The Team

Ship Location

Channel Islands, USA

Avery Kruger

Photo of Avery Kruger
Science/Data Team
Student - Bachelor of Science
University of California, Davis

Tell us about your work / research. What kinds of things do you do?

As an undergraduate, I studied evolution and ecology. I worked in a marine ecology lab, mainly studying eelgrass – a real marine plant, not an algae! We investigated how having lots of genetic diversity in eelgrass can affect important ecological functions as simple as how much it grows. I was also involved in creating a collection of bees native to California to help create a long-term dataset that will help scientists understand how native bees are faring as climate change continues. After I leave the Nautilus, I will be going to Hiroshima, Japan, to teach English for a year.

What sparked your initial interest in your career?

I got involved with oceanography after taking classes at UC Davis's Bodega Marine Laboratory. I didn't have much prior interest in marine science, but my incredible professors really taught me to know and love our oceans and the organisms that live in it, from the interactions of small invertebrate animals in tide pools to the physics behind the movement of ocean water.

Who influenced you or encouraged you the most?

I've had many great role models, including my parents, who encouraged me to study what I loved in college, and many professors who challenged me to think about their subjects.

What element of your work / study do you think is the most fascinating?

I find ecology fascinating because any time you see something, there is an explanation for why that animal or plant is there, instead of something else. Why is what we see the way it is? Evolution is also fascinating because every organism is a result of million years of biological interactions and adaptation. It's so interesting to think about how the organisms we see are related, how they have changed over time and what has made them evolve the shapes and behaviors they have.

What other jobs led you to your current career?

As an involved member and officer of an ecology club at school, I've had the opportunity to experience many kinds of science and research, from soil to bees. These experiences have really helped me figure out what aspects of science I like and why.

What are your degrees and certifications?

Bachelor of Science in Evolution, Ecology and Biodiversity - University of California, Davis 2016.

What are your hobbies?

I love running, rock climbing and playing ultimate, as well as making jokes of variable quality.

What advice would you give to someone who is interested in a career like yours?

When you go to college, go to office hours and talk to your professors. They are really an invaluable resource that can offer great advice, and they can also help you get research experience if you are interested in doing science.

How did you get involved with the Nautilus Exploration Program? How did you get on the ship?

Applied to the Boy Scouts of America, who were given the opportunity to send an Eagle Scout onto the Nautilus.

"I am excited to sail aboard the Nautilus because the ocean has intrigued and awed humans since they encountered it, and helping discover its secrets will be an amazing experience!"