Mary Deere headshot

Mary Deere

Science/Data Team
Graduate Student
University of Louisiana at Lafayette

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

I recently graduated from Temple University with a Bachelor of Environmental Science with a minor in Biology. For the latter half of my undergraduate career I have been studying deep-water coral diversity. I have worked on a variety of projects that focused on identifying corals found along seamounts primarily in the Pacific. These identifications were used to help create a baseline of coral diversity. I used video data collected by ROVs to identify the corals to the lowest taxonomic level possible. Corresponding environmental variables was associated with each coral occurrence. The corresponding environmental data is used to help understand what is influencing coral distribution.

What sparked your initial interest in your career?

I have always been interested in learning about different ecosystems and how they are impacted by human influences, especially how humans impact marine life. My interest in the deep-sea began when I started working as an undergrad research assistant. This taught me a lot about how humans impact deep-sea communities. With little being known about the deep-sea I became interested in learning more about what diversity is like and looking at the extent of human impact. The research that I worked on is what influenced me to continue learning more about the deep-sea.

Who influenced you or encouraged you the most?

My undergraduate professors were a great influence on my research interest. My research mentors at my university have been instrumental in encouraging my interest in deep-sea corals. They have helped me learn more about developing a project, data analysis, and scientific communication.

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

Watching videos of the deep-sea has allowed me to see such a variety of incredible sea creatures that no one would know about without exploration. Seeing the diversity of corals across the deep sea is truly amazing.

What other jobs led you to your current career?

I have worked as an Undergraduate Research Assistant in the Cordes Lab through Temple’s Undergraduate Research Program and the Frances Velay Fellowship. Working in the lab has taught me a lot about both research and ways to communicate my research. I had the opportunity to participate on an expedition in 2019 that sparked my interest in spending time at sea. This time in the Cordes Lab is what has led to me pursuing a career in deep-sea ecology.

What are your degrees and certifications?

Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science -- Temple University 2020

What are your hobbies?

I like spending some of my free time reading. I also enjoy cooking and trying new recipes to share with my friends and family.

How did you get involved with the Ocean Exploration Trust?

My PI, Erik Cordes, and graduate mentor, Steve Auscavitch, introduced me to the Nautilus. Steve recommended me to work with Nautilus as a data logger.

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

To pursue different research opportunities at their university or outside internships to gain experience in what they are interested in. It’s a great way to build on your current interests and to make connections.


Mary participated in the following Ocean Exploration Trust expeditions: