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FIU Marine Sciences Program Ph.D. Candidate Mark Barton is “one of those lucky few who knew what they wanted to do with their lives from an early age.” After first seeing marine life at the age of 8, he knew that he wanted to be a marine scientist.

Today, Barton is a part of Dr. Kevin Boswell‘s Marine Ecology and Acoustics Lab, where he studies the ecology of Arctic fish. His research focuses on how Arctic nearshore fish communities are structured, and how the food web is structured within their habitat.

Outside of his research with FIU, Barton is passionate about encouraging all people to become involved in marine conservation. The benefits of protecting our oceans, he argues, are boundless.

“Oceans provide a vast amount of resources. Though [they are] large and seem infinitely resilient, the resources that [they] provide are not,” warns Barton. If we are able to manage these resources in a sustainable way, however, he is hopeful that we can continue to benefit from everything that oceans have to offer us in future generations.

While the Arctic Ocean remains relatively pristine because of the protection provided by its ice cover, rising global temperatures caused by climate change are threatening its health. In addition to climate change, the Arctic Ocean faces potential threats from the tourism, shipping, oil, and commercial fishing industries’ newfound interest to exploit this ocean. For this reason, Barton encourages everyone to get involved in their own way, whether it be through volunteering at beach cleanups, reducing their use of plastics, or donating to marine conservation organizations.

He also encourages young scientist to follow their passion. “There are many opportunities for people to volunteer with different labs around the country and this gives them a chance to get out in the field and help with sample collection and really see what kind of work is being done to better understand our oceans.”

Learn more about Barton’s research by visiting Dr. Boswell’s lab website.