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Dr. Jessica Meir

Based at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Dr. Jessica Meir studies the diving physiology and diving behavior of Emperor Penguins in Antarctica. She is also an Antarctica diver! Here's a short video about Jessica and her work in Antarctica...

Dr. Jessica Meir, based at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, studies the diving physiology of Emperor Penguins and Northern Elephant Seals. Over the past several years Jessica has traveled to Antarctica during the Austral Spring season to study the diving physiology and diving behavior of Emperor Penguins as they dive beneath the sea ice covering the Ross Sea.
Jessica is also an accomplished scuba diver and uses diving in her marine biology research work. As an Antarctica diver, Jessica is able to study the diving behavior of Emperor Penguins while diving with them under the ice!
You can read more about the Emperor Penguin work of Jessica and her team in Antarctica at their fantastic blog from Penguin Ranch!
Jessica came to her marine biology studies of the physiology in diving Emperor Penguins and Northern Elephant Seals from her work with NASA studying the physiology of astronauts in the extreme environment of space.
Jessica is particularly passionate about pursuing scientific objectives in extreme and challenging environments, requiring both a physical and mental challenge.  She obtained a Bachelor’s degree in biology from Brown University, then pursued her interests in space sciences, and went to the International Space University in Strasbourg, France for a Master’s degree.  Her interest in understanding how organisms function in extreme environments, led her to take a job at NASA Johnson Space Center that focused on how the human body responds to the microgravity environment of space flight.  Jessica worked at NASA for three years, and then decided to switch gears to another extreme, that of animals diving in the oceans. 
In Antarctica, Jessica has traveled annually with her research team headed by Scripps scientist Paul Ponganis to conduct an annual census at a number Emperor Penguin colonies in the Ross Sea area. Here is a short video about the team's recent census of the Emperor Penguin colony at Cape Crozier in Antarctica...