Lauren Fraser

Last Updated December 2019

Lauren grew up on the coast of South Carolina surfing and diving so she always loved and respected the ocean. Even as a young child, Lauren can't remember wanting to be anything other than a marine biologist. It was watching people come to the beaches that she called her backyard and leave all their trash behind that made her realize she had a deep passion for marine conservation.

Lauren attended Clemson University in South Carolina and obtained her B.S. in Conservation Biology in May 2016. At Clemson, Lauren's passion for environmental activism thrived through being president of EcoReps, the on-campus organization dedicated to sustainability, being an involved member of the Sierra Club, and establishing her own non-profit Pelican's Belly. Pelican's Belly has been an exciting opportunity for Lauren because it has allowed her to address the growing concern of marine debris in her own community. She works to establish on-going, sustainable beach cleanups in coastal communities as well as educate the locals and visitors to take ownership of their surroundings.

Lauren did undergraduate research through Clemson University with her field site being in the Florida Keys. Her research took place in Dr. Michael Childress's Conservation of Marine Resources lab, where she worked for two years contributing to research on Caribbean spiny lobsters social behavior and parrotfish diet. In her second year she was given an independent project where she focused on parrotfish territoriality and how these behavioral interactions could impact the coral reef system in the Middle Florida Keys. She gave poster presentations of her research at a variety of conferences in South Carolina, Georgia and Florida and won third place for her presentation at the Clemson Biological Sciences Annual Student Symposium. Lauren also presented a talk in March 2016 at the Southeastern Ecology and Evolution conference in Tallahassee, FL on her research with parrotfish territoriality.

While she loved doing research on parrotfish and coral, Lauren always knew her passion was in studying marine debris, particularly the impact marine debris has on wildlife. After looking for graduate programs, she came across a paper written by Dr. Hyrenbach about plastic ingestion in marine birds and was immediately hooked. It didn't take long for her to realize the goals of the Pelagicos lab aligned directly with what she is interested in.

Her research focuses on the diet, plastic ingestion and the potential effects of this pollution on Bonin Petrels from Midway Atoll, NW Hawaiian Islands.


Lauren defended her thesis on November 2019:

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