glacier pic

Hi, I’m Jessie! I am currently a PhD candidate and NOAA Dr. Nancy Foster scholar at the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences at the University of Washington advised by Dr. Kristin Laidre. My dissertation research examines sea otter population dynamics and longitudinal and spatial patterns of sea otter foraging on the outer coast of Washington in Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary. I am using 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.  I am 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 I collaborate with researchers at the Seattle Aquarium to study how sea otter diets vary over space.

As a NOAA Nancy Foster Scholar, I am also studying Hawaiian monk seal foraging using animal-borne camera data through a Program Collaboration with the NOAA Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program. My past research was on pinto abalone tagging methods and the effects of invasive bullfrogs and novel habitats on invertebrate communities in Arizona. I am passionate about marine ecology and studying species with conservation need where my research has direct management applications.

6 thoughts on “About

  1. We just returned from camping on the Southcoast Wilderness trail on the Olympic Peninsula (near Strawberry Point and Toleak). We have been camping there for 18 years. Sadly, there was a dead sea otter washed up on the beach. We used to see a sea otter in that little bay and it may be that otter. Also, we were very saddened to see that there were no sea stars at all. Do you know anything about the sea otter population on the Washington Coast? Thanks. P & J

    1. Hi Pam,

      That sounds like a great place to camp! It’s always sad when a sea otter washes up. Did you by any chance report it? I think the Fish and Wildlife Service would be interested to know about it.

      That’s also too bad you didn’t see any sea stars- if you haven’t already I suggest reading my post on sea star wasting disease, as it is affecting sea stars on the WA coast.

      As for the sea otter population, their numbers are continuing to increase! An annual count is made, and the 2013 report can be found here: http://wdfw.wa.gov/publications/01584/. The total counted in 2013 was 1,272.

      Thanks for your interest!

  2. Hi Jessie,

    Enjoyed your write up about Abalone.

    Do you know if abalone become different due to the food they eat? Ie they change according to the algae they eat. Which explains why abalone in different parts of the world are different.

    Would love to hear more. Thanks!

    1. Thanks for reading! Yes, abalone shells do change color based on the type of algae that they eat. Juvenile pinto abalone that eat filamentous algae are a different color than adult abalone that can eat larger algae (browns & reds). I am not sure how much of the between species differences are due to diet, but I know color differences in the same species can be due to diet.

  3. Hi Jessie, just wondering if Abalone can secrete a form of poison as a defense?
    When i legally take abalone ( Black Lip), i sometimes notice a milky discharge immediately on removing from the rock. What would this be?
    Bruce Paterson
    Port Philip Bay , Melbourne Australia

    1. Hi Bruce! I don’t know of any instances of abalone secreting a poison. It has been a while since I worked with abalone, but my first thought is that it could be reproductive products (sperm or eggs). Abalone broadcast spawn, meaning they release their reproductive material (through their respiratory pores) into the water, sometimes under stress. Perhaps it could be that?

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