- October 2022
Extension Program Associate
MSU Coastal Research and Extension Center
Years in Position: 1
Years of Service to MSU: 1.5
Most people have a favorite memory on the job, but it likely doesn’t compare to Alena Anderson’s experience of the first time she tagged and released a shark. Yes, a shark.
“While working with sharks and reef fish is commonplace for me now, I never take these experiences for granted,” said Anderson. “It's gratifying to see this work feed into our understanding of the abundance and distribution, life history (age and growth, maturity), movements and migrations, and feeding ecology of a wide range of important Gulf species.”
As part of the Marine Fisheries Ecology Program, Anderson’s work is focused on providing science-based solutions to common issues affecting commercial and recreational fishermen in the northern Gulf of Mexico.
“I’m also enthusiastic about communicating science to the public and am interested in finding creative ways to increase research accessibility. I enjoy bridging these topics by creating extension-based content and facilitating outreach events centered around marine fisheries and coastal ecology,” said Anderson.
Her interest in marine biology dates to grade school and now that her lifelong passion has turned into a career, Anderson said she’s grateful for the opportunity to continue learning about marine ecosystems and fisheries science.
For others who share a similar passion, Anderson shared this advice, “It's important to be detail oriented and adaptable. Oftentimes we must work quickly to solve problems that arise both in the office and on the water.”
During her free time, Anderson enjoys being outdoors, going to concerts, and spending time with friends and her cat, Mako.
Anderson earned her bachelor’s degree in Marine Biology from the University of California, San Diego, and she is currently pursuing a master’s degree at MSU in Wildlife, Fisheries, and Aquaculture.