Mai is an M.Sc. student exploring the ecology and taxonomy of sea cucumbers in the Gulf of Aqaba (GoA) region. Little is known about sea cucumber species in the GoA, therefore the focus of Mai’s research is to identify as many species as possible, understand their phylogenetic relationships, and reveal ecological patterns that exist specifically in the Gulf. She will build a morphological and molecular identification guide to assist sea cucumber identification in the Red Sea region with the help of specimens in the Steinhardt Museum of Natural History. In addition, she’s developing a method of non-invasive underwater sampling of echinoderms in the hopes of reducing unnecessary stress and animal sacrifice.