KC Bierlich

Postdoctoral Scholar
Send an Email

Profile Field Tabs



PhD Marine Science and Conservation, Duke University, 2021

MEM Coastal Environmental Management, Duke University, 2016

BS Biology, Sonoma State University, 2014


Research/Career Interests

I am interested in developing non-invasive tools for monitoring the health of whale populations in changing environments. Specifically, I use drone-based photogrammetry to measure the morphology and body condition of baleen whales. Much of my work has also included developing several open source photogrammetry tools to help researchers obtain accurate morphological measurements from drone imagery.

During my PhD, I worked with Dr. Dave Johnston in the Marine Robotics and Remote Sensing Lab (MaRRS). Most of my fieldwork took place off the coast of the Western Antarctic Peninsula, analyzing how humpback whales increase their body condition throughout the summer foraging season and describing the morphological and external characters of Antarctic minke whales. I also worked closely with collaborators at UC Santa Cruz and Stanford University to combine drone-based measurements and suction-cup whale-borne tags to analyze the functional morphology of blue, humpback, and fin whales off the coast of California. 

As a Postdoctoral Scholar in the GEMM Lab, I am currently analyzing how reproductive state, ecosystem variability, and anthropogenic stress influences the body condition of gray whales foraging off the coast of Oregon as part of the GRANITE project.

Affiliated with: 
Geospatial Ecology of Marine Megafauna Laboratory (GEMM Lab)
Centers of Excellence
Marine Mammal Institute
Hatfield Marine Science Center
Beyond OSU
My Publications