I am the Clean Seas Research Scientist Lead at the Seattle Aquarium. Our research studies long term marine anthropogenic debris (mainly plastic) contamination in the Salish Sea, WA across spatial and temporal gradients.
I recently graduated with a PhD from the University of Washington in the Department of Biology in Dr. Emily Carrington’s lab. For my dissertation I broadly studied 1) the impacts of microplastic vs silt on marine mussel filtration rates, 2) how micoplastics affect the benthic-pelagic coupling role of marine mussels, and 3) the growth and spread of marine microplastic research and national plastic policies.
I grew up in Tucson, Arizona, where I developed a love for adventure and the outdoors. I attended University of Chicago for my undergrad degree, earning a B.A. in Biology. In college I found my way into a summer research position with Drs. Cathy Pfister and Tim Wootton out on the Olympic Peninsula and Tatoosh Island (WA) studying intertidal marine ecology. As an upperclassman I worked in a fish biomechanics lab with Dr. Mark Westneat studying lionfish feeding biomechanics. After I graduated I was a Metcalf Fellow at the Marine Biology Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA with Dr. Roger Hanlon studying color changing behavior of fishes.
All of my experiences led me to pursue a PhD studying the effects of microplastic on mussels and contamination levels in the Salish Sea. I am lucky to have done my work at Friday Harbor Laboratory on San Juan Island (WA), around the greater Western Washington area, and back out on the Olympic Peninsula.
I host an Instagram series @showmeyourmussel called Science Wednesday where I discuss different aspects of marine and environmental science in a fun and approachable format once a week. My twitter handle is @lydaofmylife. Check it out!
In addition to marine biology, science communication, and spending time outdoors, I am an avid frisbee player, playing in leagues and tournaments year round.