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

email: svonthun@mbari.org

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

Fauville, G., S. Dupont, S. von Thun, J. Lundin (2014). How can Facebook be used to increase ocean literacy? A case study of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute Facebook pageComputer & Education 82.

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.