TED today (May 23) announced its 2017 TEDGlobal Fellows, including one from UC Davis: Mike Gil, a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Environmental Science and Policy. He will be one of 20 international fellows who will give talks at TEDGlobal in Arusha, Tanzania, in August.
Every year, TED selects a group of rising stars to be TED Fellows based on their achievements and strength of character, and their innovative approaches to solving the world’s tough problems. Fellows receive coaching and mentoring in public relations and communications, and join an active network of fellows.
Gil’s work on ocean ecology and coral reefs has taken him around the world, from Thailand to French Polynesia, to cruising through the North Pacific “garbage patch.” He is also deeply committed to talking to the public about science. He started blogging in 2011 and launched a YouTube channel in 2012.
Video: So, you want to be a marine biologist?
In 2015, he established the website and YouTube channel Sciall.org “to tell true (yes, crazy, but true) stories of my adventures and mishaps as a marine biologist and to clarify misconceptions about science."
Those adventures and mishaps include juggling “flesh devouring” cinder blocks at sea while researching how reefs recover from damage, and studying reef fishes’ fear of sharks (and his own fear, after his boat broke down, at night, in shark-infested waters, and he had to swim for it).
Gil has also looked at how living on floating pieces of plastic affects the sex lives of crabs, and how being socially networked helps animals survive.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Texas at Austin and his doctorate from the University of Florida before joining UC Davis as an National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fellow in 2016.