science communication at work.



Combining science and illustration

July 16, 2019

By Peggy Townsend


UC Santa Cruz News

Ph.D. student Jessica Kendall-Bar is fascinated by how wild marine mammals sleep, and also passionate about using art to explain science.

Burning Man isn’t a place where you’d expect to find a presentation on research into the sleep patterns of marine mammals. 

But the week-long extravaganza of creativity in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada is exactly where Jessica Kendall-Bar, a Ph.D. student in ecology and evolutionary biology at UC Santa Cruz, plans to screen a dreamlike, animated video she created. The film centers on her study into the similarities and differences between the sleep patterns of humans and wild marine mammals through a fantastical story of an underwater friendship between a woman and a seal.  




“Looking for Marla’ teaches inclusivity”

November 30, 2019

By Rachel Kippen


Santa Cruz Sentinel

Medina joined forces with a small squad of impressive colleagues including Audrey Ford, a UC Santa Cruz Marine Biology graduate and ocean conservation educator, and Jessica Kendall-Bar, an artist and marine scientist doctorate National Science Foundation graduate research fellow at UCSC studying the neurobiology of marine mammals.

The trio, Team Marla, began composing a new story, “Looking for Marla,” an inclusive underwater fish tale that reclaims what was omitted from Nemo.”




An Enchanted Tour of the Kelp Forest: Go Underwater with Scientist and Artist
Jessie Kendall-Bar

February 20, 2019

By Stacie Randall


Salted Spirit Podcast

"My weekly guest for today is absolutely amazing; my friend Katherine Terrell from Costa Rica describes my guest as a 'whip smart scientist, poised, super talented artist and amazing water woman.'..

Get comfy and settle in with your favorite cup of tea, because Jessie Kendall-Bar is about to take you on a magical tour of the sea. If you’ve never been scuba diving or seen an enchanted kelp forest, allow Jessie to enlighten your senses with her storytelling, and teach you about some of the most fascinating species on this earth. One of the most multi-faceted young women I know, Jessie is a PhD student at UC Santa Cruz in the Ecology & Evolutionary Biology department studying marine mammals. She’s also an underwater photographer, illustrator and overall passionate waterwoman, to name a few. She leverages her creativity and art to communicate scientific results, a refreshing way to learn an often complex topic. I hope you enjoy geeking out on marine mammals, biology and art as much as I did in this episode with Jessie!





Labside chat with Jen Cormier of the Seymour Marine Discovery Center

Feb 5 2021

By Jen Cormier


Seymour Marine Discovery Center

Rewatch an exclusive Elephant Seal Celebration Week Labside Chat with Jessica Kendall-Bar, Ph.D. candidate in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology department at UC Santa Cruz, from Thursday, February 25, 2021 at 11:00 AM PST.


Learn more about marine mammal sleep patterns and brain function, with an emphasis on northern elephant seals. Watch the conversation to hear the answers to questions such as:


-What happens to a marine mammal’s brain when they sleep?


-How are marine mammal sleep patterns and brain functions studied and analyzed?


-Do all marine mammals share the same sleeping pattern, or does it vary depending on species?



Launch party for children's book 'Looking for Marla' November 15 at MAH

November 7, 2019

By Public Affairs


UC Santa Cruz News

UCSC graduate students Paloma Medina and Jessica Kendall-Bar and alumna Audrey Ford collaborated on the illustrated tale of a clownfish in transition.

The Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History will host a book launch event on Friday, November 15, for the new children's book Looking for Marla, written and illustrated by graduate students at UC Santa Cruz. The event will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. and will feature performances by local artists.

Looking for Marla tells the tale of a curious clownfish in transition as they find their way through fatherhood and into motherhood. In wild clownfish populations, a male will transition into the role of the dominant female when the female is removed from the community, a biological fact ignored in the movie Finding Nemo.

The book was written by Paloma Medina, a graduate student in biomolecular engineering, and UCSC alumna Audrey Ford, and illustrated by Jessica Kendall-Bar, a graduate student in ecology and evolutionary biology. It is available in both English and Spanish (translated by Karen Ross), and copies will be available at the event.




Interviews with Theadora Block for the Santa Cruz Naturalist Podcast

Sep 7 & Oct 4, 2020 
Jan 4 2021

By Theadora Block


KQSD Radio

This week on Santa Cruz Naturalist we talk with Jessie Kendall-Bar, a Ph.D. student at UC Santa Cruz in the Ecology & Evolutionary biology department. She studies the neurophysiology of sleep in marine mammals, specializing in elephant seals.


Learn how Jessie researches elephant seal sleep and some of the differences between marine mammal and human sleep.

For more information about Jessie’s research and other projects, check out her website:

Tune in to KSQD 90.7 FM to listen live the week of September 7th: Tuesday 7:55am, Wednesday 3:55 pm, and Thursday 6:55pm.

Part 1: How do elephant seals sleep? (Sep 7 2020)

Part 2: How do elephant seals sleep? (Oct 4 2020)

Part 3: Art as science communication (Jan 4 2021)



Interview with Ventana Surfboards with Event Santa Cruz

Aug 30, 2019

By Event Santa Cruz


KSQD Radio

"Jessie is one of our favorites.. I always call her a polymath, which is someone who is an expert in like 48 different things, so when I'm commenting about her and our collaboration, I feel like I have to list this huge resume because she's so amazing."
-David Dennis of Ventana Surfboards

Watch this radio interview with local KSQD radio during one of Event Santa Cruz's specials on Ventana Surfboards, who create sustainable surfboards.

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EPS Undergraduate Student Jessica Kendall-Bar and Her Third Expedition at Sea Highlighted in UC Berkeley News

Aug 19, 2016

By Carol Ness


Berkeley news

The voyage of the Oceanus is senior Jessica Kendall-Bar’s third expedition at sea, which makes her a old hand among the group of students who are plying the California coast for 10 days in the name of research. Kendall-Bar is majoring in marine science and integrative biology, and the Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley scientists aboard the Oceanus are perfecting seaworthy robots that can send back valuable information about carbon in the ocean and climate change.


Earth & Planetary Science News:


Kendall-Bar is a UC Regents scholar at Berkeley planning to graduate December 2016. Kendall-Bar is writing her honors thesis, after utiliizing the Charles H. Ramsden Endowed Fund to travel to Russia and conduct electrophysiological sleep recordings in two fur seals at the Utrish Marine Mammal Station.