Erin Spencer is a marine ecologist and science communicator focusing on fisheries conservation and management. Her recent work involves using DNA barcoding to assess the rate of red snapper mislabeling in the southeastern United States, a practice that poses economic, environmental, and human health risks. The goal of the project is to give fishery managers and vendors a clearer picture of the scope of seafood mislabeling, and to give consumers tangible tools for how they can best avoid fraud. Spencer also studies innovative responses to invasive species management, particularly lionfish. In 2014, Spencer launched the Invasive Species Initiative, a website that uses digital storytelling to share grassroots approaches to invasive species management. She’s traveled from Florida to Fiji in search of creative ways people are combating invasive species in their backyards. A number of organizations have featured photos and videos from the project, including the New York Times, National Geographic, NBC, and CBS Sunday Morning. Spencer is pursuing her Ph.D. at Florida International University. Previously, she received her master of science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her bachelor of science at the College of William and Mary in Virginia.
Erin participated in the following Ocean Exploration Trust expeditions: