Learn more about Sarah and her current research on bay scallops.
B.S. Biology, University of North Carolina
I've focused my career mainly on gaining experience. I've been
with the Molluscan Fisheries group at FWRI since 1999.
What are you working on now?
Bay scallop population assessment and research throughout the
Gulf of Mexico, with an immediate focus on the impact that the
recreational harvest has on local scallop populations. I'm working
with our Outreach Coordination Office to design and implement an
online web survey that will take a look at the numbers and volume
of scallops removed during this year's scallop season.
How is this information beneficial?
This information, along with our pre- and post-season abundance
surveys, will help fine tune our knowledge of the bay scallop's
critical stock levels. In other words, how many scallops (or what
volume of scallops) can be removed from the system before a
negative effect is observed.
Was this your original career interest? Why or why
I didn't really have a specific career picked out in college
until I took an invertebrate zoology class. The professor focused
mainly on marine animals, and I fell in love with the diversity and
uniqueness of the animals. I consider myself very lucky to have
found a position in the marine world working with molluscs.
What is your biggest accomplishment?
I would say that successfully managing our bay scallop program
year to year is my biggest accomplishment. I put a lot of time and
effort into developing and promoting our research. It gives me a
lot of satisfaction when I hear that others find scallops
fascinating and are interested in our science.
What do you like most about your career?
I love that several days during the month my office is on a
boat. In the summertime before the recreational scallop season
opens, I get to travel around the Gulf coastline scuba diving and
counting bay scallops. The shallow water seagrass beds are a
beautiful place to spend your day.
What do you like least about your career?
Of course the same thing that I love is oftentimes what I like
least about my job. Being away from my family for long periods can
take its toll, especially when things don't go as planned.
What are some of your biggest challenges?
My biggest challenge is just being able to adapt on the go.
Research science always seems to fluctuate - sometimes opposite of
what I was expecting - and knowing how to adjust my daily work
plan, equipment, or personnel to best suit the needs of the
research is challenging and fulfilling.
What advice would you give to someone interested in
pursuing a career in your field?
Don't give up, and be flexible. This can be a hard field to
break into, and even once you're in it can seem overwhelming at
times. Also, know that you might not start out working your dream
job, but with hard work and patience you can eventually reach your