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 I grew up and  started my wildlife education as a deck hand on a commercial fishing boat (FV The Blue Zephyr).  During schooling I served as a research assistant out of Gustavus, Alaska conducting harbor seal, cow-calf population scans, which continued into to Maui Hawai’i, as a research naturalist for Pacific Whale Foundation.

In the last two decades, I have enjoyed a career at Pacific University in Forest Grove, as a Professor of Comparative Animal Behavior and Neuroscience.   If I’m not at Pacific University, I spend my professional time researching animal welfare among Sea Otters and North American river otters at the Oregon Zoo  or I am working with students on Whidbey Island to research coastal behavior of wild river otters on Whidbey Island, typically on environmental easements on Whidbey Camano Land Trust property .  In my free-time, my husband, Tom and I are working on a 72-acre old, homestead in the Willamette Valley to remove invasive species and restore the endemic fauna along Baker Creek, in McMinnville, with the hope of further nurturing local bees and the fragile ecology for the property’s bobcats, coyotes, deer, owls, opossum, raccoons, and a myriad of other wildlife.  

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.