Despite growing up in a landlocked US city far from the ocean, Kate’s desire to study cetaceans has been lifelong. In 2013, she graduated with Honours from Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida, with degrees in Marine Science and Environmental Studies. While at Eckerd, she completed a Senior Thesis that utilised passive acoustics to quantify the relative abundance of bottlenose dolphins during a severe harmful algal bloom event in Tampa Bay, Florida in 2005.
Prior to her Ph.D., Kate gained research experience in photo ID, genetic sampling, behavioural analyses, satellite and suction cup tagging, and acoustic monitoring and tracking through her involvement with a variety of different projects. These included studies on humpback whales (Alaska, Australia, New Zealand), snubfin and Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins (Queensland), Australian humpback and Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins (Western Australia), burrunan dolphins (Tursiops australis) and blue whales (South Australia).
Kate completed her doctorate (April 2020) with the Cetacean Ecology and Acoustics Laboratories at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, which examined adult female-calf acoustic communication in east Australian humpback whales during migration. Most recently, she began a Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Davies Lab in October 2021. She is contributing acoustic expertise to a Transport Canada-funded project that has been supporting glider deployments in the Laurentian Channel shipping lanes in the Gulf of St. Lawrence since 2019. The overarching aim of this work is to develop, test, and refine the use of glider technology as a means of acoustically detecting North Atlantic right whales (and to a lesser extent, other baleen whale species) in near-real time to trigger dynamic slowdowns that mitigate the risk of vessel strikes.
In her free time, Kate enjoys watching baseball (go Cardinals!), hiking, reading, painting, yoga, and petting dogs while pretending they’re hers. Please check out her LinkedIn or follow her on Instagram (@_k8ydid_)!