Ryan Manzer

Hometown:  Kodiak, AK / Healdsburg, CA

Undergraduate education:  B.S. in Biological Sciences from Humboldt State University, 2003

Work experience before MLML:

Aquarist 1 at Monterey Bay Aquarium, Fisheries Observer for NOAA Pacific Islands Regional Office, Commercial Salmon Fisherman – Kodiak AK

Q: Why did you decide to pursue marine science?

A: Growing up the son of a fisherman in the unspoiled wilderness of coastal Alaska, I have wanted to be a marine biologist since I was six years old.  My studies thus far have only increased my interest in marine ecosystems and their complicated relationships.

Q: What experiences and opportunities have shaped your path to get you where you are now?

A: I was a firm marine mammal devotee until my first invertebrate zoology course at Humboldt State.  After stating that I “didn’t trust anything without a spine” it was driven home to me how much is not understood about organisms that are not as cute as seals and whales.  My experience in assisting and conducting deep sea research at Monterey Bay Aquarium only increased my curiosity regarding how animals interact with their environments, particularly Cnidarians.

Q: What are you studying and why is it interesting and important to you?

A: I am currently investigating the role of potential hormone release in the timing of broadcast spawning events in Chrysoara fuscescens.  Despite their importance as a food resource and a significant plankton predator, little is known about the life history of these animals.  As both shifts in temperature regimes and overfishing are predicted to favor a medusa dominated ocean ecosystem, it is important that we understand these animals more thoroughly and all the ways we may impact their life cycles.

Q: What are you hoping or planning to do when you finish? 

A: I would like to either continue my research into Cnidarian life histories and ecological relationships as part of a PhD program or pursue a career conducting science that informs resource management policy for the Federal government.

Q: What are the most rewarding and challenging aspects of graduate school?

A: The exposure to other curious and scientific minded people pursuing their own research ideas is wonderfully rewarding to me.  I feel that one of the challenges we all face during our time at MLML is to maintain awareness of all the interesting science that is going on around us and be able to incorporate that into a larger, more comprehensive picture of marine science research.

Q: What advice do you have for someone who wants to get in to marine science? 

A: Seek out programs and institutions that will allow you to volunteer in ways that gets your hands wet.  Practical experience is one of the best ways to determine what it is that really motivates and excites you.

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