#Scifund Challenge Round 4 with Brian Clark

#Scifund Challenge Round 4 with Brian Clark


Each day we are going to highlight one of the amazing research projects seeking funding in Round 4 of the #Scifund Challenge. Today we learn about Giant Sea Bass from Brian Clark. (Author’s note: no matter how badly you want these to be deadly monsters from the bottom of the sea, that you need to get in a giant mech suit to defeat, it is not going to happen…)

Tell us about yourself, where you are from, and where you see yourself going.

Hey I’m Brian, a grad student in my first year at California State University, Northridge. I’m from southern California but I’ve lived all over the state: San Diego, Orange County, San Francisco and now Los Angeles!

My current plan is to continue on to a PhD program at Scripps and continue in a life of research. I also hope to start an educational outreach program where kids of all ages get exposure to California Oceans and get them as stoked about marine science as I am.

How did you get involved in your research project?

During my undergrad I was given the opportunity to do a research project out on Santa Catalina Island, where I was looking at dominance behavior of Leopard sharks, Triakis semifasciata. One of the professors who came to my talk was so excited that I decided to do behavior research afterwards offered me a spot in his lab. Once I agreed to come check it out he proposed this awesome project where I would get to study the behaviors  of this super charismatic megafauna and I was sold.

Why is your research important to you? Why should others fund it?

Nobody really knows much about Giant Sea Bass. Studying their behavior is great way to learn about them and get others interested in doing research on them as well. Behavioral research basically disappeared when molecular biology “hit the scene.” This research is part of the revival of behavioral studies and organismal behavior is something that I have always been curious and passionate about. I want to aid in the preservation of this endangered fish and prove that behavioral ecology is still a relevant science. I would love for kids to be able to see the same fishes I got to see growing up in the wild and not just in aquaria.

Others should fund it because they want to learn more about Giant Sea Bass, they want to conserve a species that was almost fished to extinction. Or they think behavioral ecology is as cool as I do 🙂

Why did you decide to participate in the SciFund Challenge?

A professor at my school sent out an email about it and I’ve seen so many people raise money through crowdfunding. I figured it was worth a shot and regardless of reaching my goal, that it would be a great learning experience for myself.

What was the most difficult aspect of building your SciFund Proposal? What was your favorite? 

The most difficult for me was putting together the video, but at the same time it was my favorite. I have such a hard time being in front of a camera, I just get super nervous and forget what I’m trying to say. My lab partners and I sat around on a Friday night going around the lab trying to find the best places to shoot and every time I started to get nervous, they would say and do things that would make me laugh. It ended up being a really cool bonding experience for us and I plan on making a couple more to further inform and promote my research.

Tell us something random. Something funny. Something borrowed. Something blue.

I have to thank my mentors for inspiring me to push on in my field. They have done so much to help me get where I am today. Each one has their own catch phrase that  me that will stick for the rest of my life and I feel like everyone in research should live by these words.

“Science never sleeps.” –Dr. Karen Crow

“If science was easy, everyone would be doing it” –Dr. Peter Edmunds

You can find Brian’s project here.