BA. Psychology, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA 2001.
Animal Behavior Research Experience
My prior research experience has been with terrestrial animals. I have carried out general behavior surveys on both North American Bobcats (Felis rufus) and Ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta) in captive environments. I was also given the opportunity to work in an exotic animal show, an experience that allowed me hands on interaction with a diverse group of species, including birds of prey, reptiles and a grumpy kinkajou named Oscar.
Fences or continents have never bound my respect for the animal kingdom and the ocean has always fascinated me. Studying animals in the ocean seems like the only natural progression in my life.
My intended thesis work will focus on the use of photo-identification techniques to determine the residency, home range and distribution patterns of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins in the Southeastern United States. Such information, gathered and examined at a local scale, has shown that adaptations to differences in local ecology appear to be key (e.g., Wells et al. 1987, Defran and Weller 1999, Defran et al. 1999, Wells and Scott 1999, Maze and Würsig 1999, Campbell et al. 2002, Weller and Würsig In press). Further study of local dolphin populations can hopefully provide an insight into the evolution of bottlenose dolphin ecology at a more global scale.
I like to spend my free time with my boyfriend Jeff. We both love movies, new and old, of any genre. Jeff is a professional make-up artist and I am his unofficial assistant on days when he needs an extra pair of hands. I also love to travel and have lately discovered an affinity for the beauty of the Southeastern U.S. I recently had the great fortune to travel to Ontario, Canada for an extended period of time and discovered the wealth of knowledge that comes from immersion in another country.
Defran, R. H. and D. W. Weller. 1999. Occurrence, distribution, site fidelity, and school size of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) off San Diego, California. Marine Mammal Science, 15:366-380.
Defran, R. H., D. W. Weller, D. L. Kelly, and M. A. Espinosa. 1999. Range characteristics of Pacific coast bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in the Southern California Bight. Marine Mammal Science, 15:381-393.
Campbell, G. S., B. A. Bilgre and R. H. Defran. 2002. Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in Turneffe Atoll, Belize: occurrence, site fidelity, group size and abundance, Aquatic Mammals, 28.2:170-180.
Maze, K.S. and Würsig, B. 1999. Bottlenose dolphins of San Luis Pass, Texas: Occurrence patterns, site fidelity, and habitat use. Aquatic Mammals 25.2:91-103.
Weller, D. W. and B. Würsig. In press. Bottlenose dolphins of Aransas Pass, Texas: annual and seasonal patterns of occurrence, site fidelity and behavior. Fishery Bulletin.
Wells, R. S., M. D. Scott, and A. B. Irvine. 1987. The social structure of free-ranging bottlenose dolphins. In H. Genoways (ed.), Current Mammalogy Vol. I, pp. 247-305. Plenum Press, New York and London.
Wells, R.S. and M.D. Scott. 1999. Bottlenose dolphin Tursiops truncatus (Montagu, 1821). In S.H. Ridgeway and R.J. Harrison (eds.), Handbook of Marine Mammals: Volume VI, The Second Book of Dolphins and Porpoises, pp. 137-182. Academic Press, San Diego, CA.