Earthwatch Scientist, Vivian Kim

Vivian Kim

Education & Laboratory Assistant
USC Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies


What do you enjoy most about working with marine coastal ecosystems?

I was born and raised in Southern California and so the marine coastal ecosystem to me is home. The intertidal is where my love for the ocean started and is what inspired my career path. I’m amazed by the effect the ocean has on life, how it has shaped the Earth, and how inextricably interconnected we as humans are to the ocean. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to research our local marine coastal ecosystem, especially amidst all of the environmental change we are currently experiencing. To see these changes right off our coasts, in the intertidal zone, rocky reefs, and kelp forest environments really brings it home.

How does citizen science support your research?

Citizen science supports our research because it provides more hands, eyes and ears out in the field to help track changes that we are currently experiencing. It is vital to have as many participants involved who can monitor and record these changes so that they become integrated into the science, establish a connection with our research, understand its significance and how it will affect them.

What is one of your favorite moments in the field?

There are quite a few favorite moments of mine and it seems to be when nature is in the mood to surprise me. Finding a miniscule Hopkins Rose Nudibranch under a small patch of algae, a sieve full of worms at mudflats, being surrounded by a school of bonito, or when my coworkers and I are caught by surprise by a small tidal wave – nature at its best.

  • B.S. in Aquatic Biology, University of California, Santa Barbara (U.S.)
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