Leigh Torres is a marine ecologist, providing and extending information about current research on marine mammal behavior. Leigh holds a joint position as Assistant Professor with OSU’s Marine Mammal Institute, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, and Oregon Sea Grant Extension.
She holds a PhD from Duke University in Environment and Ecology, and before coiming to OSU worked with the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, Ltd. (NIWA) in New Zealand where she was employed as a Spatial Marine Ecologist, and worked as a post-doc. Previous to that she worked as a marine mammal research scientist at the Duke University Marine Lab. Among Leigh's many personal interests are camping, boating, soccer and photography.
Dr. Torres’ current research focuses on the spatial ecology of marine megafauna, including seabirds, marine mammals, sharks, and large predatory fish. With the help of graduate student Florence Sullivan, she is observing and collecting data on how Oregon's resident and migrating gray whales behave when approached by recreational boats in order to help the charter industry develop best practices for whale-watching cruises. She is also collecting critical data toward understanding the rare blue whale population in the South Taranaki Bight, New Zealand, and investigating several other marine mammal species in New Zealand waters.
Follow her blog about the blue whale project.