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Jillian Swinford

Hey everybody!

I’m Jillian, and I’m the researcher, writer, editor, and cohost for Mother Nature Will Kill You.  I’ve been slightly obsessed with survival stories and the folly of man vs. nature for a long, long time, and I wanted to bring some of these epic stories to you.  I’m a military brat who has lived all over the country (including Haley’s hometown of Haymarket, Virginia) and I now work as a Fisheries Biologist in Texas.  After getting my B.S. and M.S. from Christopher Newport University in 2015, I’ve worked in a variety of marine science jobs, including a fisheries technician on surveys in the Chesapeake Bay, an aquarist responsible for taking care of hundreds of fish and a few cranky sea turtles, and a fisheries biologist, designing my own research.  I’ve had adventures out on the high seas, including a research trip studying sharks on the Gulf of Mexico an another in the North Pacific studying marine plastic pollution.  In 2018, I got married to my favorite person, moved to Texas to work for Texas Parks and Wildlife’s Coastal Fisheries Department in a small town on the Texas coast, rescued a puppy off the side of the road, and nothing has been the same ever since.  My research focus includes shrimp and shrimp diseases as well as larval and juvenile fish physiology and recruitment with a larger emphasis on how climate change impacts these coastal communities and species.

When I’m not studying small marine animals, I’m writing fiction, working on my art, re-decorating my house, taking care of my saltwater mangrove home aquarium, kayaking around the neighborhood, dreaming and obsessively researching my next travel adventure, and taking long walks on the beach with my husband, Corey, and my small silly dog, Marizpan.

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Haley Burleson

Hey y'all! I'm Haley and I'm the co-host, social media manager, and marketing manager for the Mother Nature Will Kill You podcast. I'm originally from Haymarket, Virginia - the same small town in Northern Virginia as Jillian. After I graduated with my B.S. in Marine Biology from Old Dominion University, I camped across the united states on a cross country road trip while applying to jobs. Shortly after that trip I was working a seasonal fisheries job in Utah where I had a few adventures of my own. In 2018 I moved to Florida, a state that I had my eyes set on since an internship I had in 2014. In 2019, I finally settled in the Florida Keys working for Mote Marine Laboratory's International Center for Coral Reef Research and Restoration. I received a Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership from the University of Florida in December 2020. In 2021 I joined my local Toastmasters organization with the goal of becoming better in my leadership and public speaking skills. I also sit on the Executive Committee as Secretary for the Florida Keys Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation. My passions are with outdoor advocacy, environmental conservation, and sustainable awareness.

When I'm not working to help protect Florida's Coral Reef or on the Mother Nature Will Kill You podcast, I'm taking aerial yoga classes, sailing classes, training for a half marathon, longboarding with my dog Waylon, or paddle boarding with my friends.

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