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Allison Cusick (graduate student)

Allison Cusick is a graduate student in the Biological Oceanography PhD program at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. She has extensive experience in the lab and at sea.

Her first expedition to Antarctica occurred in 2013 where she lived aboard the U.S. Antarctic Programs’ icebreaker Nathaniel B. Palmer for 53-days tracing the fate of algal carbon export in the Ross Sea. Every year since 2017 she has traveled to the Antarctic Peninsula on various tour ships running FjordPhyto as Lecturer & Scientist. She has spent more than 195 days at sea in Antarctica (nearly 6.5 months in total).

Allison received her M.A.S. (2017) in Marine Biodiversity & Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and her B.S. (2006) in Biology with a minor in Earth and Space Sciences from the University of Washington. Link to Allison’s CV.

Fun Fact: Allison ran a marathon on the Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctica, dressed as a banana, the same day she boarded the Palmer icebreaker for a two-month expedition at sea.

Martina Mascioni (Graduate Student)

Martina Mascioni is a collaborating PhD student based out of Argentina at the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Museum at the National University of La Plata (Buenos Aires, Argentina). Her PhD thesis work currently focuses on “First research on the phytoplankton community of Andvord Bay (Antarctica). Composition and space-time dynamics” under her advisors’ supervision, Dr. Gastón Almandoz and Dr. Maria Vernet, in the Phycology Division.

She has expertise in Antarctic phytoplankton ecology and diatom taxonomy and hopes to soon join an expedition to the field!

She recently received the IAATO Fellowship award to come work in the Vernet Lab in San Diego. She also published her first first-author paper.

To learn more about Martina’s Career visit her profile on ResearchGate.

Dr. Maria Vernet (Principal Investigator)

Dr. Maria Vernet is a Senior Research Biologist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Dr. Vernet has conducted research in international settings since 1987 when she first traveled to the Arctic and in 1988 to Antarctica. She participated in one of the first research teams to study the effect of ultraviolet radiation on marine phytoplankton after the discovery of the Antarctic ozone hole in 1985. She has also participated in research studying free-floating icebergs and the ecosystems of the Larsen B Ice Shelf. Maria was recently awarded the prestigious AAAS Accomplished Scientist Fellow in Biological Sciences from the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2018.

Her field expeditions have taken her into the Atlantic, Pacific, Arctic and Southern Oceans with a variety of internationally assembled research teams. As a sea going oceanographer, Maria has spent enough time in Antarctica over the decades that she has lost count.

To learn more about Dr. Vernet, watch this Scientist’s Life in 99 Seconds.

Maria received her Ph.D. (1983) and M.S. (1981) in Biological Oceanography from the University of Washington and her B.S. (1975) in Biological Sciences from the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Link to Maria’s CV and the Vernet Lab website.

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This project is supported in part by the National Science Foundation Public Participation in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) STEM Research (PPSR) extension to NSF award # PLR-1443705, by grant awards from Hurtigruten Foundation, and from generous donors.

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