Heidi Hirsh is a Ph.D. candidate in the Earth System Science department at Stanford University. Her dissertation research focuses on understanding the short-term impacts of seagrass community metabolism on the seawater carbonate system. She hopes to explore how seagrasses might buffer calcifying communities against ocean acidification. Heidi has spent two summers in the Republic of Palau studying tropical seagrass communities adjacent to thriving coral reefs.
Heidi first experienced independent research in high school through a four-year extracurricular marine chemistry program. She learned to dive in Puget Sound and used SCUBA to implement an original research project to capture and quantify the diatom, Pseudonitzschia spp.in Quartermaster Harbor, WA. Heidi pursued a bachelors degree in Marine Science at the University of San Diego where she graduated in 2012. Her undergraduate thesis research provided opportunities to travel to Baja California Sur and Uganda, solidifying a passion for field work and solution-driven science. In October 2012, Heidi joined the crew of Sea Education Association's SSV Robert C. Seamans for the Plastics at SEA North Pacific Gyre Expedition where she documented micro-plastic concentrations and marine debris while sailing from San Diego to Honolulu. The following spring, she accepted a position as a research assistant documenting how marine sediment dynamics are affected by watershed erosion, runoff and restoration activities in St. John, USVI. She lived on-site at the Virgin Islands Environmental Research Station at Lameshur Bay for 13 months where she was the VIERS Science Camp Environmental Education Coordinator.
In addition to Palau, her marine biogeochemistry research has taken her to Palmyra Atoll and sent her down deeper than 600-feet in a submersible off the coast of Bermuda. Heidi embraces collaboration and interdisciplinary research; her research brings together biogeochemistry, ecology, hydrodynamics and remote sensing. Heidi is an NSF Graduate Research Fellow and she enjoys mentoring all ages of up-and-coming scientists!