Centennial Story 20: Kendra L. Daly (MS, 1991)

I originally came to UW as an undergraduate and received a BS degree in Oceanography. I then worked in the Oceanography Department for several years, participating on oceanographic expeditions in Puget Sound, the tropical Pacific, and the Arctic and Antarctic regions. When I

Kendra Daly

decided to go back to school, I enrolled in the School of Fisheries to obtain a better background in quantitative science, population dynamics, and animal behavior. My advisor was Bob Francis, and Tom Quinn served on my supervisory committee. Bob had a great group of students at that time. In the small world category, it turned out that another student, Ric Brodeur (PhD, 1990) had married someone I knew from junior high school in Connecticut! I was not Bob’s typical student. I worked full time in Oceanography and went to school part time. I had National Science Foundation (NSF) funding for a project in the Southern Ocean, which formed the basis for my MS thesis. I investigated the role of sea ice ecosystem dynamics on the distribution and behavior of Antarctic krill, Euphausia superba, which, while not a fish, is a commercially important crustacean. I finished my MS degree in 1990 and then went to the University of Tennessee to work with a group of polar oceanographers. I received my PhD in 1995 in Ecology, with a research focus on Arctic sea ice ecosystems.

After a post-doctoral fellowship at the Department of Energy, I worked at the NSF as a program director in Biological Oceanography for four years. It was a terrific experience that I highly recommend. I then accepted a faculty position at the University of South Florida in 2001. About that time, I became involved in the planning and development of NSF’s Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI). Observing systems provide a continual presence in the oceans to capture episodic events and long-term trends of environmental data. I went on to spend much of the next 17 years working on this project, including a stint as director. The OOI is now successfully deployed and has a variety of moorings and sensors located along the Washington and Oregon coasts, including a fiber optic cable stretching across the Juan de Fuca plate to Axial Volcano. These data are freely available to anyone on the OOI website and can be used to assess environmental conditions for commercial and recreational fisheries. In addition to working on the OOI and in polar systems, I have investigated the impacts of oxygen minimum zones on marine ecosystems in the tropical Pacific and participated in both the IXTOC-I and Deepwater Horizon oil spill response efforts.

Despite my broad interests, my fisheries background has not gone to waste. I was involved in the Global Ocean Ecosystem Dynamics (GLOBEC) and Comparative Analysis of Marine Ecosystems Organization (CAMEO) programs, which had strong fisheries components. I have had students work on aspects of blue crab and stone crab fisheries in Florida. The statistics courses I took at UW were essential to my career. My favorite course was Tom Quinn’s fish behaviour class. Our class project was to pick an animal at the Seattle aquarium and quantify the amount of time it spent on various activities. I chose a reef fish, which opened my eyes to the complexity of behaviors exhibited by fish. This was a valuable lesson and later changed how I have viewed Antarctic krill, which are very adaptable, with very plastic behaviors, and still confound researchers’ expectations today. Thanks to Bob Francis and Tom Quinn for your help and support!

Kendra at Port Lockroy, Antarctica, in the 1980’s





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