Chelsea McLaughlin

Chelsea McLaughlin

Marine Operations Technician

Chelsea.McLaughlin@noaa.gov



Chelsea joined the Sanctuary in 2021 as a researcher with the science team, monitoring for Mission: Iconic Reefs and working with the Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease response. Chelsea grew up in Puerto Rico, where she spent most of her free time snorkeling and diving. While pursuing her undergraduate degree, Chelsea spent summers volunteering with different international marine conservation organizations learning basic survey techniques. After graduating from Mount Holyoke College, she worked as coral reef ecology lecturer for Operation Wallacea in Utila, Honduras during the summers. While in Utila, she was able to gain experience working with projects ranging from assessing Diadema antillarum prevalence to stereo-video and benthic surveys. Chelsea moved to Hawai’i in 2014 to work as a scuba instructor in a different ocean but found her way back to Caribbean. She worked as a site supervisor for Operation Wallacea in the Bahamas where she headed the coral research team while supervising data collection for eight students’ dissertations on various topics.

Chelsea moved to the Florida Keys in 2016. She worked as a scuba instructor while completing her master’s in marine conservation at the University of Miami. Her thesis focused on lesion recovery in Acropora cervicornis. She is an avid recreational and technical scuba diver and is excited to work to protect the reefs she loves.