Hired on in the fall of 2010 as the lead winter biologist for Point Blue’s Farallon Program most of my time is consumed by life on the island. Point Blue’s long term Farallon research seeks to examine the responses of top marine predators, like pinnipeds, to environmental variation and climate change. My main job responsibilities involve leading research collection on Northern elephant seal population dynamics (survival and reproductive success data) in order to gain insight into the health of the California Current ecosystem and how that may change over time. Results from our data are applied directly to management decisions by USFWS within the Farallon National Wildlife Refuge.

I grew up in Central Illinois surrounded by corn and bean fields and the only real wildlife that was abundant was the cattle that escaped from the pasture a few miles away from my house. Having a keen interest in all things outdoors I earned a B.S. from the University of Illinois. I quickly realized that my passion for biology lay beyond the boundaries of Illinois so I pursued a M.S. degree from Georgia Southern University. This is where I was able to get my foot in door that opened to the highly competitive world of marine mammals. After finishing my thesis on seasonal manatee behavior and distribution in Crystal River, FL I began working for the state of Florida as the lead marine mammal biologist for their Jacksonville field lab.

During my stint with Florida I fine-tuned my skills in understanding marine mammal behavior, field necropsy and the ins and outs of running an effective field lab. This prepared me for life out on the Farallones where every day holds the potential to see something entirely new whether that be wildlife related, unclogging backed up sewage pipes or troubleshooting outboard motor problems. The hard work, interesting times and a true sense of purpose are what provide me with the most satisfaction during our long days on the island.

When not on the island I spend a few weeks a year in the Petaluma office and in the East Bay area. Although I do have a knack for travel, I haven’t seen many of the astonishing National Parks on the west coast yet so I imagine much of my time on the mainland will likely be spent hiking and camping.