Ph.D., Marine Ecology and Environment, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, 2007
Masters of Coastal Environmental Management, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, 2001
Bachelor of Arts, cum laude, American University, Washington D.C., 1997
Leigh is a marine ecologist interested in understanding how marine animals, including marine mammals, seabirds and sharks, use their environment in the context of behavior, space and time. Leigh’s research explores how marine predators find prey within highly patchy, variable marine ecosystems. Much of this work is directed toward improving conservation management of protected or threatened species. Leigh’s work spans multiple spatial and temporal scales and occurs in many ecosystems including estuaries of Florida, near and offshore waters of the US and Latin America, pelagic regions of the Southern Ocean, and sub-Antarctic islands and coastal waters of New Zealand.
Leigh’s work often integrates various types of species distribution datasets (i.e., sightings, telemetry, survey, historical, and acoustic datasets) with layers of environmental, prey and anthropogenic variables to develop dynamic habitat use models that incorporate the functional ecology of predator and prey species. These methods can reveal how distribution and behavioral patterns alter within a heterogeneous marine environment and lead to the development of predictive habitat use models. By identifying areas with increased presence of threatened species, management efforts can be more directed and effective. This is the goal of much of Leigh’s work — to separate, in time and space, threats and marine animals.
Current Research Topics:
If you are a prospective graduate student interested in working with Dr. Torres, please review her Letter to Prospective Graduate Students prior to contacting her.
Emails may be sent to: leigh dot torres @ oregonstate dot edu