Sciences and Exploration Directorate

Brief Bio


Dr. Seegers is a NASA lead on the Cyanobacteria Assessment Network (CyAN) project with the goal to validate a cyanobacteria algorithm for US inland waters. Cyanobacteria are an economic and human health problem impacting drinking water and recreational activities.

As an oceanographer she has worked much off the California coast on cruises and with research robots called gliders. She completed her PhD at the University of Southern California in 2015. While there, she combined in situ data with satellite remote sensing to better understand regional dynamics and events such as harmful algal blooms (HABs). Originally from Wisconsin Dr. Bridget Seegers grew up swimming and splashing in lakes and developed a love of being in, on, and around water. Dr. Seegers received her B.A in Biology from Carleton College with a concentration in Environmental Science and Technology. Then, she taught six years in a range of non-traditional classroom settings from the woods of Minnesota to inner city Boston as an AmeriCorps volunteer and at a charter high school in San Diego. She returned to school to earn a M.S. in Water Resources Science from the University of Minnesota as she was curious about the science and policy interface.

Dr. Seegers is passionate about outreach and education. She had a grant funded for a month long public outreach tour she created called Sippin' On Science. Sippin' on Science brought exciting NASA earth science and the CyAN project to people at restaurants, bars and breweries primarily in small towns in the lakes region of Wisconsin and Minnesota. The event included a range of engaging hands-on science activities, trivia, and an informal presentation on lakes, algae, research robots and satellite science. Sippin’ on Science broke down boundaries and created opportunities for the public to ask questions and talk to a scientist. Overall, Sippin’ on Science was an out of the ordinary event that was free and open to everyone, both adults and children.

Dr. Seegers is an avid surfer and sailor and more recently, because of the landlocked location, a cyclist.

Current Projects


Cyanobacteria Assessment Network (CyAN)

Remote Sensing

The Cyanobacteria Assessment Network (CyAN) is a multi-agency project among the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), and EPA to develop an early warning indicator system using historical and current satellite data to detect algal blooms in U.S. freshwater systems. This research supports federal, state, and local partners in their monitoring efforts to assess water quality to protect aquatic and human health.

Positions/Employment


Research Scientist II

USRA/NASA - Goddard Space Flight Center, MD Ocean Ecology Lab

October 2017 - December 2021

Part of the Cyanobacteria Action Network (CyAN) Project. Research on satellite remote sensing of toxic Cyanobacteria blooms. Assist with project management.


Postdoctoral Researcher

NASA/USRA - Goddard Space Flight Center, MD

June 2016 - October 2017

Part of  the Cyanobacteria Action Network (CyAN) Project. Research on satellite remote sensing of toxic Cyanobacteria blooms. Assist with project management.


Sea Grant Knauss Fellow

NOAA SeaGrant - Washington D.C

February 2015 - February 2016

Supporting NOAA’s Science Advisory Board and the Oceanic and Atmospheric Research Office of Laboratories and Cooperative Institutes reviews.


Education program instructor

Birch Aquarium at Scripps - San Diego, CA

April 2006 - June 2007

Taught hands-on lessons to students grades K-12 from a variety, cultural, economic backgrounds.Curriculum includes tidepool ecology, kelp forest exploration, shark biology, and fish/squid dissections.


Staff Research Associate I

Scripps Institute of Oceanography - San Diego, CA

May 2006 - September 2006

Experienced 6 weeks at sea with the Scripps Photobiology Group on an Antarctica cruise. Filtered seawater for particulate organic carbon (POC), pigments-high- performance liquid chromatography(HPLC), and particle, detrital, and soluble absorption (Ap,Ad, and As). Analyzed Ap/Ad and As filters using a Cary 100 UV-Vis spectrophotometer. Responsible for daily cruise log updates and data entry. Deployed instruments.


Co-owner of The Breakfast Boat,

Self-employed - Elkhorn, WI

May 2002 - September 2002

Created and managed a deli-boat that served burritos, sandwiches and brownies. Responsible for advertising, financing, sales and food preparation. Sales increased throughout summer.


