Hello and welcome to the Sea Creature Fact of the Week!
As a marine scientist and educator, I live, work and play by the sea. I created SCFoW in October 2012 to share my passion for marine life with the world, and have been expanding and experimenting with it ever since. Every week (with occasional exceptions), I publish a one-page “fact-sheet” featuring one of the millions of fascinating organisms that live in our planet’s oceans. The sheet is packed with information, all of which is sourced from the primary literature so you can be sure you have accurate intel on your favorite species. And, of course, there are always beautiful pictures. The newsletter is sent via email, but I also update the website here by adding a new post containing the document.
In addition to the newsletter, there is lots to do and see around the site. Dive deeper into current issues in Marine Conservation; learn to make ocean-friendly consumer choices by Reducing Your Use of plastics or exploring the exciting world of Sustainable Seafood; stay current with the Global Ocean News; make waves in your classroom (or untraditional educational setting of your choice) with the Educational Resources collection and Interactive Games; or, follow along as I detail the adventures and misadventures of life as a marine scientist in Notes From the Field.
With this newsletter and website, I hope to inspire people of all ages to connect with nature, recognize how crucial our oceans are to the health of the planet, and support marine conservation efforts. I think environmental messaging should largely be positive, self-affirming and un-sensationalized. Also, it should be based in real, hard science. (Want to talk educational/conservation philosophy? Feel free to send me a message.) Most of all, I hope you enjoy exploring the site and learning about the weird and wonderful critters that live in the sea!
More about Me:
My name is Sydney and I am the creator and author of SCFoW. I completed my Masters degree in Marine Science at the University of Auckland (in New Zealand), where I studied biodiversity in coastal reef habitats using passive acoustic monitoring. After completing my thesis (and spending some much-needed time off traveling), I relocated to Seattle, WA (in the U.S.). I am currently serving in fellowship at the Environmental Protection Agency through an organization called ORISE, where I will conduct research (and outreach!) on the prevention and mitigation of marine pollution.
Outside of science research I have been an educator in various capacities for over ten years, in positions ranging from formal classroom teaching to open-ocean snorkel guiding to supervising oceanographic student research from a sailboat. SCFoW enables me to combine my interests in science and education in a fun, engaging way that also (bonus!) allows me to continuously enhance my web-development and social media skills. (Previously, these were nonexistent. It has been a crazy whirlwind of confusion and I’m still learning, so thanks for bearing with me while I slowly figure things out.)
Fun fact: I actually started this newsletter as a bit of a prank, because I used to bother my friends with random facts about sea creatures all the time. When you’re passionate about something as I am about the ocean, it’s hard to keep it to yourself! Finally one of them jokingly said, “why don’t you just write a newsletter already?” …so I did. It turned out people enjoyed it (or they were humoring me), so I kept going- and here we are!
Finally, a note on photo credits...
Many of the images used in my newsletters and as featured content in each post were obtained from the internet. Whenever this is the case, I have included a direct link to the original source in the “photo credits” section of the post. I do not claim any rights to these images. HOWEVER, the image of the seal at the header of the “old” (pre-2016) newsletters, the image of dark blue water behind the title on the home page, and many other images scattered throughout the site (e.g. all of the images on this page) are my own. In addition, sometimes I like to pretend I’m a photographer and use my own photos in the newsletters. If I don’t cite a picture, it’s because I took it!