Julie Barber

Region: 
North America
Scholar Date: 
1999 to 2000

After completing the scholarship, Julie moved north to Glacier Bay National Park in Alaska where she worked for the following four seasons as a fisheries technician/research diver for the park service. Because this particular project looked at the effects of sea otter foraging on the benthic ecology of a glacial fjord system, Julie spent the majority of her time underwater collecting tons of data on local invertebrates and algae (and dreaming of good visibility in the tropics). During her seasonal time off from the park service, she also began work on her masters degree in biology at the University of Rhode Island. This resulted in designing a project that allowed her to return to Alaska and work for the park service on the sea otter foraging effects project, as well as on her own Dungeness crab fisheries research. Julie completed her M.S. degree in 2004 and was offered a position as a marine ecologist with the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) where she ran a habitat enhancement project in outer Boston Harbor. Information on this project can be found here. The primary goal of this project was to enhance hard bottom habitat in an area that had been disturbed by marine construction. Julie and her coworkers designed a monitoring program to characterize and track larval settlement and the development of benthic invertebrate and finfish populations on the rocky artificial reef, nearby natural reefs, and control sites. Ultimately, data collected from this project should provide insight into whether or not naturalistic artificial reefs can be successful as a mitigation tool. This job involved year-round diving in frigid New England waters and now Julie dreams of getting a job that combines her interests in research diving with warmer water and clear visibility!
After completing her work for the habitat enhancement project at the DMF, Julie left her job (on good terms) to travel around parts of the world with her fiance, Jay. Julie was bitten by the travel bug back in her undergraduate years at the University of New Hampshire when she left the USA to study abroad for a year in Australia at James Cook University. Not even a year of non-stop travel as the 1999 Our World Underwater Scholar could satiate her appetite for travel. So Jay and Julie planned this current trip for years and finally saved up enough money to take off and travel. They were able to visit French Polynesia, New Zealand, Oz, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Nepal, and a few countries in southern Africa. Diving played a significant role in this trip and Julie and Jay feel very lucky because they were able to explore some fantastic dive sites. You can check out their blog at this site for more information. Now that they are back in the USA, they are relocating to Washington where Julie hopes to find another awesome job in benthic ecology, although she realizes that the water will be just as cold in Washington as it was in Boston Harbor and Alaska.