cj brothers
UAB Alumna
Collaborating Researcher

CJ Brothers has always loved the ocean. Growing up along the Oregon Coast, family vacations were spent camping in the rain and listening to the sea lions bark all night. Her love for research started as an undergraduate at Walla Walla University (WA) researching sea cucumbers in the Philippines and their ability to sense light. She says, “I realized that scientific research is simply asking questions about the world around us and developing the tools to help answer those questions.” She continued researching sea cucumbers for her master’s degree, this time exploring how sea cucumbers obtain the materials and energy needed to dissolve and regenerate their internal organs every year.   

In 2012, CJ moved to Alabama to join the McClintock laboratory at UAB. For her doctoral work, she investigated the impact that climate change is having on sea urchins. By exposing sea urchins to near-future ocean conditions, she predicted the feeding, health, and behavior of sea urchins from several different coastal areas – the Gulf of Mexico, Australia, and Antarctica. Her studies led her to participate in a 2013 NSF-funded research cruise along the western Antarctic Peninsula, analyzing photographic images of sea urchins, king crabs, and the many other benthic invertebrates living off the coastline of Antarctica.  CJ is thrilled to be returning to Antarctica for the upcoming research season. One of her favorite parts about conducting research in Antarctica is sharing her experiences with others, especially elementary-, middle-, and high-school students. “Conducting research in Antarctica is surreal,” she states. “Everything in Antarctica is brighter and more impactful. You realize how beautiful and utterly fragile this ecosystem is, and you realize all over again, that we need to take action if we want others to continue to experience Antarctica as we know it.” When she returns from Antarctica, CJ will be starting as an Assistant Professor in Biology at Walla Walla University