ve put into the atmosphere. This process is primarily driven by microscopic phytoplankton and the bacteria, viruses, and zooplankton grazers that use them as an energy source. Dr. Edwards’ expertise is in lipidomics, which allows her to listen in on their molecular conversations and gain insight into the complex web of microbial interactions. She is also an advocate for intersectionality in STEM, serving on the Board of Directors for the Society for Women in Marine Science and as a member of The Oceanography Society’s Ethics Committee.



October 28
Lynn Lee, Marine Ecologist, Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve

An ardent fan of all ‘fish’, Lynn has logged over 1000 scientific dives and is the Gwaii Haanas marine ecologist. She explored ecological interactions, historical ecology and governance of northern abalone conservation and sea otter recovery for her doctorate. Lynn lives on a hobby farm in Tlell, Haida Gwaii, with spouse Leandre, cat Fred, quarter-century old plecostomus Plackman, and garden. Highlights from >25 years here: Council of the Haida Nation marine planner and dive biologist, World Wildlife Fund marine coordinator, stream and coastal habitat restoration biologist, and community volunteer. When not doing things ecological, she makes art, plays music, experiments in the kitchen, and walks on the beach.



November 4
Fred Feyrer, Research Fish Biologist, United States Geological Survey

My research program is broadly focused on applied aquatic ecology with an emphasis on fishes. In general, my work aims to fill critical data gaps needed by fisheries and water resource managers to implement effective restoration and conservation measures for imperiled species and ecosystems. In particular, my work has focused on how aquatic ecosystems function at varying spatio-temporal scales and how this influences species-habitat relationships. Recent and active study topics span the range of life history studies of threatened and endangered species to the role of climate variability and climate change on species and communities. I presently oversee (supervise and mentor) a team of eleven individuals, including five biologists (GS12, GS9, and GS7 levels) and six biological science technicians (GS7 and GS5 level). I work closely with scientists in other disciplines to tackle science challenges with comprehensive, interdisciplinary research. A particular strength of my research program is the ability to develop new technology and tools to generate novel solutions for difficult natural resource problems.



The EOS Center welcomes persons with disabilities and will provide reasonable accommodations upon request. If you would like reasonable accommodations for this event, please contact Rebecca 415-297-3309 or as soon as possible so your request may be reviewed.