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Paul Leary

RELP Cohort: 2015
School: Humanities and Sciences

Paul Leary is a PhD student in the School of Humanities and Sciences. His scientific career began underwater. During Pauls undergraduate career at University of California Santa Cruz, he had the incredible opportunity to train in their world class dive program, where, by the time he graduated with a B.S. in Marine Biology, he was certified as an AAUS Scientific Diver and NAUI Divemaster. Since then Paul has logged ~900 dives in many parts of the world, the vast majority for scientific work. At UCSC I worked as a technician for PISCO (Partnership for the Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans) where he conducted sub-tidal biodiversity surveys inside and outside marine reserves across the central California coast, following the passage of Californias 2007 Marine Life Protection Act. The profound differences in community structure that he observed betweens sites of different natural and anthropogenic influences inspired him to pursue a career understanding forces that shape underwater ecosystems.

Before beginning his PhD in 2011, Paul worked for 2 years as a research technician at Stanfords Hopkins Marine Station on a variety of interdisciplinary studies examining linkages between community dynamics within a kelp forest system, and variability in the physical environment. Now as 4th year PhD candidate in Biology, with a Civil and Environmental Engineering minor,he studies the hydrodynamics behind natural occurring low oxygen events in the kelp forest, and the mechanisms by which communities cope with these stressors. As an avid inventor/builder by personality, he takes every opportunity to use sensors and devices of my own design and construction in my research, and enjoy the blending of electrical and mechanical engineering approaches to solve ecological and environmental problems. When Paul is not doing science, you are likely to find him working on his sailboat The Wanderlust, playing music, or otherwise enjoying the incredible California coast.