About Me

I am currently a Postdoctoral Scholar in the Geospatial Ecology of Marine Megafauna (GEMM) Lab in the Marine Mammal Institute in the Department of Fisheries, Wildlife, & Conservation Sciences at Oregon State University. I am studying how the body condition of gray whales foraging off the Oregon coast  is influenced by stress, ambient noise, and ecosystem variability. 

I was born and raised on the coast of Southern California where  I grew up fascinated by the world underneath the surface of the waves. My passion and curiosity led me to pursue a PhD in Marine Science & Conservation at the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University. There I worked with Dr. Dave Johnston in the Marine Robotics and Remote Sensing (MaRRS) Lab to help develop unoccupied aerial systems (UAS or drones) as a tool to study the morphology and body condition of baleen whales to help monitor the health of populations in rapidly changing environments. Drones provide immense opportunity to non-invasively observe these large elusive animals in their natural habitat. Most of my field work took place off the coast of the Western Antarctic Peninsula, studying how humpback whale body condition changes throughout the summer foraging season, as well as the morphological and external characters of Antarctic minke whales. I also work with collaborators at UC Santa Cruz and Stanford University to study the functional morphology of blue, humpback, and fin whales off the coast of California. Much of my work has also included developing several open source photogrammetry tools to help researchers obtain accurate morphometric measurements from drone imagery.

Before pursuing my PhD, I received a master's degree in Coastal Environmental Management from the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University where I collaborated with Dr. Amy Apprill at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution to examine how the skin microbiome of Antarctic humpback whales changes throughout the foraging season. Before graduate school, I received my B.S. degree in Biology at Sonoma State University, where I worked with Dr. Dan Crocker studying stress physiology in Northern elephant seals. 

When I'm not working you can find me outside enjoying the natural beauty of this world, playing guitar, or learning to cook something new!  

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Education

2016 – 2021

Ph.D., Marine Science and Conservation

Duke University, Nicholas School of the Environment 

Advisor: Dr. David W. Johnston, Marine Robotics and Remote Sensing Lab

2014 – 2016

M.E.M., Coastal Environmental Management      

Duke University, Nicholas School of the Environment/Duke Marine Lab

Advisor: Dr. David W. Johnston 

2009 – 2014

B.S., Biology w/ minor in Environmental Science

 Sonoma State University, Cum Laude

Advisor: Dr. Dan Crocker

Last updated November 21, 2022