As a quantitative wildlife ecologist, my work encompasses theoretical and applied science. After receiving a bachelor's degree in Physics, I cut my fieldwork teeth on Magellanic penguins, grassland restoration, wildland firefighting, and African carnivores before returning to graduate school at UC Berkeley's Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management. I conducted my dissertation research in the Brashares Lab in collaboration with the Botswana Predator Conservation Trust. Being interested in the theories and tools developed for studying and conserving megafauna in a diverse range of environments, I am currently a postdoctoral researcher and Presidential Management Fellow in NOAA's Southwest Fisheries Science Center. You can reach me at briana.abrahms [at] noaa.gov.


Ph.D. University of California - Berkeley, Environmental Science, Policy and Management, 2016. Advisor: Justin BrasharesB.S., Brandeis University, Physics, 2008. magna cum laude

Funding & Awards

Benioff Ocean Initiative (Co-I), 2019, Operationalization of blue whale distribution models in the California Current in near-real time ($257,046)Benioff Ocean Initiative (Co-I), 2018 Downscaling models for blue whales from tracking data in the California Current ($106,750)U.S. Presidential Management Fellowship, 2018-2020National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, 2012-2016 ($136,000)UC Berkeley Graduate Fellowship, 2012-2015 ($154,000)UC Berkeley Rocca Scholarship in Advanced African Studies, 2015, ($5,760)Riverbanks Zoo Conservation Support Fund, 2015, ($4,450)Explorer’s Club Exploration Fund Grant, 2015, ($1000)Wilderness Wildlife Trust Grant, 2015, ($500)First Place UC Berkeley Departmental Graduate Student Starter Award, 2014, ($2,000)Oliver B. Lyman Wildlife Fisheries Graduate Student Award, 2013, ($7,000)U.S. Department of Education Foreign Language Area Studies Fellowship, Setswana , 2013, ($5,900)Brandeis University Steinberg Prize for Excellence in Physical Science, 2008, ($1,000)Brandeis University Hard Sciences Commencement Speaker, 2008, (Elected)

Professional Experience

2018 – present. Research Ecologist and Presidential Management Fellow. NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center, Seattle, WA. 2017 – 2018. Postdoctoral fellow. University of California Santa Cruz & Cooperative Institute for Marine Ecosystems and Climate, Monterey, CA.2011 - 2012. Research assistant. Botswana Predator Conservation Trust, Santawani, Botswana.2010. Prairie and Riparian Science Specialist. The Nature Conservancy, Olympia, WA.2008. Research assistant. University of Washington Magellanic Penguin Project, Punta Tombo, Argentina.2006. Research assistant. NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA.

Teaching and Mentorship

2019. University of Washington College of the Environment Capstone Intern Advisor.2019. NOAA Hollings Undergraduate Scholar Advisor.2017-present. NSF Graduate Research Intern co-advisor.2015. UC Berkeley Graduate Student Instructor, Wildlife Ecology (ESPM 133).2014-15. UC Berkeley Undergraduate Senior Thesis Mentor.2013-15. UC Berkeley Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship Mentor.