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Hi, I'm Amy.

I am an Assistant Professor in the School of Aquatic and Fisheries Sciences at the University of Washington. I study various aspects of how marine top predators use social behavior as an ecological and evolutionary strategy, and the ways in which social behavior drives evolution and population structure in marine mammals. 

My Story

Everyone in research and academia took a different path to get here. I took the scenic route. 

I graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 2004 with bachelors degrees in Marine Biology and Journalism. Like many people who are that age, I knew I wanted to be a marine biologist, but I still didn't know how....or why.

So I worked for a while as a journalist for a city newspaper, joined the Peace Corps and moved to Peru for three years, then came back and worked in finance. I worked for three years in NOAA's Antarctic Ecosystem Research Division, half in the administrative world and half in biology. 

After six years, I decided to go back to graduate school. I pursued an M.S. in Marine Biology and a Ph.D. in Biological Oceanography from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, with advisors at NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center's Marine Mammal and Turtle Division. My dissertation focused on describing global and local patterns of genetic and acoustic structure in a social cetacean, the short-finned pilot whale.


After completing my Ph.D. I was awarded a postdoctoral scholar position at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, where I examined the vocal repertoire and microbial diversity in beluga whales, another social cetacean. After my time at WHOI I worked first with Cascadia Research Collective to study abundance and residency patterns in bottlenose dolphins in Hawai'i, and then with NOAA's Northwest Fisheries Science Center exploring seasonal variability in the diets of killer whales and population structure in Bahamas beaked whales.

In 2022, 18 years after completing my undergraduate degree, I took a position as a professor at the University of Washington.

As an undergraduate looking forward, those 18 years seem interminably long, and with too many detours on the way to my career goals. Now looking back, I am incredibly grateful that I lingered at stops along the way, and for the things I learned by taking a winding road. As a journalist I honed my ability to write clearly, concisely, and on a deadline. Moving to Peru with the Peace Corps gave me a second language and culture; it also taught me skills in public speaking, natural resource management, and community organizing. Through my job with NOAA's Antarctic Ecosystem Research Division I gained experience in field research, planning, and logistics; international management policy; and project management and budgeting - to name a few. 

I also discovered my own personal reason for wanting to pursue a career in marine biology research, and that passion has guided my path ever since. 


Have a question? Need answers? Feel free to get in touch.


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