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Biogeography Branch, Center for Coastal Monitoring and Assessment

MEET: Chris Caldow

Chief of Biogeography
NOS Center for Coastal Monitoring and Assessment

As chief of the Biogeography Branch, I oversee a program that provides resource managers with important information about where plants and animals live in the ocean. Using this information, they can then decide how best to manage the many activities that take place in the marine environment while still conserving marine life.

Chris Caldow

What do you like most about working at NOS?

I spend my days surrounded by some of the most incredibly talented individuals I have ever encountered. It’s also great to get paid for splashing around in the water all day, which I sometimes get to do!

What is the hardest part of your job?

There are so many management needs around the nation, yet we have time to address only a few. Making that selection is one of the most difficult parts of this position.

What is your educational background?

I have a bachelor of science in aquatic biology from the University of California at Santa Barbara, and a master of science in biology from the University of Houston.

What inspired your interest in the ocean and coasts?

I spent a number of years growing up near the waters around Vancouver, British Columbia, and then as an undergraduate on a campus that rests on the Pacific Ocean. Inspiration was everywhere.

How did you end up working at NOAA?

In 2000, I was a recipient of the Knauss Sea Grant Fellowship, which places graduate students in marine sciences with policymakers and managers in Washington, DC, who deal with marine issues on a regular basis. I connected with NOAA’s Biogeography Branch and have been here ever since.

What advice do you have for young people wanting a career in the "ocean realm"?

(1) Make sure to get involved in something you are truly passionate about. (2) Interview people who have careers in line with your interests to find out what they really do day-to-day. (3) Work hard, but make sure you still have fun.