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Spring 2019: A Voyage of Discovery
Professor & Oceans Specialist

Laurie McConnico

Cuesta College

Laurie McConnico is a marine ecologist and biology professor at Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo, CA. She is a native Californian who grew up in Fresno (the very hot, land locked central valley). Her interests in marine biology developed as a child, often camping on the central coast with her family (although her mother does not like to admit to having once tolerated camping).  She later earned a BS in Biology from UC San Diego and her MS in Marine Science from Moss Landing Marine Labs. While studying at Moss Landing, Laurie started working with seaweeds and fell in love with Baja California, where she completed her PhD.

Laurie teaches undergraduate courses in oceanography, marine biology, ecology, phycology, general biology, environmental science, applied and environmental microbiology, and field studies programs in CA and Baja, México. In 2017 she was awarded the Pete Pedersen Award for teaching excellence. She enjoys working with students and is grateful to teach field courses that take her students throughout the central coast of CA, Big Sur and the Channel Islands. Laurie and her colleague Dr. Favoreto recently launched a new field program in Baja, México where students explore the local ecology and gain undergraduate research experience.

Laurie got her start in Marine Biology at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, working in Dr. Levin’s Lab as an undergraduate and was lucky to participate in an Alvin Submersible dive while in the Gulf of Alaska. She also moved to Florida for a bit and worked at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution. Since then, Laurie’s own research interests focus on marine algae and invertebrates. She has explored intertidal and subtidal habitats in Alaska, California, Florida, Hawaii and México. She recently completed a project working on nutrient dynamics associated with rhodolith beds (free living coralline algae) on the Gulf and Pacific coasts of Baja. This research was done in association with Universidad Autónoma de Baja California Sur in La Paz, México where Laurie completed her PhD.

In addition to teaching and research, Laurie enjoys laughing, traveling, hiking and anything to do with the ocean. She speaks Spanish, considers salsa her favorite food, drives a Subaru Outback with 240K miles, and is still mourning the loss of Tom Petty. She will be sailing with Semester at Sea for the first time in Spring 2019 and is looking forward to the journey with all of you.