Kyra Schlining

Year finished at Moss Landing: 1999

Lab while at Moss Landing: Invertebrate Zoology (Nybakken)

Undergraduate education: Biology, University of Victoria, 1991

Current job position and location: Senior Research Technician, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), Moss Landing, CA

Contact information:

Some questions for Kyra:

Q: Why did you decide to pursue marine science/come to Moss Landing?

A: I have always been really interested in science. When I was in Grade 9, I went to Sea World in San Diego and got to feed the dolphins. Right then I knew I wanted to be a marine biologist! As an undergraduate at UVIC, I had some excellent marine science professors, particularly for Marine Invertebrates, which was what sealed the deal. I decided to pursue a Masters degree because I thought I wanted to teach at a college (like my mother). I chose MLML because the Monterey area is such a rich environment for studying marine science.

Q: What did you do your thesis on and why do you find it interesting/important (the short version)?

A: I studied the spot prawn, Pandalus platyceros. These are gorgeous and commercially-attractive critters found in the deep canyons around Monterey. I had noticed them in some deep-sea video and wanted to know more. I looked at fisheries, biological & ecological aspects.

Q: What did you go on to after graduation?

A: I did a summer internship in the video lab at MBARI and then was offered a Research Technician position. That was in 1996 and I’ve been there ever since!

Q: What do you do now (if different from above?) Please describe your job and the highlights/challenges of your work.

A: I work in the video lab at MBARI. My main task is to annotate the video collected during the ROV deep-sea research missions. My co-workers and I try to identify and describe all the animals, geological features, experiments, equipment that we see in the video using a custom-designed software program. Currently, our database contains approximately 2.5 million entries from over 15,000 hrs of underwater video! I also do some video editing and occasionally get to assist on research cruises. It is great!

Q: What’s the best thing that you took away from MLML?  How did you time at MLML prepare you/influence you for what you do now?

A: Perseverance! Tons of field experience. Made lots of great friends & job-related connections.

Q: What would you do if you could do anything differently?

A: Believe it or not, maybe take more classes? I took time off between my undergrad classes & grad school. I think this was a good move because it allowed me to appreciate the classes I took at MLML more. But I still feel like I want to learn more.

Q: What advice do you have for someone who wants to go into marine science and/or graduate school?

A: Take summer classes at a marine field station (e.g., Friday Harbor, Bamfield). Choose a lab that is a good fit. Try to find a project with funding so you don’t have to work fulltime while trying to complete a thesis. This is doable…but hard!

Q: What advice do you have for someone who wants to pursue a career like yours?  What skills do you find most important?

A: Take lots of science classes and apply yourself. Practice your writing skills. Volunteer or teach at marine science camps for kids. Get lots of hands on field experience (e.g., cruises). I think internships are a great way to get your foot in the door!

Find out more!

Click here to learn more about MBARI’s research.

Back to Alumni Career Interviews


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