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Grad Students

Erica Escajeda

Erica’s Ph.D. research at the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences (SAFS) uses passive acoustic data and spatial methods to study the behavior and presence of subarctic cetaceans in the Bering Strait and southern Chukchi Sea. With the sea ice retreating earlier and forming later in the year, research is needed to understand how subarctic cetaceans (e.g., fin whales and humpback whales) are extending their residence times in the Arctic during the open water season. Erica plans to assess how the presence of these whales relates to broad-scale changes and interannual variation in oceanographic conditions in the Bering Strait region. Erica completed her B.A. in Integrative Biology at the University of California, Berkeley, and her M.S. at SAFS on maternity denning phenology of polar bears. Her Ph.D. research is supported by the US National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program and SAFS. More information on Erica’s research, including publications, can be found on her website.

Jessie Hale

Jessie’s thesis research at the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences examines sea otter population dynamics and longitudinal and spatial patterns of sea otter foraging on the outer coast of Washington. Jessie is using annual sea otter survey data collected over several decades by the U. S. Geological survey, U. S. Fish and Wildlife, and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to create a Bayesian state space population model for Washington state sea otters. Jessie is also in the field several months a year collecting observational data on sea otter foraging on the outer coast of Washington to compare sea otter diets over time and space. Her Ph.D. research is supported by the NOAA Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship. Jessie’s past research focused on pinto abalone restoration and invasive bullfrogs in Arizona. She is broadly interested in marine conservation and ecology and her personal website can be found here: http://halejessie.wordpress.com/.

Jessica Lindsay

Jessica Lindsay

Jessie’s Master’s thesis research at the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences (SAFS) will focus on the relationship between ringed seal lairs and snow depth in the context of Arctic climate change. This work will be done in collaboration with NOAA, researchers at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and the community of Kotzebue, AK. Jessie is supported by a SAFS Fellowship and an ARCS Fellowship. She graduated from the University of Montana in 2015 with a B.S. in Wildlife Biology and minors in Mathematics and Climate Change Studies. For her undergraduate research, she used playback experiments to study the acoustic mimicry of bird alarm calls in walnut sphinx caterpillars.

Jennifer Stern

Jennifer Stern

Jenny’s research at the School of Aquatic & Fishery Sciences (SAFS) focuses on the feeding ecology of the Baffin Bay polar bear subpopulation, shared between Canada and Greenland. She analyzes hair and fat samples collected from captured polar bears using stable isotopes and fatty acid analysis and combines this data with movement data from adult females tracked with satellite collars. Her Ph.D. will include similar analyses for other polar bear populations around Greenland and an assessment of hair growth using captive polar bears to inform nutritional ecology studies in the wild. Her Masters research has been supported by a SAFS Fellowship and her Ph.D. is supported by a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowship. Jenny received her B.S. in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology from University of Kansas in 2016. At the University of Kansas, she studied the effects of climate change on tree phenology, changing honeybee population dynamics, and the evolution of venomous dorsal spines in sharks and cartilaginous fishes.

Post-Docs

Dr. Donna Hauser

Dr. Donna Hauser

Dr. Donna Hauser is a postdoctoral researcher at the Polar Science Center, Applied Physics Laboratory. Her research is broadly centered on understanding the ecological implications of environmental change at high latitudes, with a focus on detecting changes in marine predator movement and behavior across multiple scales. At the Polar Science Center, she studies the impacts of sea ice loss on marine mammals, focusing on the vulnerability of Arctic marine mammal populations in an increasingly navigable Arctic (supported by NASA) and habitat use and behavior of ringed seals tracked from Utquiaġvik, Alaska during an Unusual Mortality Event (supported by Alaska’s North Slope Borough). Donna is also a researcher at the University of Alaska Fairbanks International Arctic Research Center, where she is a Science Lead for the Alaska Arctic Observatory & Knowledge Hub and supports community-based sea ice science in northern Alaska coastal communities. More information about Donna’s research and publications is available on her website.

Dr. Irina Trukhanova

Dr. Irina Trukhanova

Irina is a post-doctoral researcher at the Polar Science Center supported by the UW Future of Ice Initiative and NOAA’s Marine Mammal Laboratory. In 2013, she earned her PhD in Ecology at St. Petersburg State University in Russia. Before coming to the Polar Science Center, Irina was part of the Baltic Fund for Nature in Russia and coordinated projects involving seal aerial surveys, tagging, and studies of seal-fisheries conflict and seal population threats in the Baltic Sea and Lake Ladoga. Irina was also awarded the competitive Global Fellowship in Marine Conservation by the Duke University Marine Laboratory in 2013. As a post-doctoral researcher, Irina’s goal is to assess the resilience of ice-associated seals to a warming climate and loss of ice in the Sea of Okhotsk. Her current project actively engages her interests of mathematics, programming, population dynamics and practical conservation.

Technicians and Lab Assistants

Allison Northey

Allison Northey

Allie is a lab assistant working in the Laidre lab on multiple projects, including a Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) report summarizing perspectives from polar bear subsistence hunters in East Greenland. She is interested in Inuit perspectives on quotas and hunting strategies, and more broadly how climate change is affecting polar bear distribution, abundance, and biology. Allie graduated in June 2016 from UW’s Biology (ecology, evolution, & conservation) department with a minor in Marine Biology. Following graduation, she was supported by an Applied Physics Laboratory scholarship and the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources. Allie is an AAUS scientific research diver and enjoys rock climbing and spending time outdoors. In summer 2017, Allie spent 5 months in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands doing Hawaiian monk seal population assessment and recovery efforts with NOAA.