I am a conservation social science PhD student masquerading as a wildlife ecologist. For my dissertation, I will be looking at the social-ecological system of wolves, ranchers, and drought in eastern Oregon and the Pacific Northwest, more broadly. Our work will explore how wolves, wild and domestic ungulates, and drought affect the relationships between people and wildlife on Western rangelands. We hope to understand how humans make decisions regarding drought, wolves, and other rangeland conditions, and how large ungulates respond to drought and wolf activity. When not working, I enjoy hiking, reading, and trying to get my cat to hang out with me.
I earned my B.S. in Ecology from the University of Georgia and my M.S. in Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences from Virginia Tech. My master’s research focused on human disturbance of fall migrating shorebirds in the Northeastern U.S. I have been fortunate to be involved in a variety of research efforts across the U.S. and internationally, and these experiences and my broad interest in wildlife ecology has shown me the importance of understanding the intersection between human and natural systems. I believe that understanding people’s relationships with nature is essential to the future of conservation and human communities.
I am interested in wildlife population dynamics. Specifically, building methods, techniques and models to estimate population abundance, distribution and habitat use. I have spent four years working in the field in an on-going wildlife and habitat monitoring program in Malawi. In my Masters dissertation I will work on modelling abundance and distribution of key species in Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve using data collected with camera traps. I will be co-advised by Dr. Damon Lesmeister, U.S. Forest Service PNW Research Station
In an effort to repopulate Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve, the African Elephant and other animals were translocated to the Reserve from other protected areas in Malawi. This work is particularly relevant because it is essential in long term monitoring of the animal populations that were translocated. I obtained my undergraduate degree in natural resources management from the University of Malawi, Bunda College. In my undergraduate thesis, I assessed how institutions support protected area management. Over the years, I have worked across various fields of wildlife conservation relating to conservation education; promoting knowledge and skills transfer
Postdoctoral Research Associate
I am passionate about combining applied aquatic research with ecologically broad theory to inform conservation and management. My research has focused on the intersection of predation and migration in aquatic environments and how humans modify these interactions. I use diverse approaches including experiments, observational data, models, and syntheses to scale from individual predator-prey interactions to population and ecosystem consequences. I have examined patterns of juvenile salmon mortality and behavior as influenced by habitat and hatchery practices, and how seascape features influence salmon foraging, growth, survival, and bycatch in the ocean. I value thinking big picture and have created new conceptual theory and a review of predator effects on migratory prey relevant across taxa.
I obtained my undergraduate degree in Environmental Science from Miami University of Ohio and Masters and PhD degrees in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of California Santa Cruz. I am currently a postdoc in the Levi lab studying Chinook salmon bycatch in the Pacific hake fishery. In my free time, I enjoy biking, baking, and cheering on my hometown Chicago sports teams.