The latest guest on Face to Face With Chancellor May is living proof that you can fall in love with the ocean and devote your life to studying it, even if you grow up hundreds of miles away from the nearest coastline.
Rachael Bay, an assistant professor of evolution and ecology, studies how human-caused changes to marine systems impact evolutionary trajectories, including whether certain species might survive in the future. Her conversation with Chancellor Gary S. May, posted today (April 25) as a video and as a podcast, touched on her research and how she got interested in the ocean despite growing up in Montana.
“When I was in middle school, I did one of those educational outreach things in the Chesapeake Bay, and just wanted to be in the ocean all the time,” Bay said.
May responded, “So those outreach activities really do make a difference in people's lives.”
Now she’s widely respected in her field, and last year was named one of Popular Science’s “Brilliant 10” top up-and-coming minds in science.
The two talked about specific parts of the ocean that could change in the future, like coral reefs. May asked if he needed to take a vacation to the Great Barrier Reef before it vanished.
“I think corals as organisms have been around for millions of years and will continue to be around, but reefs will look really different, depending on the actions we take,” Bay said.
The pair also discussed a wide range of other topics, like the best place on campus for Bay’s 4-year-old to play, the music on Bay’s (or her daughter’s) playlist right now, what Bay would bring to a desert island and more.
Bay also discussed how she encourages and trains undergraduates to learn to analyze genomes and do other work in her lab that requires coding skills.
The full conversation is available now.
Cody Kitaura is a News and Media Relations Specialist in the Office of Strategic Communications, and can be reached by email or at 530-752-1932.