"My interest in science started when I was little, as most people's do, and I remember as a kid going to visit the ocean...There was something magical about the ocean for me and when I was an undergraduate I was able to do some undergraduate research in Cozumel, Mexico...Once I put a mask and snorkel on and got underwater and saw the world that was underneath, I was hooked" - Eva DiDonato, NPS Marine Pollution Ecologist
Careers in Science: Marine Pollution Ecologist
- Marine Pollution Ecologist - Eva is a marine pollution ecologist for the National Park Service. She works with the 85 ocean and coastal parks in the National Park Service on water quality issues, the ecology of seagrass beds and coral reefs, and a range of other topics.
Eva works with the 85 ocean and coastal parks in the National Park Service on water quality issues, the ecology of seagrass beds and coral reefs, and a range of other topics. One of Eva's projects has been to work with states to create water quality criteria that protect park waters. The goal is to prevent nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus from harming the plants, birds, fish, and other wildlife that inhabit estuaries, wetlands, and oceans.
"I get to work with people all around the country. They are great people–they have passion for these resources–and I get to protect these resources or be part of protecting these resources so that my children and their children can enjoy them the same way I do."
Eva started her career with the Environmental Protection Agency in Gulf Breeze, Florida. As a technician she took water samples, ran analyses, tested water quality, and did projects on sea grass and coral disease. Her next job took her to the National Park of the American Samoa where she studied coral reefs. Although it was hard to leave beauty of the coral reefs, Eva found the detective-like work of analyzing water quality irresistible and found her way to Charleston, South Carolina, and finally to Fort Collins, Colorado. Although Colorado is a long way from any ocean, Eva has the opportunity to work with all 85 ocean and great lakes parks.
"For someone who is looking for a career in the National Park Service, I would tell them to get involved, to get experience, to volunteer. If you are in school and someone has a research project, be sure to help them out and get that experience and take a look at all the different jobs on USAJOBS. See what careers are available in the National Park Service and when you look at those careers, see what skills you need for them...Either take classes to get that experience or get some on-the-job training that will help you get that experience and move up to the position that you want."