The ocean as workplace and playground

I really appreciate that, as marine ecologist, the ocean is both my workplace and my playground. As a collaborator once said, “my wetsuit is my business suit.” I was recently interviewed for a little blurb in an all-female issue of White Horses surf magazine by the very talented surfer and writer Alicia Trout of Tumble and Hoot and photographed by Leonie Blignaut, an amazing fellow surfing mama. When asked what the ocean means to me, there were so many things that came to mind…everything from passion to fear to adventure to comfort. I work there. I play there. I teach my children there. And then it occurred to me: nearly every aspect of my life is somehow intertwined with the ocean. For this I am extremely grateful.

Our work cited in The New Yorker magazine

It’s great to see our science reaching the public! My recent Nature commentary was cited this month in The New Yorker as the basis for the amount of coral reef destruction resulting from China’s recent push to expand their territory in the South China Sea. Dr. Marcia Bjornerud’s compelling retrospective article, “Six Earth-Moving Moments of 2015”, highlights China’s land-building activities among the most “notable ground-shifting events of 2015” and discusses how these events “altered not only our landscapes but also our thinking about how Earth works.”

Osmar helps map the reef with the robot crew at Lizard Island

Osmar‘s just returned from a very windy, but successful, trip to Lizard Island on the far north Great Barrier Reef. He was there to help create extremely high-resolution 3D maps of the reef that was largely destroyed by category 4 Cyclone Nathan a few months ago. This work is part of a larger project led by Dr. Joshua Madin of Macquarie University and Sydney University’s Australian Centre for Field Robotics that uses robotic torpedoes help map our corals on Great Barrier Reef. Read more about it here.

The robotic torpedo used by the group to make maps of the reef on previous trips.

One of the composited 3D texture-mapped models of the reef.