Education

Ecological research has taken me from the ice edge of Antarctica, down to the depths of the ocean, and up to the islands of the Bering Sea – with many ecosystems in between. For my graduate research, I hope to better understand the influences of morphology and physiology on animal behavior. Specifically, the demographic consequences of environmental change and anthropogenic resource extraction are a pressing global issue that intrigue me from a scientific standpoint and fit well within my expertise. Climate change is already impacting polar marine environments, the species that inhabit these areas, and the human communities that rely on local natural resources. Remarkably, the sensitivity of many species to predicted climate scenarios have yet to be quantified. Some questions of critical importance include: (1) How will species respond to global change, in terms of fine-scale behavior, large-scale distribution, and long-term demographic patterns?; (2) What mechanisms are driving these shifts; and (3) How can we use our knowledge of these mechanisms to plan effective conservation and management strategies and thus preserve ecosystem integrity? I plan to address these questions by combining empirical methods (e.g. remote weather sensing, anesthesia procedures, advanced biotelemetry) with prediction modeling.

  • Present: PhD student, University of Alaska Fairbanks
    • Program: Biology and Wildlife
    • Advisers: Dr. Jennifer Burns, Dr. Greg Breed
    • Thesis: Bridging the gap between pupping and molting phenology: behavioral and physiological correlates in female Weddell seals.
  • 2015: MSc, University of Alaska Anchorage [MSc Defense Video]
    • Program: Biological Sciences
    • Advisers: Dr. Jennifer Burns, Dr. Ward Testa
    • Thesis: An agent-based bioenergetics model for predicting impacts of environmental change on Weddell seals (Leptonychotes weddellii)
  • 2013: BSc,University of California Santa Cruz
    • Program: Marine Biology
    • Advisers: Dr. Dan Costa, Dr. Colleen Reichmuth
    • Honors Thesis: Fine-scale calibration of pinniped vibrissae growth dynamics using photogrammetry and stable isotope analysis
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