Natalia Castro

Marine Lab Research Assistant

As a Laboratory Research Assistant at Point Blue’s Marine Lab in Petaluma, CA, my days are spent immersed in the world of marine ecology. I can often be found peering through a microscope, meticulously analyzing samples that include coastal bird pellets, regurgitations, California sea lion scat, and zooplankton collected off northern California’s coast. This work is not just about examination; it’s about understanding the intricate web of marine life. By studying these samples, we gain crucial insights into the food resources available to marine predators. This knowledge helps us identify trends in population fluctuations, which are often linked to food availability. Moreover, the data we collect plays a vital role in informing decisions related to fisheries management. Each day in the lab is a step closer to unlocking the mysteries of marine ecosystems and contributing to their sustainable management.

Since graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resource Conservation in 2017, my professional path has been diverse. I commenced my career as a marine science instructor in the captivating surroundings of the Florida Keys, where I gained invaluable insights into the rewards and challenges of outdoor education. Driven by a growing passion for fisheries, I then embarked on a field season back home on Cape Cod, MA, conducting recreational fishing surveys for the state of Massachusetts. Soon after that, I became a Groundfish Fisheries Observer where I worked aboard commercial fishing vessels in the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska. These experiences paved the way for my role here at Point Blue, where I am deeply inspired by the conservation work that is conducted not only in marine ecosystems, but in various ecosystems locally and globally.

When not in the lab or out at sea, I cherish moments at home with my family. Evenings are often spent strolling along Cape Cod’s sandy beaches with our beloved dogs, Luna and Milo. Whether in the midst of snow and ice or under the warm glow of the sun, these beaches are my sanctuary, where I find peace and a reminder to see the world with a sense of child-like wonderment.