Olivia Cattau
Lab Technician/Researcher


University of Chicago (2014-2018)
B.S. Environmental Science with Honors
Minor in Visual Arts
GPA: 3.34

Research Appointments

Puget Sound Restoration Fund, Manchester, WA
Sea Cucumber Researcher September (2019-present)

  • Ran multiple larval and juvenile giant red sea cucumber (Parastichopus californicus) experiments with the goal of learning how to best rear them in an aquaculture setting in order to relieve environmental pressure due to illegal poaching. Was the primary lead on sea cucumber and cockle (Clinocardium nuttallii) husbandry, and conducted an ocean acidification experiment on how temperature and low pH (7.3) affects the growth and survival of cockles.

Puget Sound Restoration Fund,  Manchester, WA
Shellfish Restoration Hatchery Technician (October 2018 – September 2019)

  • Assisted with all aspects of hatchery production of restoration-grade Olympia oysters (Ostrea lurida), pinto abalone (Haliotis kamtschatkana), kelp (various species), giant red sea cucumbers and cockles. Other duties included animal husbandry, microalgae culturing, fieldwork, data collection/analysis, and facilities maintenance. I also assisted in graduate student experiments by collecting water quality data such as temperature, spectrophotometric pH, alkalinity and more.

Kronforst Lab at the University of Chicago,  Chicago, IL
Undergraduate Researcher (March 2017 – June 2018)

  • Studied the effects of nitrates on the development and health of the northern leopard frog (Rana pipiens) in the Illinois River Basin. Diagnosed many frogs with tumors and disorders of development. Was in charge of frog husbandry on the Columbian Poison Frog (Phyllobates terriblis). Ran Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test on Phyllobates. This work became my senior thesis project titled, “The Effects of Nitrates on The Development and Health of the Northern Leopard Frog (Rana Pipiens) in the Illinois River Basin”. Thesis is being considered for publication in Current Biology.

Jablonski Lab at the University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Undergraduate Researcher (March 2017 – June 2018)

  • Researched biodiversity trends through geologic time using various bivalves as model species. Photographed and marked muscle scars and pallial lines of bivalves for physiological data analysis. Used stereomicroscope to examine and characterize smaller shells.

Hanlon Lab, Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA
Metcalf Fellow (June 2016 – September 2016) 

  • Cultured Portuguese cuttlefish colony of 100. Analyzed field video footage of multiple species of Cephalopods using Final Cut X and Adobe Lightroom, used R studio software to do sophisticated statistical analysis on the data. Gave talks at ecology and neurology conferences on the value of rapid adaptive coloration.

Professional Conferences and Talks

  • Undergraduate Research Symposium at the Marine Biological Laboratory and Biological Sciences Symposium at the University of Chicago: “Analyzing the metrics and behavioral context of rapid neural polyphenism in cephalopod mollusks”
  • University of Chicago department of Geophysical Sciences and Environmental Sciences Symposium: “Water quality and museum specimens: how to predict historical pollution levels using Rana pipiens”
Close Menu