“(Caleb’s) passion has shown me that forming a strong relationship between science and the people who know the land, plants, and animals will strengthen the benefit for our environment.”
Iñupiaq, Native Village of White Mountain
University of Alaska Southeast (Juneau)
Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology
Class of May 2020
Your lab work looks awesome! Can you tell us what you’re doing in this photo?
Here I am measuring Pacific blue mussels with a caliper and recording their data. These mussels were collected from three regions in the Gulf of Alaska; Prince William Sound, Kenai Fjords, and Katmai. I measure the mussel samples that the scientists bring back from the research trips. Once I have enough data I enter it into an excel spread sheet. The data is used to monitor the density, size, and abundance of the mussel beds. The mussels are monitored because they are an important resource of food in the nearshore marine web. They are a crucial part to the diet of many predators including sea otters, black oystercatchers, and several species of sea ducks and sea stars.
What does marine conservation mean to you? How do you engage with marine conservation at school and/or at home?
The concept of marine conservation to me means conserving and protecting the health of marine ecosystems. During my summers I engage in internships that contribute to Alaska’s marine life. While I’m in school I focus on my difficult STEM classes and prepare myself for the complicated concepts in science that I want to apply to the research projects I work on.
What are your future educational and career goals? What are the top three things that are moving you toward those goals?
Once I finish my degree in marine biology I would like to gain more experience in marine conservation of arctic marine species and discover other aspects of marine biology that I may like and that will benefit to my community. After completing an internship this summer with the United States Geological Survey, where I worked on the Nearshore Marine Sea Otter Project, I further solidified my passion for marine conservation and sustainability.
Do you have a story about a personal connection to Caleb or his legacy?
Although I have never met Caleb Pungowiyi, his legacy for creating stronger connections and relationships between our rural communities and the Western science community has inspired me to see other aspects of science. His passion has shown me that forming a strong relationship between science and the people who know the land, plants, and animals will strengthen the benefit for our environment.
Can you share a fun fact about yourself?
I have been making and selling jewelry since I was 12 years old! I started selling my jewelry in the AC’s entrance way in Nome and I continue to sell my jewelry as a hobby in the Norton Sound Regional Hospital.
Thank you for your commitment to marine conservation and continuing the legacy of Caleb Lumen Pungowiyi!