Sunday, November 14, 2010

About





I am Master’s graduate from the University of Southern Mississippi, and currently live in Austin, Texas. I have worked on several projects as a field biologist throughout and after getting my degrees, and have experience working with everything from reptiles and amphibians to birds and bats.  My career goals include impacting conservation and management practices through research. More specifically the unique strategies of managing for migratory birds is of great interest to me.


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 One of the great things about living in Austin, TX is the abundant bird life. Being at the confluence of two major flyways has it's advantages, and Austin provides breeding habitat for two of these unique and endangered migrants, the Black-capped Vireo and the Golden-cheeked Warbler.  I've had the opportunity to work on a project monitoring Golden-cheeked Warblers with the city of Austin for two seasons.  It is great experience and I love every minute of it. 
 
I can be most commonly found target netting and banding, re-sighted color banded individuals, delineating and mapping territories, finding nests and monitoring behavior. I also navigate difficult terrain with GPS, aerial and topographic maps, as well as completing detailed vegetation surveys, and data entry using GIS software. It's a wonderful learning experience as well as allowing me to keep up and hone skills I had previously developed.

Prior to moving to Austin, I obtained my master’s degree from The University of Southern Mississippi, this project gave me a wealth of experience in research, but also in education and working with peers and professionals. I developed analytical and scientific writing skills as I investigated aspects of ecology in a wild population of Northern Cardinals. I was a leader on this project for three years, which included 6 hours of fieldwork daily (Monday-Sunday) for 8 months during each year.  During data collection, I surveyed for wild birds daily, including passive capture through mist-nets and potter traps, as well as target netting, nest searching, banding and re-sighting individuals and vegetation surveys. This project also included practical application of GPS and ArcGIS, and I have formal education with both.  I was in charge of lab and statistical analysis throughout my project, and I presented my findings both to peers and professionals at scientific meetings, and the public at venues such as the local Audubon chapter.  I also have experience presenting and educating in a more formal atmosphere, as a graduate teaching assistant.  I believe being able to talk with people of varying educational backgrounds about biological systems and wildlife is an important part of being a successful Wildlife Biologist.

As an undergraduate, I led two projects during my Bachelor’s degree. I headed investigations on bat population levels and damage assessment on the Gulf Islands National Seashore after Hurricane Katrina. Following this project, I began work with Northern Cardinals during my Bachelor’s degree by spearheading a project on Cardinal molt. In tandem with this captive study with Cardinals, I volunteered as a field assistant with the same lab, which led to my being offered a position as a Graduate student.

I have also volunteered for a variety of other relevant projects both prior to and during my degrees, including Travis county natural resources doing vegetation and salamander surveys. I volunteered with various research projects at The University of Southern Mississippi while there, such as with migratory birds on the MS gulf coast and sensitive endangered species, such as the Gopher Tortoise. In addition to experience surveying for bats and birds, I have experience with reptile and amphibian surveys, trapping, and handling.

I am highly motivated, adaptable and thoroughly enjoy my work, and look forward to finding my niche in the field of wildlife biology.