Leigh Torres

Extension Marine Mammals
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At OSU
Affiliated with: 
Oregon Sea Grant
Headquarters: 
Hatfield Marine Science Center
Biography

Leigh Torres is a marine ecologist, providing and extending information about current research on marine mammal ecology and behavior. Leigh leads the Geospatial Ecology of Marine Megafauna Lab (GEMM Lab) within OSU’s Marine Mammal Institute and holds a joint position as Assistant Professor in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife and Oregon Sea Grant Extension.

She holds a Ph.D. from Duke University in Environment and Ecology, and a Master’s of Environmental Management from Duke as well. Before coming to OSU, Dr. Torres worked with the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, Ltd. (NIWA) in New Zealand where she was employed as a Spatial Marine Ecologist studying the ecology and movement patterns of marine mammals and seabirds. Among Leigh's many personal interests are camping, boating, soccer, and photography.

Dr. Torres’ current research focuses on the ecology and conservation of marine megafauna, including seabirds, marine mammals, sharks, and turtles. Dr. Torres’s current projects include: assessing the foraging ecology of Oregon gray whales; identifying overlap between albatross and fishing vessels; using drones to observe whales; improving our ecological understanding of a newly documented blue whale population in New Zealand; evaluating potential sea otter reintroduction to the Oregon coast; and assessing the ecological and physiological response of gray whales to ocean noise. Dr. Torres also worked with stakeholders to develop vessel operation guidelines around whales in Oregon.

You can read more about Dr. Torres’s research with the GEMM Lab here or at the lab’s blog.