M.S. Wildlife Science, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Oregon State University, 2014
Post-Baccalaureate studies: Zoology, University of Wyoming, 2008–2009; Oregon State University, 2009–2010
B.S. Animal Science and Pre-Veterinary Medicine, Honors Program (Minor: Literature), University of Wyoming, 2008
My research interests include the effects of environmental factors on the behavior and spatial distribution of upper-trophic-level marine predators. During my master’s degree, I examined the historical dietary composition of the Pacific harbor seal (Phoca vitulina richardii) in the Pacific Northwest and created a conceptual model that examined the theoretical impact of upwelling-driven coastal hypoxia on harbor seals in Oregon.
For my PhD, I am continuing to investigate bottom-up environmental influences on harbor seal behavior in Oregon. We have outfitted 24 adult harbor seals at two locations (Netarts Bay and Alsea Bay) on the Oregon coast with Wildlife Computers SPOT5 © tags. The tags remain on for as many as 10 months and are tracked by the ARGOS satellite array. This data will be available via an online portal that will show tracking data for individual harbor seals. Users in the classroom or citizen scientists will be able to download datasets that may be used to create and test their own hypotheses.
My project represents the first satellite telemetry study of harbor seals on the Oregon coast and the first Oregon-based study of harbor seal habitat utilization in decades. My primary research goals are to 1) describe harbor seal spatial habitat use of the Oregon coast and its estuaries, marine reserves, marine protected areas, and proposed wave energy sites; 2) create predictive habitat models for harbor seals on the Oregon coast using available environmental predictors, such as salinity, temperature, dissolved oxygen and upwelling index, bathymetry, and bottom type and 3) use stable isotope analysis to determine whether spatial foraging patterns are predictive of dietary variation between individuals.
Graduate Teaching Assistant: Multiple courses, Oregon State University Dept. of Fisheries and Wildlife, 2010–2013.
Research Cruise Assistant: Gulf of Mexico Deep Water Horizon sperm whale project (Whale Telemetry Group), Oregon State University Marine Mammal Institute, July 2013.
Laboratory and Research Cruise Assistant: Organic geochemistry, West Coast Ocean Acidification Cruise (Goni Lab), Oregon State University CEOAS, 2011–2012.
Laboratory Assistant: Estuarine Ecology (Hacker Lab), Oregon State University Dept. of Zoology, 2009–2010.
Veterinary Technician: Snowy Range Veterinary Clinic, Laramie WY 2007–2008.
Volunteer: Avian rehabilitation and conservation education, Laramie Raptor Refuge, Laramie WY 2005–2008.