Dr. John Pearse has spent a lifetime studying the reproductive biology and ecology of sea stars and sea urchins. His doctoral work involved exploring the biology of marine invertebrates in the Antarctic, where he overwintered in 1961 then returned with his own students repeatedly in the 1980s. They found that the abundant and ecologically important Antarctic cushion star spawns in mid-winter to produce long-lived pelagic larvae that feed on bacteria and phytoplankton in the summer. Dr. Pearse has also conducted research in the Red Sea and tropical Pacific.
Dr. Crissy Huffard’s broad research interests are to understand how marine animals live their daily lives to survive and reproduce in changing environments. She has worked primarily with cephalopods, doing her Ph.D. research on octopus behavior. Passionate about the ocean, Dr. Huffard worked for several years in marine conservation with Conservation International Indonesia, and as a consultant with the World Wildlife Fund in Washington DC
Currently Dr. Huffard works with Dr. Ken Smith at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute where the lab aims to understand how ecosystems at abyssal depths (on the sea floor 2.5 miles down) change with the amount of food input. Animals at these depths rely entirely on marine snow – organic particles falling from the upper waters of the ocean – for food. That food supply changes any time ocean surface conditions change, such as during El Nino. In addition to working at MBARI, Dr. Huffard is a Research Associate with the California Academy of Sciences where she collaborates with other researchers to study cephalopod behavior, biology, and evolution.
Dr. Kristi Curry Rogers studies dinosaur evolution and paleobiology, which means she spends a lot of time out in the field looking for dinosaur fossils — from Montana to Madagascar. She is a vertebrate paleontologist and currently Assistant Professor in Geology and Biology at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. When Dr. Curry Rogers is not in the field, she does research on the fossils she discovered in the field. In particular, she looks at the how fast some of the largest dinosaurs grew by looking closely at microscopic slices of fossilized bones (she describes her work in this video on SOL). Her specialty is the sauropod dinosaurs, the largest animals to ever walk on the earth.