Coral reef biologist
Associate Scientist, Postdoctoral Scholar
Carmabi Foundation, UC Merced
Google Tech Talk (more info below) August 25, 2011 Presented by Kristen Marhaver. ABSTRACT Scientific information looks a lot like the news because it's printed on paper and built with sentences we believe to be true. But treating scientific papers as if they were a constant stream of news is dangerous because it gives even the most crucial discoveries about Earth's ecosystems only one day of public attention. This confuses the public by obscuring true scientific consensus and allows policymakers to avoid tough decisions. In my talk, I'll explain why we should be organizing scientific discoveries as if they were products, using informal peer ratings to keep the most important work at the top of list for policymakers and the public to see. Such an effort requires us to consider factors like subscription walls, data access, political agendas, the nature of scientific debate and the deeply-entrenched habits of old academia. Despite the challenges of ranking a product as peculiar as the world's scientific information, I'll argue that a new approach is crucial if we are to make the tough decisions that will protect Mother Earth for the long term. Speaker Info: Kristen Marhaver, UC Merced. Kristen is a Caribbean coral biologist who earned her Ph.D. at Scripps Institution of Oceanography and her bachelor's degree in biology at Georgia Tech. Trained by her fellow Techies to think like an engineer, she found that not only are the world's oceans dysfunctional, but so are the systems that scientists rely on to communicate these problems to the world. Speaking up on these issues, she won awards for her science writing on blogs and her presentations at conferences, but she was never able to win over the person who assigns the ocean-view offices at Scripps. She thus believes that that virtually every system could be further optimized.
Montastraea faveolata larvae swimming in a Petri dish and lookin good at the same time
This video gives a brief visual introduction to the amazing reefs of Curacao. It is here, in the southern Caribbean, that I perform most of my dissertation research measuring the health of corals. I conduct my research at the CARMABI Foundation (http://www.carmabi.org/) and my work would not be possible without the support of skilled scientists and friends there--in particular Dr. Mark Vermeij and Dr. Kristen Marhaver. All underwater photos were taken by K. Marhaver and M. Vermeij, while above water video and pictures were taken by myself, as well as Elizabeth Keenan and Emily Kelly. The song is Tamacun by Rodrigo y Gabriela.
Research: Navigational behavior of coral larvae
10/01/2012 – 09/30/2013
Curacao-based research project funded by the US National Science Foundation to investigate the the role of marine bacteria in the behavior, settlement, and survivorship of Caribbean coral larvae. Public Summary of the project at NSF.gov
Photography: Tiny Underwater Stuff
03/01/1997 – present
Finding the tiniest things underwater and taking medium-bad, but sometimes medium-good photographs of them
Advocacy: Challenging traditions in science publishing
05/25/2010 – present
In my scientific "side project", I'm re-thinking how scientists publish, organize, and communicate their research, acting as an advocate for open-access publishing, and challenging young scientists to approach the publishing process with fresh eyes rather than blindly adopting the traditions we have inherited from Old Academia.
Kristen is a Caribbean coral reef biologist based in Curaçao in the southern Caribbean. She studies how bacteria from different underwater habitats affect the behavior, settlement, and survivorship of coral larvae, aka the coral reefs of the future. The goals of this research are to test and refine ecological theory using corals as a study system while identifying new inducers of coral larval behavior for research and reef restoration projects.In addition to her research, Kristen is working to improve how scientific information is published, organized, and communicated in the information age. This project includes writing, speaking, and rabble-rousing in a variety of venues and media. Kristen earned a Bachelor of Science in Applied Biology from Georgia Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. in Marine Biology from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego. During her Ph.D., she also earned a Professional Certificate in Art and the Creative Process from UCSD Extension. When not doing science or trying to change Science, Kristen is often found taking underwater photographs, visiting art museums, exploring cities, cooking vegetables, running, or making art.
In a tiny restaurant in the hills of Kyoto one winter, I sat on a tatami mat for a five-course lunch served by Buddhist monks... and EVERY course was made of tofu. It was a vegetarian dream come true.
A funny story about me:
No matter how hard I try, I always look like a Muppet underwater.