Faculty & Staff
I received my Bachelor of Science in Medical Technology/clinical laboratory science from Simmons College, Boston, Massachusetts, USA. My career path continued in medicine, including actively working as a paramedic and as an instructor of advance life support classes, for almost 30 years before I returned to graduate school where I earned my Master of Marine Resources Management. While finishing my PhD in Marine Biology, I established the Marine and Coastal Ecology Research Center in order to provide a place for students of marine science, biology, and ecology to participate in research gaining valuable field experience. The coastal center is also focused on outreach events, citizen science, and volunteer programs that provide curriculum to citizens interested in investigating marine flora, fauna, and ecosystems.
I am interested in behavioral ecology of cetaceans with a particular interest in social structures. My dissertation research focuses on humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) wintering off Puerto Rico, USA. Passive acoustic monitoring, photographic identification, photogrammetry, and theodolite tracking are among the methods I am using to characterize habitat, occupancy, and movement of whales. In addition to my dissertation research, I develop curriculum for programs studying the ecology of Puerto Rico, and life history of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in the Galveston-Houston ship channels.
I am originally from Massachusetts where I spent much of my time exploring the marine and coastal environment as well as the woodland areas hiking, camping, and boating. In 1996 I moved my four children and two iguanas to the Texas Hill Country where the scenery changed but the excitement of investigating the ecology remained the same. After obtaining my PhD, I then relocated to the Tampa Bay area in Florida, where I take advantage of every bit of sunshine! My career path is beginning to satisfy the need to travel and explore the marine environment, while returning to Florida and Puerto Rico to spend time with my family.
During my final semester of undergraduate studies, I assisted in teaching a marine biology class at a local high school, where we articulated two juvenile killer whale skeletons, call the DEMBONES project. During graduate school, I was a graduate teaching assistant for various undergraduate courses at LSU, such as Intro to Natural Resource Conservation, Limnology, and a field-intensive course with topics in marine and coastal ecology. While living in Mozambique, I gave lectures to volunteers and university students on plankton ecology, marine debris, and marine megafauna conservation.
Kerri graduated from Ohio State University in 2007 with a combined degree in zoology, ecology, and music education. Her honors thesis quantified changes in the singing structure of Northern Cardinals and American Robins in different levels of anthropogenic noise environments. After founding a music education non-profit in Haiti, she began her PhD at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in 2009.
For her Ph.D. in oceanography (specialty in bioacoustics), she mixed her passion of music and science. In Laguna San Ignacio she studied the three different soundscapes in a grey whale breeding lagoon. In Cabo San Lucas, she developed a way to measure the relative number of humpback whales in an area based on how loudly they were singing. During this time she formed the Humpback Whale Global Social Call Catalogue Working Group to document how humpback whales of all ages and both sexes communicate using calls beyond their famous songs.
As a post-doc at the University of New Hampshire, Kerri used a decade of passive acoustic data from the Bering and Chukchi Seas to pinpoint environmental factors that explained distributions of odontocete species. Her work documented three temperate dolphin species that have now expanded their habitats northward, aligned with raised sea surface temperatures the occurrence of the Bering Sea Cold Pool – both factors that are affected by climate change. Collaborations included learning new detection/classification algorithms for automatic data analysis.
As a Fulbright Scholar, Dr. Seger worked in Colombia to record the soundscape of a humpback whale Stock G breeding ground and taught at the Universidad Pontificia Javeriana.
With Applied Ocean Sciences, she is the lead bioacoustician working on projects such as modeling noise generated from pile driving, seismic arrays, and other anthropogenic sources and estimating their impacts on marine animals. The soundscape project in Colombia continues with the help of several students.
Joy recieved a B.A. in Animal Anatomy and Physiology from Cornell University, College of Arts and Sciences in 1983. She continued to pursue her doctorate at Mount Sinai Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and is a Master of Philosophy as well as Doctor of Anatomy.
Teaching medical school anatomy, histology, radiology, embryology.
Comparative anatomy of animal adaptations to environmental extremes, particularly marine mammals (whales, dolphins), including underwater sound production and diving.