MS Winter 2019 (Now Executive Director of Takshanuk Watershed Council)
Growing up in upstate New York and spending lots of time tromping through streams and fields instilled a wonder about ecology. This continued through my undergraduate studies at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF, “stumpies”) where I majored in Environmental Science with a focus on watershed science and engineering. I then found my way to Alaska and have spent the past 7 years working for a small non-profit watershed council in Haines. My Masters research takes place in the large glacier fed rivers near Haines, AK. The focus is a small anadromous smelt species called eulachon or hooligan (Thaleichthys pacificus). Eulachon are a very important subsistence species for the Alaskan natives and vital forage fish for marine mammals and sea birds, however there is relatively little ecological knowledge about the species – limited population data, poor understanding of marine habitat, and unknown fidelity to natal streams, etc. My research will calibrate the concentration of environmental DNA (eDNA) against estimates of eulachon biomass from mark-recapture and catch-per-unit-effort methods. This relationship will provide insight into population monitoring techniques that can be implemented regionally.