Associate Research Scientist

MSU/NASA Ocean Ecology Lab - NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

December 2021 - Present

NASA's co-lead on the Cyanobacteria Action Network (CyAN) Project. Research on satellite remote sensing of toxic Cyanobacteria blooms. Assist with project management.

Teaching Experience


Teaching Assistant, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, Fall 2009 & Spring 2012
Taught Lab Section of General Biology: Organismal Biology and Evolution.  Taught Lab and Discussion Section of Humans and Their Environment.

High School Instructor, UROK Learning Institute, San Diego, CA, October 2005 –June 2006
Instructed a diverse group 9 th -12 th grade independent study students in a one-on- one alternative highschool setting. Taught science, math, English, and history.

Education Program Assistant, Urban Ecology Institute, Newton, MA, June 2004 -June 2005
AmeriCorps VISTA position. Instructed 6 th –12 th grade students from Boston public schools in urban ecology field studies focused on water quality and bird biodiversity. Developed curriculum on stormwater and macroinvertebrates. Organized and facilitated teacher professional development workshops. Assisted with biological rapid ecological assessments.

Education Fellow, Deep Portage Conservation Reserve, MN, 2001 –2004
Developed and taught lesson plans to students from grades 1 –12 from a variety, cultural, economic and ethnic backgrounds. Curriculum included pond studies, orienteering, animal tracking, ecology hikes and outdoor skills. Lead staff enrichments. Promoted from environmental educator.

Teacher Assistant for Biology of Invertebrates, Winter 2001
Assisted college students with lab work. Assisted professor with lab report grading.

Education


University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, May 2015
• PhD in Marine Environmental Biology and Biological Oceanography. Research in an optics lab using gliders, moorings, ESPs, satellite remote sensing focused on coastal ocean dynamics and harmful algal blooms.
University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN, August 2009
• M.S. in Water Resources Science. Thesis on Lake Superior zooplankton grazing. Courses in Limnology, Environmental Chemistry, Science Policy, and Environmental Economics.
Carleton College, Northfield, MN, June 2001
• B.A. in Biology with Environmental and Technology Studies concentration. Graduated with honors: magna cum laude.
 

Awards


2021 Robert H. Goddard Honor Awards for the Cyanobacteria Assessment Network (CyAN) project.


September 2019 Ocean Obs ’19 conference. An invited ambassador at the “Breaking Waves, Breaking Barriers: Celebrating Women’s Instrumental Role in Ocean Science, Leadership, and Mentorship,” event.


August 2019 Dr. Seegers and the CyAN team were selected for the 2019 Hydrosphere, Biosphere and Geophysics (HBG) Annual Peer Award for Scientific Achievement at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Publications


Refereed

Cetinić, I., C. S. Rousseaux, I. T. Carroll, et al. A. P. Chase, S. J. Kramer, P. J. Werdell, D. A. Siegel, H. M. Dierssen, D. Catlett, A. Neeley, I. M. Soto Ramos, J. L. Wolny, N. Sadoff, E. Urquhart, T. K. Westberry, D. Stramski, N. Pahlevan, B. N. Seegers, E. Sirk, P. K. Lange, R. A. Vandermeulen, J. R. Graff, J. G. Allen, P. Gaube, L. I. McKinna, S. M. McKibben, C. E. Binding, V. S. Calzado, and M. Sayers. 2024. Phytoplankton composition from sPACE: Requirements, opportunities, and challenges Remote Sensing of Environment 302 (1): 113964 [10.1016/j.rse.2023.113964]

Murray, J. F., A. M. Lavery, B. A. Schaeffer, et al. B. N. Seegers, A. F. Pennington, E. D. Hilborn, S. Boerger, J. D. Runkle, K. Loftin, J. Graham, R. Stumpf, A. Koch, and L. Backer. 2024. Assessing the relationship between cyanobacterial blooms and respiratory-related hospital visits: Green bay, Wisconsin 2017–2019 International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health 255 114272 [10.1016/j.ijheh.2023.114272]

