Photo of Annette Govindarajan a white woman with red hair wearing a white shirt and blue cardigan

Annette Govindarajan

Shoreside Science Team
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

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

I study the diversity, ecology, and evolution of marine animals. I'm especially interested in jellyfish, but I work on a variety of species. I use molecular tools, including environmental DNA (eDNA) analysis, to approach my research questions.

What sparked your initial interest in your career?

I was introduced to marine biology in the 8th grade on a school trip to Bermuda, and I was hooked.

Who influenced you or encouraged you the most?

My family always encouraged me to follow my interests.

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

I love exploring the variety of marine life. Currently, much of my work focuses on the ocean twilight zone (also called the "mesopelagic zone") - and it is exciting because there is so much to learn about the diversity and ecology of the animals that live there.

What other jobs led you to your current career?

I feel fortunate to have been at WHOI for most of my career!

What are your degrees and certifications?

I have a Ph.D. from the MIT-WHOI Joint Program in Oceanography, an M.S. in Biological Oceanography from the University of Connecticut, and a B.S. in Biology from the University of Connecticut

What are your hobbies?

Hiking, travel, horses, and spending time with my family

How did you get involved with the Ocean Exploration Trust?

I use environmental DNA (eDNA) analyses to study marine life, and this approach has great potential for exploring diversity in the ocean. With my collaborators, we have a new eDNA sampler and are looking forward to deploying it on Mesobot (a new vehicle for studying the midwater environment) with OET.

What advice would you give someone who wants to have a carer like yours?

I recommend becoming skilled in molecular biology techniques and bioinformatics.


Annette participated in the following Ocean Exploration Trust expeditions:

Selected Publications


Govindarajan, A.F., Adams, A., Allan, E., Herrera, S., Lavery, A., Llopiz, J., McCartin, L., Yoerger, D.R., Zhang, W. (2023). Advances in Environmental DNA Sampling for Observing Ocean Twilight Zone Animal Diversity. Oceanography 36 (1): 80-86.