About Me

RIVER OTTER RESEARCH – Citizen Scientist Link

If you are reporting otter sign or observations please use the hyperlink above to do so.  Thank you for your time and energy on this project.


I am a southeast Alaskan transplant (from Juneau), where after a ridiculous number of years in schooling and tangential career changes, my husband, Tom and I moved to northwest Oregon on the Columbia River. Although the Portland area is home now, I’ve lived in a number of other states before settling on one permanently, including: Alaska, Colorado, Washington, Hawai’i, Montana, and Arkansas. Careers eventually brought Tom and I to the Portland area.  During different periods of my life, I worked as a deck hand on a commercial fishing boat (FV The Blue Zephyr), a research assistant out of Gustavus, Alaska conducting harbor seal, cow-calf population scans, as a research naturalist for Pacific Whale Foundation (Hawai’i), a kayaking guide and naturalist for Adlersheim Wilderness Lodge (Juneau, Alaska), and now for the better part of 14 years at Pacific University in Forest Grove, as a Comparative Animal Behavior and Neuroscience professor.  I have a curiosity for unexplored places, food, and new opportunities.  I have learned, regardless of how much it makes your heart race, saying, “yes” to a new opportunity is important for a happy life, both personally and professionally.  

If I’m not traveling or teaching at Pacific University, I spend my time researching foraging behavior of the North American river otter at the Oregon Zoo  or on Whidbey Island in Admiral’s Cove along the Admiralty Nature Preserve, or on Whidbey Camano Land Trust property and/or easements along Crockett Lake.  

The photos below are a plug for Ocean Futures, an experience I was privileged to contribute to as part of an Earthwatch service project, with Jean Michel-Cousteau evaluating coral reef health and the impact of the crown of thorns on zooxanthellae in Fiji.