Soto Ramos, I. M., B. Crooke, B. Seegers, et al. I. Cetinić, M. K. Cambazoglu, and B. Armstrong. 2023. Spatial and temporal characterization of cyanobacteria blooms in the Mississippi Sound and their relationship to the Bonnet Carré Spillway openings Harmful Algae 127 102472 [10.1016/j.hal.2023.102472]

Whitman, P., B. Schaeffer, W. Salls, et al. M. Coffer, S. Mishra, B. Seegers, K. Loftin, R. Stumpt, and J. Werdell (he/him). 2022. A validation of satellite derived cyanobacteria detections with state reported events and recreation advisories across U.S. lakes Harmful algae 102191 [10.1016/j.hal.2022.102191]

Seegers, B. N., J. Werdell, R. A. Vandermeulen, et al. W. Salls, R. P. Stumpf, B. A. Schaeffer, T. J. Owens, S. W. Bailey, J. P. Scott, and K. A. Loftin. 2021. Satellites for long-term monitoring of inland U.S. lakes: The MERIS time series and application for chlorophyll-a Remote Sensing of Environment 266 112685 [10.1016/j.rse.2021.112685]

Haskell, W., D. Hammond, M. Prokopenko, et al. E. Teel, B. Seegers, M. Ragan, N. Rollins, and B. Jones. 2019. Net community production in a productive coastal ocean from an autonomous buoyancy‐driven glider Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans 124 (6): 4188-4207 [10.1029/2019jc015048]

Smith, J., P. Connell, R. H. Evans, et al. A. G. Gellene, M. D. Howard, B. H. Jones, S. Kaveggia, L. Palmer, A. Schnetzer, B. N. Seegers, E. L. Seubert, A. O. Tatters, and D. A. Caron. 2018. A decade and a half of Pseudo-nitzschia spp. and domoic acid along the coast of southern California Harmful Algae 79 87-104 [10.1016/j.hal.2018.07.007]

Schaeffer, B. A., J. Iiames, J. Dwyer, et al. E. Urquhart, W. Salls, J. Rover, and B. Seegers. 2018. An initial validation of Landsat 5 and 7 derived surface water temperature for U.S. lakes, reservoirs, and estuaries International Journal of Remote Sensing 1-17 [10.1080/01431161.2018.1471545]

Seegers, B. N., R. P. Stumpf, B. A. Schaeffer, K. A. Loftin, and P. J. Werdell. 2018. Performance metrics for the assessment of satellite data products: an ocean color case study Optics Express 26 (6): 7404 [10.1364/oe.26.007404]

Seegers, B. N., E. N. Teel, R. M. Kudela, D. A. Caron, and B. H. Jones. 2016. Glider and remote sensing observations of the upper ocean response to an extended shallow coastal diversion of wastewater effluent Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science [10.1016/j.ecss.2016.06.019]

Caron, D. A., A. G. Gellene, J. Smith, et al. E. L. Seubert, V. Campbell, G. S. Sukhatme, B. Seegers, B. H. Jones, A. A. Lie, R. Terrado, M. D. Howard, R. M. Kudela, K. Hayashi, J. Ryan, J. Birch, E. Demir-Hilton, K. Yamahara, C. Scholin, M. Mengel, and G. Robertson. 2015. Response of phytoplankton and bacterial biomass during a wastewater effluent diversion into nearshore coastal waters Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science [10.1016/j.ecss.2015.09.013]

Seegers, B. N., J. M. Birch, R. Marin, et al. C. A. Scholin, D. A. Caron, E. L. Seubert, M. D. Howard, G. L. Robertson, and B. H. Jones. 2015. Subsurface seeding of surface harmful algal blooms observed through the integration of autonomous gliders, moored environmental sample processors, and satellite remote sensing in southern California Limnology and Oceanography 60 (3): 754-764 [10.1002/lno.10082]

