Cassandra Brooks
Cassandra on the go! Author: Rob Dunbar

Cassandra Brooks

Marine Scientist

Antarctic Advocacy

meet cassandra

Cassandra Brooks’ drive to protect the ocean has taken her to all seven continents, though Antarctica holds her heart. She has a PhD from Stanford University and holds advanced degrees in environment and resources, marine science, and science communication. Cassandra works in the lab, underwater, and at sea. She was a core member of the Last Ocean, a grand-scale media project focused on protecting the Ross Sea, one of the healthiest marine ecosystems left on earth. Currently an assistant professor at the university of colorado boulder, she seeks to empower the next generations of environmental leaders.

Antarctic Advocacy
Nominated by: Ted Janulis MR'15
Class of 2022 Location USA
Cassandra teaching in Antarctica with Homeward Bound
Cassandra teaching in Antarctica with Homeward Bound

My research is driven by a desire to devise conservation solutions, especially around protecting the oceans and Antarctica. Antarctica is a global commons set aside for peace and science. It belongs to the world and all life depends on it. Antarctica and its Southern Ocean store the majority of the world’s freshwater. They regulate our climate and drive global ocean circulation. The polar regions are experiencing the most pronounced impacts of climate change with repercussions that include sea level rise and potential disruptions of Earth systems. Meanwhile, the Antarctic has emerged as a resource frontier, with international fishing operations increasingly encroaching south. We have very little time to act before changes in Antarctica become irreversible.

“Antarctica is a global commons set aside for peace and science. It belongs to the world and all life depends on it.”

- Cassandra Brooks
Cassandra presenting at Future Congress
Cassandra presenting at Future Congress Author: Rob Knight

The two major things that must be done immediately are to reduce global emissions and to implement a network of large-scale protected areas on the Antarctic continent and in the Southern Ocean. In recent years, I have emerged as a leading scholar in Antarctic marine conservation by facilitating protected areas and conservation initiatives. My hopes for the future are to advance fundamental knowledge of Antarctic biodiversity, to inform marine conservation efforts by working across the science-policy-public interface, and to train the next generation of students and scientists to be engaged scholars.

I do this work through my research and teaching at the University of Colorado Boulder, through active outreach with media and continued collaboration with international conservation organizations, as a delegate to Antarctic policy meetings, and as faculty of the Homeward Bound women’s science leadership initiative. I am committed to ensuring that future generations will thrive in a healthy ecosystem.

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