Passionate about creating opportunities for explorers of all ages to engage with wild and under-studied places, Deb embraces the power of immersive experiences to inspire curiosity and conservation. Extended backcountry expeditions as a teen jumpstarted this commitment and continue to motivate her travels. No matter the location, she observes the natural environment with a detective’s mindset, seeking to understand how local history, geology, weather, and ecological processes together shape the coastal land- and seascape.
Deb studied earth science at Carleton College and holds graduate degrees in ecosystem biology, oceanography, and experiential education. Over the last two decades, she has worked as a sailor, teacher, and research scientist in locations around the world, complemented by professional intervals focused on map-making and wilderness-based leadership development programs. As Associate Professor of Oceanography and Chief Scientist with Sea Education Association (SEA), Deb takes undergraduates on multi-month voyages aboard sailing research vessels, training them in scientific techniques, navigation, leadership, and environmental and cultural stewardship.
Her own research efforts include mapping the distribution and abundance of marine plastic pollution and examining its ecological impacts; documenting changes in Pacific Ocean conditions resulting from El Nino events to better inform marine protected area management; and tracking the drifting seaweed Sargassum and the unique community of organisms it hosts throughout the North Atlantic. Deb is science advisor to the Lindblad Expeditions/National Geographic microplastics citizen science project.