Jones, B., E. Teel, B. Seegers, and M. Ragan. 2015. Observing, Monitoring and Evaluating the Effects of Discharge Plumes in Coastal Regions Environmental Science and Engineering 521-538 [10.1007/978-3-319-13203-7_22]

Non-Refereed

Arellano, A., N. Briggs, F. Cao, et al. H. Chen, A. Dave, C. Goyens, F. Henderikx-Freitas, C. Kearney, M. Kheireddine, S. Mishra, A. Neeley, M. Omand, L. Powers, A. Reisinger, S. Rivero, B. Russel, B. Seegers, and R. A. Vandermeulen. 2011. Portfolio of Measurement, Processing, and Analysis Techniques for Optical Oceanography Data U. Maine Ocean Optics Course 2011 Report

Talks, Presentations and Posters


Invited

Plankton, Space, Earth, and Us

June 19, 2022

TEDx talk titled Plankton, Space, Earth, and Us was released to their 36 million subscribers. The talk focused on the importance of plankton and why scientists study them with satellites. Additionally, the talk reminds listeners that all of us are global influencers with big impacts. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cgSm_TtTfiw


CyAN: Getting Near Real Time Data to You

April 23, 2022

The talk highlighted data sharing products of the Cyanobacteria Assessment Network (CyAN) with a Webapp demonstration focused on New Jersey. There were nearly 200 people attending the virtual New Jersey HAB summit.


Understanding our Environment and Climate Monitoring: Studying Earth from Space

October 14, 2021

Invited keynote speaker at the New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC) conference in Syracuse, NY.  Presented to 150-200 New York State county officials, including executives, legislators, supervisors, and administrator. The talk titled Understanding our Environment and Climate Monitoring: Studying Earth from Space covered the science of climate change and the scope of NASA’s climate research and the Cyanobacteria Assessment Network (CyAN) with a regional focus on New York State.


World Economic Forum Beyond Ocean Panel

July 2020

Participated in the World Economic Forum’s interactive global online event called the Virtual Ocean Dialogues. The Virtual Ocean Dialogues were designed to connect communities across the world that are working for a healthy and resilient ocean. The week of conversations were truly global with the speakers representing 54 countries. An invited member of a panel titled “Beyond Ocean” along with Michelle Bachelet (United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights/former president of Chile), Kitlang Kabua (Marshall Islands Minister of Education, Sports, and Training) and Stephen Cotton (General Secretary, International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) to discuss how oceans reach beyond their shores to influence human health, economies, human rights and a sustainable world. I raised awareness about harmful algal blooms and highlighted the need for collaborations and encouraged using knowledge to empower people and inspire action.   


NASA water quality monitoring within the current era of the Cyanobacteria Assessment Network (CyAN) and the future era of the Plankton, Aerosol, Clouds, ocean Ecosystem (PACE) mission.

September 2019

American Chemical Society National Meeting in San Deigo, CA


Other

Success stories of apps, trainings, and engagement: Getting near real time data to water managers monitoring for cyanobacteria blooms. 

March 28, 2022

Talk at the virtual Ocean Sciences Meeting


Satellite remote sensing of Cyanobacteria: Success stories of management taking action and the CyAN data sharing app.

March 2020

Presentation at the Ocean Sciences Meeting, San Diego, CA


Sometimes R2 just ain’t enough. Approaches to more robust algorithm assessment.

July 4, 2017

Poster at International Ocean Colour Science, Lisbon, Portugal


Strategic use of performance metrics for the assessment of satellite chlorophyll and cyanobacteria algorithms.

 

November 2016

Poster at Ocean Optics Conference, Victoria Canada


Selected Public Outreach


Smithsonian Earth Optimism Panel Discussion

November 2020 - November 2022

An invited panelist at a Smithsonian Earth Optimism event. Joined NASA astronaut Jessica Meir in conversation with two other NASA Goddard scientists, Lesley Ott and Jeffrey Masek, and three researchers from the Smithsonian’s Movement of Life Initiative to discuss their expertise and the role of satellites in studying planet Earth. The engaging public program allowed people to get to know the scientists, their motivation, and more about satellite research.