Brittany Huntington's future as a marine biologist was set the moment
she stumbled upon two octopuses during a fifth-grade field trip to Half
"Once I realized I could incorporate my interest in biology with
my intrigue and passion for the ocean, focusing on marine biology was
the obvious next step," says Huntington, who will enter her second
semester in the master's biology program this fall.
Her latest oceanic exploration finds her studying sea grass beds in
Tomales Bay -- and she has received a prestigious grant to assist her
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded Huntington a $78,000
Science to Achieve Results (STAR) grant. The two-year fellowship will
pay for her research supplies, tuition and living expenses.
Huntington is conducting the majority of her research in Tomales Bay
along the shore and underwater with the aid of snorkeling and scuba
gear. The focus of her research is the increased amount of seaweed in
the bay. Huntington is investigating two potential causes: removal of
fish or urchins that normally keep the growth of macro algae under control,
or sewage and fertilizers that could be feeding plants with an increasing
amount of nutrients.
An avid swimmer, scuba diver and photographer, Huntington has studied
killer whales in the San Juan Islands, bird behavior on the Galapagos
Islands, a coral reef in Nicaragua and biodiversity in Tanzania (shown
She is considering researching human impact on the ocean and sustainability
of marine resources for her Ph.D.
-- Gary Moskowitz