Growing up in Washington State in the Pacific Northwest made studying marine biology feel like a natural progression for Julie Schram. Both of her parents were avid SCUBA divers who shared their love and fascination with life under the ocean with Julie and her younger brother. Julie grew up on and around the Puget Sound. It wasn't until she began attending Western Washington University (WWU) and had to choose a major that she decided to formalize her interest in the organisms inhabiting along the shores and under the waters around her. A volunteer internship at a local small aquarium and university classes sparked her interest in the fascinating adaptations developed of marine invertebrates and seaweeds (macroalgae) of the sub-tidal and intertidal zones.
Following graduation from WWU, she worked as a marine educator, doing hands on and inquiry based education on the waters of the Puget Sound. This allowed Julie to share her enthusiasm and what she had learned as an undergraduate about unique adaptations of everything from bioluminescent phytoplankton to red rock crabs and many other aspects of life in the local Puget Sound watershed. While not doing outreach and education on the sailing vessels in Washington State, Julie worked as a laboratory technician for a science group associated with Palmer LTER, as a part of the summer research team at Palmer Station, Antarctica. This is also where she first met researchers from UAB who were also working at Palmer Station doing chemical ecology research.
Julie eventually decided to go back to school to continue her education. Having sparked her interest in chemical ecology research, Julie contacted James McClintock who encouraged her to come to Alabama to work in his lab. In 2008 she began work on her master's degree focused on the effects of ocean acidification on sub-lethal effects and regenerative capacity of Luidia clathrata, a sea star (starfish) commonly found in Tampa Bay, FL. She is currently working on her Ph.D dissertation investigating the some of the effects of climate change, specifically increased temperature and decreased pH, on a few species of marine mollusk and amphipod common around Palmer Station, Antarctica.
- Written by Anna Lloyd