My Research Background

Hi, I’m Skylar Bayer! I’m trained as a marine ecologist (Ph.D.) and a marine habitat resource specialist in the Habitat Conservation Division of the NOAA Fisheries Alaska Regional Office. I have expertise in shellfish population dynamics, invertebrate life history, fertilization ecology, extension work, and science communication. Areas of my work include conservation of nearshore habitats, scallops, aquaculture, and fisheries.

This page is a summary of my research career and is updated briefly maybe once per year. To see all my published manuscripts to date, click here (this is updated frequently). For more information on my SciComm experience and projects, check out this page, and if you are interested in Uncharted, updates on where to buy the book will be posted Spring 2023.

A long time ago as an undergraduate at Brown University, I started my research career at Toolik Lake Field Station in Alaska learning about nitrification in tundra soil microbes. After that I spent some time sailing across the Pacific Ocean with Sea Education Association learning how to conduct oceanography. I stuck around in Woods Hole studying hydrothermal vent communities in the Mullineaux Lab for an internship, an Alvin cruise and received my Masters of Science in Biological Oceanography from the MIT-WHOI Joint Program. I spent a lot of time identifying deep-sea larvae and learning histology techniques.

While in Maine, I studied the reproductive ecology of sea scallops (Placopecten magellanicus). I was very excited about the project because I was able to blend reproductive biology, population ecology, oceanography, fisheries in my experimental field, modeling and lab work. The sea scallop supports an economically important fishery both in Maine and federally.

My dissertation research specifically focused on the question, how does population density and abundance affect the percentage of eggs that are fertilized? This kind of basic fertilization ecology question is difficult to answer and is very important information for conservation and fishery management plans.

My research required the use of one-way flumes, current meters, spawning induction, developmental biology knowledge, MATLAB modeling, station deployments, SCUBA based field arrays, developing dock-based experiments, working with oceanographers, spat bags, and of course microscopes.

In 2016, I started collaborating with Dr. Pete Countway at Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences using genetic methods to detect and quantify scallop egg, sperm and potentially larvae from water samples. This work has led to my involvement in the Maine eDNA EPSCOR proposal funded by NSF in 2019. In 2017, I was employed as a post doc with Dr. Phil Yund at the Downeast Institute.

After my Knauss Fellowship in 2018, I completed a NRC Postdoctoral Research Associate fellowship from 2019-2020 at the NOAA Fisheries Milford Lab with Dr. Rose. We researched the impact of oysters on water quality. We are currently finishing manuscripts for publication from this project.

In Summer 2021, I went to Iceland as a Fulbright Scholar and worked with researchers from the MFRI (Hafrannsóknastofnun: Haf og vatn). My research focus was on the Iceland scallop fishery and the life history of the Iceland scallop. You can read my updates from May and June in my blog. We are continuing to finish the analysis from this project.

Starting in 2020, I held a tenure track faculty position at Roger Williams University overseeing their Shellfish Program, teaching eight different courses in two years, and overseeing five staff, and advising 20-30 students, including summer and semester long interns. I directed research on over five different grant funded projects focused on both shellfishery and shellfish aquaculture projects in collaboration with industry members and Rhode Island state government agencies. In August 2022 I left my faculty position for my current position in the Alaska Regional Office.

Website photo credits: The photos on this website are from Pete Countway, Alice Anderson, The Story Collider, Jesse Stuart, Rick Wahle, The University of Maine media group, Story District, Katy Newcomer, Thom Young-Bayer, Lydia Kapsenberg, Janan Evans-Wilent, Megan Chen, and myself. Avatar (cartoon) by @blackmudpuppy on Twitter.

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