PhD Wildlife Science, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Oregon State University, 2018
MS 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
BS 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 investigated the spatial habitat distribution of Pacific harbor seals in Oregon, as well as and bottom-up environmental influences of spatial movement. In order to examine the movement and dietary ecology of Pacific harbor seals in Oregon, I utilized satellite telemetry to track 24 adult harbor seals captured in two locations on the Oregon coast from September 2014 to September 2015.I quantified individual and population-level home range area, core area, foraging trip distance and duration, percent presence within eleven inland waters including bays and rivers, proximity to two wave energy test sites, use of Oregon’s five marine reserves. I also collected a whisker from each animal for dietary estimation via stable isotope analysis a proxy for trophic level and spatial habitat use.
I additionally assessed variability and behavioral repeatability for harbor seals at the levels of individual, capture site, and whole sample population. Repeatability and spatial use was compared with isotopes in generalized linear and linear mixed effects models to highlight strategies in foraging. Lastly, I incorporated spatial movement data with oceanography and dietary composition through generalized linear and linear mixed effects models to examine which environmental and site-related variables were most associated with movement and dietary patterns of the study animals. My dissertation work 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.
Graduate Research Assistant: Pacific harbor seal ecology, Oregon Coast 2014-2018
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.