Undersea Specialist icon Undersea Specialist

Shaylyn Potter

Shaylyn’s deep-rooted connection with the outdoors began early in life amid the beauty of small-town Oregon. From her childhood spent camping under the stars to the countless hours collecting insects and exploring streams, her formative years ignited an insatiable curiosity that continues to shape her career in exploration. Venturing beyond her hometown, Shaylyn studied abroad at James Cook University in Australia where she began scuba diving—an experience that unexpectedly redefined her career path. With academics following suit to this new underwater interest, she earned a Bachelor of Science in marine biology from Oregon State University. Equipped with her background in marine science and as a SCUBA instructor and underwater videographer, Shaylyn has worked professionally as a diver in diverse locations from the Arctic to the Antarctic since 2015.

Though she studied kelp forest ecosystems and enjoys macro diving in tropical waters, the enigmatic undersea world of Antarctica captured Shaylyn’s attention. Her dedication to this unique polar ecosystem led her to the University of Tasmania’s Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies where she is researching Antarctic continental shelf benthic biodiversity. Shaylyn became a certified manned submersible pilot in 2022, enabling her to better explore the mysteries of the deep sea and share her excitement for it with others. Shaylyn’s current focus is using bathymetric data conjointly with georeferenced seafloor images to create biodiversity distribution maps and predictive models. She’s investigating the ability of manned submersibles to collect seafloor image data to use for quantitative research and policy management. Her goal as a scientist is to help create baseline biodiversity surveys in remote ocean ecosystems, help others understand the importance of conserving biodiversity, and better integrate science into other fields (like expedition travel). If you didn’t love marine invertebrates before meeting Shaylyn, you certainly will after! Follow her undersea adventures on Instagram @save.our.plankton or her website www.saveourplankton.com.