Susan von Thun

Senior Research Technician/ Social Media Specialist

Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

7700 Sandholdt Road

Moss Landing, CA 95039

Phone: (831) 775-2006


My Role at MBARI

As a Senior Research Technician in MBARI’s video lab, Susan has become an expert in identifying midwater animals from MBARI’s remotely operated vehicles (ROV) video. Video lab staff use VARS (Video Annnotation Reference System) to describe the animals and habitats observed with ROV and AUV video. She has worked with engineers and scientists to make this rich data set as robust and usable as possible. The data is publicly available through the VARS public query and MBARI Deep-Sea Guide.  She also manages MBARI’s social media and is passionate about science communication, using YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to share MBARI’s research with the public.

Susan participates in many research cruises with MBARI Scientists on MBARI vessels R/V Western Flyer and R/V Rachel Carson. On these expeditions. At sea, she uses VARS to annotate the video, as well as to find and identify target animals for the science team. She often writes about life at sea for MBARI’s Expedition logs.

Personal twitter handle: @omgirlsvt.

Educational Background

Publications and Presentations

von Thun, S., 2001, Oceanographic influences on larval recruitment of benthic invertebrates in Monterey Bay, Moss Landing Marine Laboratories Master’s Thesis.

Kogan, I., C.K. Paull, L.A. Kuhnz, E.J. Burton, S. Von Thun, H.G. Greene, J.P. Barry. 2006. ATOC/Pioneer Seamount cable after 8 years on the seafloor: Observations, environmental impact. Continental Shelf Research, 26(6): 771-787. PDF

von Thun, S., L.J. Lundsten, N.J. Stout, B. Schlining, J.L. Connor. A unique system for analyzing and describing seamount communities. Presentation at the European Marine Biology Symposium, Vienna, Austria, 2005.

Von Thun, S., J. L. Connor, J. Graybeal, N. J. Stout & L. J. Lundsten. Access to MBARI’S deep-sea video annotation data: 14 years of observation. Poster presentation at the 10th Deep-Sea Biology Symposium,
Coos Bay, Oregon, 2003.

Schlining, K., von Thun, S., Kuhnz, L., Schlining, B., Lundsten, L., Jacobsen Stout, N., Chaney, L., & Connor, J. Debris in the deep: Using a 22-year video annotation database to survey marine litter in Monterey Canyon, central California, USA. Deep Sea Research Part I. Open access article.

K.L. Smith, Jr., A.D. Sherman, C.L. Huffard, P.R. McGill1, R. Henthorn, S. Von Thun, H.A. Ruhl, M. Kahru, M.D. Ohman (accepted). Large salp bloom export from the upper ocean and benthic community response in the abyssal northeast Pacific: day to week resolution. Limnology and Oceanography.

S. von Thun, C. Huffard, A.D. Sherman, K. Seeley, K.L. Smith, Jr. (in prep) Pelagic Sargassum community change over 40-year period: bellwether of climate change in NW Atlantic Ocean. Submitting to Marine Biology.