I discovered seabirds during my first year of college, working as a deckhand in Monterey Bay.  Having grown up in the Central Valley of California, I was unaware such a unique group of birds even existed. It was fascinating to learn, for example, that shearwaters fly many thousands of kilometers from their breeding colonies in New Zealand to forage in the rich waters off California, and that albatrosses make trips over from the Hawaiian Islands where they nest to provision their chicks. Hooked from the start, I wanted to learn more about the mysterious lives of these open ocean wanderers. 

Over the years, that initial interest has taken me to various seabird colonies across the Pacific; on islands in the Bering Sea, Gulf of Alaska, off the coasts of California and Oregon, the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, and Tasmania. Aside from the rewards of field work, spending time in remote locations has afforded me a unique opportunity to document wildlife and landscapes inaccessible to most. Photography has been an important tool in bringing my stories and observations home to share with others.

I work for Point Blue Conservation Science as one of the Farallon Island Program Biologists, while at the same time finishing up my masters degree at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Generally, I am interested in the spatial ecology and movement patterns of seabirds once they depart their breeding colonies, and the ways in which oceanographic variability influences specific breeding parameters. My research addresses questions related to age-specific reproductive strategies of Cassin's auklets, along with their winter dispersal patterns from a colony on Southeast Farallon Island, California. 

mejohns3@alaska.edu