Liz is a biologist with over a decade of spatial analysis and GIS experience. She holds a BSc degree in Biology from Missouri State University, an MSc degree in Marine Science from the University of Auckland, and a Graduate Certificate in GIS. Much of her past career has focused on bottlenose dolphin research and always involved some type of spatial analysis. Her past projects include dolphin habitat use in a highly trafficked bay in New Zealand, the spatiotemporal dynamics of dolphin communities in a Florida estuary, a dolphin radio-tracking study focusing on small-scale movement patterns in a Florida estuary, and a dolphin satellite telemetry study investigating nocturnal movements and habitat use. All the aforementioned studies have been published in peer-reviewed journals.
While not specifically conservation-based, Liz’s past research has often resulted in real-world conservation impacts. For example, her MSc research helped the New Zealand Department of Conservation re-evaluate the dolphin protection zones within the Bay of Islands, New Zealand. Dolphins are highly susceptible to disturbance by boat and her research found the dolphins rarely used the designated protection zones that were based on research from 15+ years prior. Eventually in 2021, the entire bay was designated a Marine Mammal Sanctuary. Overall, Liz has found that including a spatial component to research is imperative to fully understanding a species.