Alondra Islas

Last Updated May 2020

aislasva 'at' my 'dot' hpu 'dot'





Alondra was born and raised in Hayward, California. Her earliest memory where she became curious about marine life was at a young age, on a family trip to Monterey Beach. There she explored through tidal pools for crabs, anemones, and sea stars. From there on, sea stars fascinated her like nothing else and her curiosity for the ocean continued to grow. In 2014, she was admitted into COSMOS Summer Program at the University of California - Irvine and attended a host talk about the career of a talented marine biologist. Instantly she was inspired and realized that she could turn her passion into a professional career.

With her mind set on a career in marine science, Alondra attended the University of California - Santa Barbara and obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Aquatic Biology in June 2019. During her undergraduate career, she engaged in educational and research opportunities to expand her experience in marine science related-fields.

During the summer of 2017, Alondra volunteered at the Santa Barbara Sea Center and educated visitors about marine organisms and their ecological role in marine ecosystems. She was able to work hands-on with marine invertebrates and reef sharks. Through this volunteer opportunity, she enjoyed bringing educational insight to the public because it was a resource of information she did not have outside of college courses and a way to express to people why the ocean is so important.

Alondra also dedicated two years working for the Moorea Coral Reef Lab at UC Santa Barbara. As an intern she helped a graduate student with their research project by conducting video analysis and data collection. She gained knowledge in fish behavior and ecology, specifically on Stegastes nigricans, and spent long hours collecting and organizing data.

In 2018, Alondra studied abroad in Australia at the University of Queensland, where she participated in a program focused on marine biology and terrestrial ecology and completed two group research projects. One project focused on the effects of filtration activity by filter feeders (oysters, mussels, clams, and sponges) on turbidity and sedimentation. The second research project, completed on Heron Island, focused on the habitat selection and behavior of xanthid crabs. For both projects, she took a major role in conducting the data analysis, since statistics is one of her strengths. Through the study abroad program she gained several valuable skills and experiences in research, field work, and data analysis.

After graduating from undergraduate school she quickly realized her next step was to pursue graduate school to continue to develop her career in marine science. Alondra has always had a strong aspiration to contribute to marine conservation, with plastic pollution being an area of particular interest. When she came across Dr. Hyrenbach's research on marine vertebrates plastic ingestion and conservation, she immediately found his lab objectives matched her interests.

Back to People