Cecilia is a quantitative ecologist and oceanographer who focuses on fish and marine mammal population biology. She received her Master’s in Marine Mammal Science from St. Andrews University and her PhD in Marine and Atmospheric Sciences from Stony Brook University. Cecilia has a broad range of ecological interests and has worked in many different ecosystems both as field biologist and a quantitative biologist. Past research covered penguins in Antarctica, desert tortoises in the Mojave Desert, dolphins in the Florida Keys, plant life along the Missouri river, and water quality in the Chesapeake Bay. Her current research broadly explores the role of climate and ocean conditions on marine populations, in particular fish in polar regions! She works to incorporate climate into statistical models to understand how changing ocean conditions are influencing fish population numbers and distribution for use in fisheries management.

1 Are you an early bird or night owl?

Night Owl

2 Are you pro- or anti-pun?


3 Do you have any pets?

Yes, my dog Shackleton named after the Antarctic explorer!

4 Do you have any science-themed home decor?

I’ve never actually bought any, but everyone gives me ocean themed decor gifts! I have so many fish wind chimes, and fish art!

5 Do you prefer cooking or baking?


6 Do you prefer sweet or savory?


7 Do you speak any other languages?

I speak a tiny bit of Spanish, but prefer to listen because my accent is atrocious!

8 If you could switch professions, what would you do?

Astronaut, for sure.

9 If you could switch science fields, what field would you want to work in?


10 If you got a plane ticket right now, where would it go?

Sri Lanka & Bali! It’s where we were supposed to go for our honeymoon, but then a global pandemic happened.

11 If you had one superpower, what would it be?


12 Is there anything you strongly recommend we watch and/or read and/or listen to?

Schitts Creek is the greatest piece of television on this planet.
I also love ‘The Best Women’s Travel Writing’ books.
Also probably John Hartford’s poems ‘Word Movies’

13 It’s your day off. What do you want to do?

Drink lots of freshly ground coffee, go for a really long hike with my dog in the mountains, & finish the day off with a beer garden, a few close friends, and some live music.

14 What are three things you can’t live without?

cheese, my dog Shackleton, & my music

15 What beverage gives you life?

The first cold lager on a summer evening

16 What book did you read in school that positively shaped you?

The things they carried – it taught me the importance of storytelling & delivering your thoughts in a way that causes the reader/listener to fell the same way. Stories last much longer than we do.

17 What did you want to be when you grew up?

I honestly never thought about it, I loved being young. I always said scientist when people asked because I was best in science classes.

18 What drives you and keeps you going?

The urgency to deal with climate change, my hope for a better future, and the opportunity to serve as a role model for young aspiring scientists (even if it’s only one!)

19 What got you excited in science?

When I found out that science could involve watching animals

20 What excites you about science now?

Trying to solve complex problems and puzzles with coding

21 What is a guilty pleasure of yours?

Lucky Charms

22 What is a secret talent of yours?

I don’t know that I have any! I’m pretty athletic & was always good at soccer, although that usually only surprises people who know me as a scientist first.

23 What is your favorite game?

Soccer & scrabble

24 What is the last book you read?

I’m reading two right now – Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah & Found: A life in mountain rescue by Bree Loewen

25 What is one of the best pieces of advice you’ve received?

Don’t panic

26 What is something you’ve always wanted to try but you’ve been too scared to do?


27 What is the best advice for your 18 year old self?

Travel even more!

28 What is the best way to de-stress?

I go on runs & listen to music

29 What is the last thing you watched?


30 What is the weirdest thing you’ve had in your bag?

Probably fish in ethanol or guano samples

31 What is your favorite animal?

Leopard seal

32 What is your favorite book?

One favourite is way too difficult. I love Tom Robbins, Kurt Vonnegut, and the Harry Potters.

33 What is your favorite comfort food?

Raspberry pie

34 What is your favorite day of the year?

Christmas Eve

35 What is your favorite plant?

Venus fly trap & lilacs

36 What is your favorite science fact?

That krill can shrink in size when they’re starving!

37 What is your favorite season?


38 What is your favorite smell?


39 What is your favorite sound?

Summer storms

40 What is your favorite thing about yourself?

My openness paired with dry/sarcastic sense of humour

41 What is your favorite word (in any language)?

Fernweh (German word for sorta like wanderlust)

42 What is your proudest moment?

When I finished my PhD

43 What kind of tree would you be?

None, I like to move! I’d rather be a leopard seal.

44 What’s the best thing about where you live?

The closeness of the vast wilderness!

45 Tell us something we probably don’t know.

The average thickness of Antarctic ice is about 1.6 miles (or 2.6 km)!

46 Who would you like to see 46 Questions interview next?

Irvin Huang @IrvSeq