Coral Reef preservation at Moody Gardens, my sponsor organization!

Photo credit: JW Porter/University of Georgia via

The main sponsor of my Exxpedition journey, Moody Gardens, has really amped up their conservation efforts in the last few years and I am very proud to join their staff once again. One of my friends who is an aquarist there, Ryan Hannum, has a soft spot for corals. Not just soft corals either. All types (see what I did there?) He has created partnerships with local hobby aquarists to propagate more coral species. So cool! In addition to that program, Moody Gardens has been housing precious corals from Florida’s reefs

“About 100 Florida coral colonies are now living in a display tank at Moody Gardens aquarium in Galveston, Texas, one of a dozen new homes for the invertebrate animal colonies.”

“Recently, we have been suffering from a really bad outbreak of coral disease,” said Andrew Baker, associate professor of marine biology and fisheries at the Rosenstiel School.

“Until we understand the disease and find a cure, we’re trying to protect the genetic diversity of the corals by rescuing them and growing them in captivity. Someday, we may be able to repopulate the reef with those corals.”

The school has retrieved over 700 coral colonies, including 400 in July that were chiseled off the reef around the Dry Tortugas. The corals rescued earlier spawned in late August in tanks in Miami, which Baker said was a welcome sign that scientists were proceeding correctly. The school collects fertilized eggs after spawning and attempts to grow new colonies.

The first few hundred coral samples were sent to a network of care providers at public zoos and aquariums, who will look after them for the foreseeable future.

For the full article:

It’s official. I have a Crew page!

Oh, hey there “Crew Member”…

Check out the Leg 6: Panama to the Galapagos crew page!

Exxpedition: The all-women voyage exploring the impact of plastics and toxics in our ocean

β€œIn the end, we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand and we will understand only what we are taught.”

β€” Baba Dioum
Photo credit: (c) eXXpedition / Jen Russell – North Pacific 2018 Hawaii to Vancouver


If you’re still wondering what this “adventure” is all about, take a minute and visit the project website here:

Two things I never thought I would do: design a website on my own or sail to The Galapagos collecting ocean plastics. But here I am. And I am so excited! On January 28th, 2020 in Panama City, I will board a 70-ft research ketch [ ]with 7 other women who were selected to round out this all-women crew of scientists, doctors, engineers, educators, and artists. We will be led by a few sailing and research experts (also women) on a 10 day sailing trip to San Cristobal, Galapagos. While at sea, we will use a manta trawl to collect ocean plastics and have a lab station on board to analyze its components. The crew will also be having round table discussions on the findings, brainstorming ideas, and sharing our knowledge to form a unified approach to solutions. At our starting and ending ports, we will collaborate with other experts and members of the local community to address their concerns and help develop solutions. There are 30 legs total, spanning around the world in 2 years. The organization interviewed many, and then hand-picked 300 women from a huge pool of applicants. I still can’t believe I made the cut! The outreach will be ongoing following each crew member’s journey. Coming from so many different corners of the globe, as well as different professions, our reach will be far and wide. I can’t wait to be a part of this incredible mission!