Lauren Mullineaux


Lauren Mullineaux was drawn across the country in 1987 to a postdoctoral position in the Ocean Engineering Department by a research project concerning the effects of near-bottom currents on marine animal larvae. She had just completed a Ph.D. at Scripps (following an undergraduate degree from Pomona College and a master’s in earth sciences from the University of California, San Diego), and an east coast adventure offered an interesting change of scenery.

Like many of us, she ended up staying, having met her husband, Mark Grosenbaugh (AOPE) here and finding a professional home in the Biology Department. Lauren’s research environments have ranged from coastal salt marshes to seamounts and hydrothermal vents (her Ph.D. dissertation reported on the critters that live on manganese nodules occurring on the seafloor).

She currently focuses on benthic community ecology, especially the dispersal and settlement of larvae in flowing water around and between vents. Lauren has made 30 cruises, 9 of them as chief scientist, and 38 Alvin dives. Lauren and Mark’s younger son Gus was noted as the youngest person to dive in Alvin at the sub’s 25th anniversary celebration—he was a "person-in-training" during dives Lauren made in December 1995.

In addition to a demanding research schedule, Lauren enjoys working with young scientists. She has advised eight Ph.D. candidates and a number of undergraduate and high school research projects, has taught Joint Program courses and served on many thesis committees, was Biology Department education coordinator for five years, and is a familiar visitor to local school science classes. Lauren holds the Holger W. Jannasch Chair for Excellence in Oceanography and was honored recently as the first recipient of WHOI’s Arnold B. Arons Award for Excellence in Teaching, Advising, and Mentoring.