I am a PhD student at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. For my dissertation I am applying new genomics technology to answering questions of population and evolutionary biology of endemic pelagic dolphin subspecies (genus Stenella). This project continues work by Bill Perrin et. al., over the last half century to describe the endemic diversity of dolphins in the eastern tropical Pacific. The aims are to describe population genetic boundaries and population structure for these open ocean subspecies and to describe how the endemism evolved and what factors are maintaining it. Before joining the lab I managed the Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City for three years. Prior to this I worked for the Center of Conservation Genetics at AMNH and the Cetacean Research and Conservation Program at the Wildlife Conservation Society. These positions took me to Madagascar for fieldwork for several years and afforded an opportunity to participate in the Scientific Committee of the International Whaling Commission. My research focuses on cetaceans and includes discovering population boundaries and evolutionary processes using genetics and genomics, determining drivers of population structure and speciation, and using science to support conservation decision-making. I also enjoy teaching using natural history collections.
• Population and evolutionary genetics of pelagic dolphins endemic to the eastern tropical Pacific
• Using mitochondrial genomics and SNPs for population and evolutionary biology
• Developing guidelines for treatment of marine mammal subspecies
My hobbies include hiking, mountain biking, backpacking, gardening, drumming, Red Dirt music.
- P.J. ERSTS, C. POMILLA, J. KISZKA, S. CERCHIO, H.C. ROSENBAUM, M. VELY, Y. RAZAFINDRAKOTO, J.A. LOO, M.S. LESLIE, M. AVOLIO. 2011 Observations of individual humpback whales utilizing multiple migratory destinations in the south-western Indian Ocean. African Journal of Marine Science 2011. 33(2): 333-338. DOI: 10.2989/1814232X.2011.600436.
- G. MINTON, S. CERCHIO, T. COLLINS, P. ERSTS, K.P. FINDLAY, C. POMILLA C., D. BENNET, M.A. MEYER, Y. RAZAFINDRAKOTO, P.G.H. KOTZE, W.H. OOSTHUIZEN,M.S. LESLIE, N. ANDRIANARIVELO, R. BALDWIN, L. PONNAMPALAM, AND H.C. ROSENBAUM. 2010. A note on the comparison of humpback whale tail fluke catalogues from the Sultanate of Oman with Madagascar and the East African mainland. Journal of Cetacean Research and Management 11(1):65-68.
- H. C. ROSENBAUM, C. POMILLA, M. S. LESLIE et al. 2009. DNA diversity and population structure of humpback whales from their wintering areas in the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans. PLoS ONE 4(10): e7318. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0007318.
- M. J. EATON, G. L. MEYERS, S. O. KOLOKOTRONIS, M. S. LESLIE, A. P. MARTIN, G. AMATO. 2009. Barcoding bushmeat: molecular forensic identification of Central African and South American harvested vertebrates. Conservation Genetics 2009. DOI 10.1007/s10592-009-9967-0.
- M. MENDEZ, M. S. LESLIE. 2009. Cetacean Mitogenomics. MitoCommunications; Mitochondrial DNA 2009; DOI: 10.1080/19401730902852976.
- M. H. ENGEL, N. J.R. FAGUNDES, H. C. ROSENBAUM, M. S. LESLIE, P. H. OTT, R. SCHMITT, E. SECCHI, L. DALLA ROSA, S. L. BONATTO. 2008. Mitochondrial DNA diversity and assessment of the likely feeding ground of the Southwestern Atlantic humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) breeding area. Conservation Genetics 2008:9(5):1253-1262.
- M. KRETZMAN, L. MENTZER, R. DiGIOVANNI, M. S. LESLIE, G. AMATO. 2006. Microsatellite diversity and fitness in stranded juvenile harp seals (Phoca groenlandica). Journal of Heredity 2006:97(6):555–560.
- M. S. LESLIE, A. BATIBASAGA, D. S. WEBER, D. OLSEN, AND H. C. ROSENBAUM. 2005. First record of Blainville's beaked whale Mesoplodon densirostris in Fiji. Pacific Conservation Biology 2005:11(4):28-30.