I am broadly interested in studying the mechanisms by which population structure and speciation occur in marine mammals. As a graduate student at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, I work closely with the Marine Mammal Genetics Group and Marine Mammal Acoustics Group, advised by Phil Morin and Jay Barlow. Currently I am studying the phylogeography of short-finned pilot whales in the Pacific Ocean, as well as characterizing their vocal repertoire. I am also examining the effect of social structure and relatedness on population structure in the Hawaiian Islands, using a combination of acoustic and genetic data from a population with known social structure (Mahaffy 2012). Before becoming a student and joining the SWFSC Marine Mammal Genetic Group, I worked as an environmental volunteer in the U.S. Peace Corps in San Andres, Peru for 2.5 years, and then became a biologist with the SWFSC Antarctic Ecosystem Research Division for three years. I learned a lot from both of these jobs about conservation and management in action, and I hope to continue with an integrative education that will help me make my research applicable to today’s management questions.
• Phylogeography of short-finned pilot whales in the Pacific Ocean
• Relatedness, social structure and population structure of short-finned pilot whales in the Hawaiian Islands
• Characterization of the vocal repertoire of short-finned pilot whales in the Hawaiian Islands
• Social structure and acoustic structure of short-finned pilot whales in Hawai’i