Astrid Leitner

POSTDOCTORAL FELLOW

Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

7700 Sandholdt Road

Moss Landing, CA 95039

Phone: (831) 775-1903

Fax: (831) 775-1620

email: aleitner@mbari.org

Astrid is a postdoctoral fellow, reporting to Bruce Robison.  She earned her PhD in biological oceanography from the University of Hawaii, Manoa.  In addition, Astrid earned B.S. degrees with highest honors from the University of California, Santa Cruz, in marine biology and earth sciences with a concentration in ocean sciences.  While attending the University of Hawaii, Astrid worked as a course manager and lead teaching assistant, teaching assistant, and graduate research assistant.  Astrid is fluent in German and Spanish, and proficient in French.

Research Interests

I am an ecological oceanographer whose research interests lie at the intersection of ecology with biological and physical oceanography, as well as marine geology. I am interested in how abrupt and complex bathymetry including banks, seamounts, island slopes, canyons, and steep continental shelves influence the spatial distribution and behaviors of animals in the ocean by modifying the physical and biological environment, especially in the still poorly understood deep sea. These high-relief areas are hotspots of human activity such as fishing, mining, and tourism. I am interested in contributing to the understanding and mitigation of anthropogenic impacts in the ocean, with a current focus on deep-sea mining, using my perspective and approach to oceanographic research. To address these interdisciplinary questions, I foster strong collaborations across focused research groups and utilize a broad range of technologies including remotely operated and autonomous underwater vehicles, bioacoustics technologies, multibeam sonar for seafloor mapping, acoustic doppler current profilers, a variety of underwater camera systems, and direct fishing techniques. Abrupt topographies juxtapose distinct habitats, each with different communities, creating a unique oceanic front where the deep and shallow, the coastal and the offshore, and the benthic and the pelagic all come together with still largely unexplored ecological consequences.