Laura is originally from Belgium. Her passion for the ocean started after watching Cousteau’s documentaries. It led her to pursue a Bachelor degree in biological sciences at the University of Namur, Belgium. Then, she graduated from a Master degree in Marine and Lacustrine Science and Management conducted at three Belgian Universities: Ghent University, Free University of Brussels, and Antwerp University. After investigating the trophic ecology of fishes from the Kenyan mangroves and working on the taxonomy of fishes from the Congolese Basin at the Royal Museum of Central Africa (Belgium), she started a Ph.D at the University of Liege, Belgium. Her PhD thesis was about to assess the adaptive capacity of damselfishes using a multidisciplinary approach combining trophic ecology, functional ecology, genomic data, and comparative phylogenetic methods. During her PhD, she had the chance to spend many months collecting fishes in French Polynesia and Taiwan, and to collaborate with Prof. Giacomo Bernardi (Molecular Ecology and Evolution of Fishes lab) from the University of California in Santa Cruz (U.S.) thanks to a Fulbright grant. After securing a fellowship from the Wallonia-Brussels Federation, she started a postdoc research on the tropicalization of marine temperate environments, which focused on the population connectivity and diet of a range-shifting rabbitfish species using genomics tools. As a postdoc fellow in the Reef Ecology lab at KAUST, she is mainly working on the genetic connectivity of corals and fishes from the southern central Red Sea to inform marine protected areas.
Find her on Twitter @GajdzikLaura