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Jessica Kendall-Bar

PhD Candidate in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Santa Cruz

Jessica Kendall-Bar is a PhD candidate studying Marine Mammal Physiology and Neuroscience in the Costa and Williams’ labs at UC Santa Cruz. After studying Marine Science and Integrative Biology at UC Berkeley, she began her dissertation research which explores new techniques for monitoring sleep in wild marine mammals. A scientist by training, Jessica's research has spanned a wide range of topics including oceanic geochemistry, octopus behavior, marine arthropod mating behavior, moray eel behavior, human sleep deprivation, and marine mammal neuroscience. She has received multiple awards for her academic and research accomplishments, including the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, the National Geographic Early Career Grant, the Frederic Fairfield Memorial Award, the Sooy Graduate Research Fellowship the UC Regents’ and Chancellors Scholarship, and the Ernest F. Hollings Scholarship through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

However, Jessica believes that scientific progress is futile unless communicated successfully. Jessica’s illustrations, photography, animations, photography, and cinematography aim to accurately portray science and its role in preserving the underwater ecosystem. She has illustrated two children’s books. The Castor Oil Rig Tales, published by AzBukiVeri Press, depicts the conservation success story of a community of marine organisms who colonize an oil rig. Her second children’s book, Looking for Marla, tells the scientifically accurate story of a clownfish that changes sex from male to female. One of her animations illustrates her scientific research on marine mammal sleep and was displayed at Burning Man, a festival that reaches over 50,000 people each year. Her work as a science communication strategist for the Coastal Resilience Lab at UC Santa Cruz on the flood protection benefits of coral reefs and mangroves has been presented to top-level decision-makers at forums with leaders across the US, Pacific, and Indian Ocean nations. At the interface of science and art, Jessica endeavors not only to make meaningful discoveries but also to convey those results broadly and creatively to impact diverse populations within and outside of academia.


  • –present
    PhD Candidate, University of California, Santa Cruz


  • 2016 
    University of California Berkeley, BA in Marine Science and Integrative Biology