Heather graduated from California State University, Monterey Bay (link is external) (CSUMB) in 2012 with a B.S. in Marine Science and a Minor in Mathematics. While at CSUMB, Heather conducted research at the Institute for Applied Marine Ecology (link is external) (IfAME) under the direction of Dr. James Lindholm, where she observed habitat associations of fish and invertebrate species from underwater camera sled and remotely operated vehicle video in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.
Stemming from this work, Heather completed an undergraduate honors thesis looking at the distribution and habitat associations of spotted ratfish (Hydrolagus colliei) in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Heather has a strong interest in the intersection between science, policy, and management with particular interest in ways science can provide management bodies with much needed information. This led to her to her thesis research looking at spatial and temporal variations in secondary community
productivity of kelp forest fish assemblages along California's coast. The Partnership for the Interdisciplinary Study of Coastal OCeans (PISCO) has been conducting subtidal scuba surveys at 235 sites ranging from Cape Mendocino to the US - Mexico border over the p
ast 15 years. Using fish density and size information, Heather is calculating production (the rate of biomass production per unit time) of approximately 80 fish species found within kelp forests along the coast. Secondary community productivity likely changes with latitude, shifts in fish assemblage composition, or as a response to environmental variation. In addition, Heather will look at differences inside and outside of marine protected areas. The goal of Heather's thesiswork is that these data could help direct future management efforts of nearshore fishes.
While at MLML, Heather has served as MLML's Open House Co-Chair and as the student body respresentative to CSUMB. In addition, Heather is the Monterey Area Research Institutions' Network for Education (MARINE) liaison at MLML. She is very involved in the labs and has a particular proclivity for taking on more leadership and volunteer responsibilities than is realistically possible. Heather can often be found in the Ichthyology lab struggling with MATLAB or walking around Moss Landing with her dogs.