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PhD Candidate
University of Washington
School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences

Bachelor of Science
Universtiy of Washington
Oceanography (Chemical), 2011


The risks of shell‐boring polychaetes to shellfish aquaculture in Washington, USA: A mini‐review to inform mitigation actions
Laura H. Spencer, Julieta C. Martinelli, Teri L. King, Ryan Crim, Brady Blake, Heather M. Lopes, Chelsea L. Wood. Aquaculture Research, 00:1–18, 2020, https://doi.org/10.1111/are.14921

Latent effects of winter warming on Olympia oyster reproduction and larval viability
Laura H Spencer, Erin Horkan, Ryan Crim, Steven B Roberts. Pre-print. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jembe.2021.151604

Carry-over effects of temperature and pCO2 in multiple Olympia oyster populations
Laura H Spencer, Yaamini R Venkataraman, Ryan Crim, Stuart Ryan, Micah J Horwith, Steven B Roberts. Ecological Applications, 30(3), 2020, e02060 https://doi.org/10.1002/eap.2060

Confirmation of the shell-boring oyster parasite Polydora websteri (Polychaeta: Spionidae) in Washington State, USA
Julieta C. Martinelli, Heather M. Lopes, Lorenz Hauser, Isadora Jimenez-Hidalgo, Teri L. King, Jacqueline L. Padilla-Gamiño, Paul Rawson, Laura H. Spencer, Jason D. Williams & Chelsea L. Wood. Scientific Reports volume 10, Article number: 3961 (2020) https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-60805-w

Pacific geoduck (Panopea generosa) resilience to natural pH variation
Laura H Spencer, Micah Horwith, Alexander T Lowe, Yaamini R Venkataraman, Emma Timmins-Schiffman, Brook L Nunn, Steven B Roberts. June, 2019. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part D: Genomics and Proteomics Volume 30:91-101 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cbd.2019.01.010

Larval response to parental low pH exposure in Pacific oysters (Crassostrea gigas)
Yaamini R Venkataraman, Laura H Spencer, Steven B Roberts. Journal of Shellfish Research 2019, https://doi.org/10.2983/035.038.0325

Characterization of proteomic response to natural environmental differences in the Pacific oyster (Crassostrea gigas) Yaamini R Venkataraman, Emma Timmins-Schiffman, Micah Horwith, Alexander T Lowe, Brook L Nunn, Brent Vadopalas, Laura H Spencer, Steven B Roberts. February, 2019. _Marine Ecology Progress Series 610:65-81. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps12858

Honors & Awards

Best graduate student presentation, 75nd Annual Shellfish Conference, virtual, Pacific Coast Section of NSA, September 20-22, 2021.
Graduate Research Opportunities Worldwide (GROW, Australia) May 2018, National Science Foundation
Non-Academic Research Internships for Graduate Students (INTERN, with NOAA Northwest Fisheries Science Center), June 2020, National Science Foundation
Graduate Research Internship Program (GRIP, with NOAA Northwest Fisheries Science Center), April 2020, National Science Foundation
Invited speaker and winner of the Student Spotlight Competition, Aquaculture 2019 in New Orleans, March 7-11, 2019.
Best graduate student presentation, 72nd Annual Shellfish Conference in Blaine, WA, Pacific Coast Section of NSA, September 18-20, 2018.
Graduate Research Opportunities Worldwide (GROW, Australia) May 2018, National Science Foundation
Australia–Americas PhD Research Internship Program April 2018, Australia Academy of Science
College of the Environment Student Travel Award, November 2017, University of Washington
Hall Conservation Genetics Research Award March 2017, University of Washington College of the Environment
Libbie H. Hyman Memorial Scholarship (Declined) March 2017, The Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology, Division of Invertebrate Zoology
Melbourne R. Carriker Student Research Grant March 2017, National Shellfish Association
NSA Student Travel Award January 2017, National Shellfish Association
Fellow, Graduate Research Fellowship Program (NSF GRFP), April 2016, National Science Foundation

Membership, Certificates, and Positions

Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association, member since 2016
National Shellfish Association, recruits co-chair and member since 2017
World Aquaculture Society, member since 2017
United States Aquaculture Society, social media subcommittee and member since 2017
UW Shellfish Club, Vice-President since 2017
PADI Open Water, 2015-present
UW Scientific Diver in-training


Ocean acidification impacts oysters’ memory of environmental stress, UW Press Release March 2020
Earth Echo International: STEM Career Close-Up, March 2016
Earth Echo International: Shell Shocked, March 2016
Geoduck as indicators of environmental change
Poster, NSA Annual Meeting in Knoxville, March 2017
Presentation, PCSGA Conference in Welches OR, September 2017

Contact me


A bit about me

As a Univeristy of Washington alumna with a B.S. in Chemical Oceanography, I am very pleased to return to the UW to pursue a Masters at SAFS as an NSF Graduate Fellow. In the years between I began my career at SustainableWorks, an ARRA-funded energy efficiency program in Seattle working to reduce residential energy consumption, then with the Seattle-based consulting firm Ross Strategic on a spectrum of environmental projects such as flood mitigation, Puget Sound salmon recovery, air quality on tribal lands, the EPA Exchange Network, etc. I then joined the Puget Sound Restoration Fund, a non-profit using boots-on-the-ground tactics to restore the native Olympia oyster & Pinto abalone in Puget Sound, where I gained valuable experience in hatchery techniques and a curiosity in shellfish restoration and research. Additionally, dual interests in scientific education/outreach and Ocean Acifidification led to volunteering with the Seattle Aquarium, the Ocean Inquiry Project, WA Sea Grant, and Earth Echo. In joining the Roberts Lab I seek to perform applied research to provide useful knowledge for shellfish aquaculture and restoration communities, with the express interest of maintaining affordable, delicious shellfish on our tables and shorelines.