Lauren Rust is the founder and executive director of LMMN. She received her BS in Marine Biology from the College of Charleston in 2004 followed by her MSc in Ecology from the University of Wales, UK. Before founding LMMN, Lauren managed the research department at The Marine Mammal Center in CA managing the necropsy lab, various research projects and leading the large whale recovery team. Lauren has also worked at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) responding to sick and injured marine mammals in South Carolina and the Environmental Specimen Bank at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) here in Charleston. Recently, Lauren joined the marine biology graduate program at CofC as a faculty member to mentor students. She's passionate about marine mammal research and education and hopes to bring a greater awareness about Charleston's local dolphin population to the Lowcountry.
Brooke holds a B.S. in Marine Science from California State University-Monterey Bay. Her background is in marine science education and research. For 8 years she was involved with the Monterey Bay Aquarium (MBA), first starting as a guide in the education department, then later worked as a maintenance SCUBA diver and an Underwater Explorers Instructor. She is a certified NAUI Divemaster and AAUS Research Diver. Using these certifications she has helped and led many different research projects. These projects range from studying zooplankton in the Phoenix Islands Protected Area, seastar wasting syndrome in the Monterey Area, coral reef health in Palau, kelp forests, algae, and so on. She moved to South Carolina in 2019 joined Lowcountry Marine Mammal Network. Brooke is the outreach coordinator for LMMN which includes organizing education & outreach events, stranding responses, monitoring programs, volunteers, and managing media outreach. Her passion is marine education and conservation.
Megan received her Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology from Hawai'i Pacific University in 2018, followed by her Master of Professional Science in Marine Mammal Science from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. While in Hawai'i, she volunteered with the University of Hawai'i Marine Mammal Stranding Program, where she participated in necropsies and various research projects. During graduate school, she interned with Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's Southwest Field Laboratory, conducting cetacean and manatee rescues, releases, and necropsies. While interning with FWC, she completed her master's internship project creating an otolith reference collection and conducting stomach content analysis. Megan started as a Stranding Technician with the South Carolina Marine Mammal Stranding Network in 2021. She is passionate about studying stranded cetaceans to better understand the health, status, and behavior of wild cetaceans.