Donna DW Hauser, PhD  

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Polar Science Center, Applied Physics Laboratory, University of Washington

dhauser [at] uw [dot] edu 

At the broadest level, I am interested in the ecology and conservation of marine ecosystems. My current and future research plans are driven by a suite of related questions addressing the environmental factors and ecological interactions that influence individual and population processes. Understanding animal movement across multiple scales is a unifying theme of my research, and I engage in applied research at the intersection of fisheries, oceanography, and marine biology that directly affects conservation and management outcomes. Much of my research focuses on migratory and apex predators in marine ecosystems, ranging from temperate to polar regions, with the overarching aim to understand the patterns and processes of how populations are distributed in space and time.
Recent projects examine migratory behavior and foraging ecology of marine mammals. My dissertation at the University of Washington’s School of Aquatic & Fishery Sciences, examined the physical processes affecting distribution, movements, and diving behavior of two populations of beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) in Arctic Alaska and western Canada, particularly in the context of changing Arctic ecosystems. I primarily worked with my advisor, Dr. Kristin Laidre at the UW Polar Science Center and School of Aquatic & Fishery Sciences and was fortunate to build on and contribute to multi-decadal tagging projects led by my collaborators, Drs. Robert Suydam at the North Slope Borough and Pierre Richard, retired from Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Several other collaborators contribute to various aspects of specific research objectives - more here!

Through a creative NSF-sponsored fellowship program at the University of Washington, the Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) Program on Ocean Change (iPOC), I have also had the opportunity to explore the more applied aspects of my research and interdisciplinary marine science. Along with my fellow graduate student team, our work recently appeared in Global Change Biology describing how disciplinary perspectives affect the interpretation of climate change signals in marine systems.

I completed my MS thesis at the University of Washington's School of Aquatic & Fishery Sciences in 2006. My thesis focused on spatial and temporal distribution patterns of Southern Resident killer whales (Orcinus orca) within Washington and British Columbia inshore waters and used a historical set of location data incorporated into a geographical information system (GIS). In fall 2007, I moved to the St. John's area of Newfoundland.  There, I was a marine biologist with LGL Ltd. Environmental Research Associates and did short-term contracts with Fisheries and Oceans Canada.  Past contracts also include research at the Northwest Fisheries Science Center, NMFS, the Whale Museum's SoundWatch Vessel Monitoring & Education Program, the University of Washington's Alaska Salmon Program, and instruction for the Beam Reach Marine Science & Sustainability School.