Susan von Thun

Science Communication and Content Manager

Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

7700 Sandholdt Road

Moss Landing, CA 95039

Phone: (831) 775-2006

email: svonthun@mbari.org

Susan serves as the Science Communication and Content Manager in MBARI’s Information and Technology Dissemination (ITD) Division, a role she took on in 2020. She manages content across all of MBARI’s digital platforms working with the social media, editorial, and video teams to share MBARI’s work with the world. Before she took on the role of content manager, Susan was part of the MBARI Video Lab for 18 years, as a deep-sea biology expert, annotating thousands of hours of underwater video and participating in dozens of at-sea expeditions while also managing MBARI’s social media channels.

In 2009, Susan helped start MBARI’s YouTube channel, which now has 76+ million views in more than a decade of success. Since then, she led the effort to expand MBARI’s social media presence to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and now, TikTok. Across all of these platforms, MBARI has more than 465,000 followers and subscribers. Her passion lies in leveraging MBARI’s stunning imagery to tell stories about our ocean and the technology MBARI develops and uses to study it. Her mission is to inspire people to love our ocean and the diversity of life that calls it home and to become advocates for a healthy, thriving blue planet.

Susan shares news from MBARI, #SciComm content, and the occasional beautiful sunset over the Monterey Bay on Twitter: @susanvonthun.

Educational Background

Publications

Fauville, G., S. Dupont, S. von Thun, J. Lundin (2014). Can Facebook be used to increase scientific literacy? A case study of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute Facebook page and ocean literacy. Computers & Education Volume 82, March 2015, Pages 60-73. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2014.11.003

C. Huffard, S. von Thun, A.D. Sherman, K. Seeley, K.L. Smith, Jr. (2014). Pelagic Sargassum community change over 40-year period: bellwether of climate change in NW Atlantic Ocean. Marine Biology 161(12).

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 (2014). Large salp bloom export from the upper ocean and benthic community response in the abyssal northeast Pacific: day to week resolution. Limnology and Oceanography. 59(3): 745-757.

Schlining, K., von Thun, S., Kuhnz, L., Schlining, B., Lundsten, L., Jacobsen Stout, N., Chaney, L., & Connor, J. (2013). 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.

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.

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.

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

Invited Lectures

Invited lecture, Mysteries of the Deep. Monterey Bay Aquarium member night on Jan 14, 2017.

Invited workshop moderator: Balancing science communication and science: Achieving effective outreach using social media. Phycological Society of America conference, June 8, 2017.

Invited lecture, Coolest, weirdest, most engaging videos of deep-sea animals. Monterey Bay Aquarium Deep-Sea 2020 charrette. Aug 25, 2017.

Invited lecture, Beyond Books: What’s The Fuss About Twitter, Hashtags, and Instagram. Monterey county free public libraries. Jan 14, 2017.

Discussion facilitator, Balancing science communication and science: Achieving effective outreach when it’s not in your job description. Oceans Online Conference. Aug 2016.

Invited panelist, Engagning local communities, Citizen Science Symposium, Aquarium of the Pacific. Feb 20, 2016.

Trash on the deep ocean floor: Using advanced marine technologies to bring a hidden problem to light. von Thun S., Brewer P.G., Stout N.J. et al. Deep-Sea Biology Symposium, 2015.

Invited lecture, Trash in the deep sea: Bringing a hidden problem to light. Invited speaker at Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Symposium 
Sanctuary Currents 2014, Marina, CA

A characterization of marine debris in the Northeast Pacific deep ocean. von Thun, S., Lundsten, L., Schlining, K., Kuhnz, L., Schlining, B., Chaney, L., Jacobsen Stout, N., Connor, J. 5th International Marine Debris Symposium, Honolulu, HI, 2011

Observations of deep pelagic polychaete eggcases. von Thun, S. and K. Simmons. 12th Deep-sea Biology Symposium, Reykjavik, Iceland, 2010.

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

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