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Claudia E. Mills
I work year-round off-campus at the UW Friday Harbor Laboratories, where I have spent more than 30 years studying many aspects of the biology of the exceptional and easily accessible marine gelatinous zooplankton fauna. I also frequently do collaborative fieldwork elsewhere, studying both oceanic and nearshore faunas, and deep sea as well as shallow-living forms, moving toward a global sense of the biology, ecology, and biodiversity of (especially) medusae and ctenophores. I work primarily at the population and individual levels, but also at the ecosystem level including analysis of large and small-scale macroplankton community structure (relying on submersible or ROV observations). See my website at http://faculty.washington.edu/cemills/index.html.
The image above is an in situ video frame of the deep-sea jellyfish C. millsae Thuesen 2003 (~25 mm bell diameter) taken off California from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute's ROV Tiburon, shown here approximately life-size, with permission from Erik Thuesen and Steve Haddock. This distinctive species, which broods young jellyfish within the bell cavity, still attached to the gonads, has now been found on both sides of the North Pacific and in the North Atlantic and may well have worldwide deep-sea distribution.
My work on the plankton has led me into the field of ocean conservation -- it now appears that although jellyfish may be increasing in some highly disturbed ocean ecosystems, there are other places, including Puget Sound, where their numbers are dwindling as the marine habitat becomes degraded. In addition to an interest in the establishment of marine protected areas on the high seas, supplementing those traditionally set up in coastal areas, I am also concerned about, and studying the increasing impacts of non-native marine species in nearshore ecosystems. I am passionate about the responsibility of scientists to inform the public about environmental change and choices, and contribute on behalf of both marine and terrestrial ecosystems.
Some educational landmarks:
Miscellaneous courses at University of Washington 1966-1977
B.A. Biology, Colorado College 1972
Summer classes at Bodega Marine Laboratory, University of California 1971, 1972
Summer classes at Friday Harbor Laboratories, University of Washington 1974, 1976
Limnology lab and field assistant for W.T. Edmondson, UW Zoology 1974, 1976-77
M.S. Zoology, Florida State University 1976
Ph.D. Biology, University of Victoria (Canada) 1982
Miscellaneous courses at Skagit Valley College (in Friday Harbor) 1986-present
Flute 1960- ; oboe 1994- ; marimba 2003-
I have been resident at the University of Washington's Friday Harbor Laboratories since 1978, but have been a visiting post-doc or researcher for several-month stints in New Zealand, at the Station Zoologique in Villefranche-sur-Mer, France, at the Station Biologique in Roscoff, France, and at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution in Florida. I typically go to sea on about one oceanographic cruise per year and feel extremely fortunate to have had many opportunities to observe and contemplate the open ocean and deep-sea up-close, in situ, on numerous dives in manned submersibles and using state-of-the-art ROVs (Remote Operating Vehicles).
Please note: Dr. Mills is not eligible to take graduate students.