Briana Abrahms, PI

Briana is an Assistant Professor and Boersma Endowed Chair in Natural History and Conservation in the University of Washington Department of Biology and Center for Ecosystem Sentinels, with broad interests in behavioral ecology, global change biology, and conservation. Her research focuses on studying the effects of environmental variability and change on wildlife populations, particularly through the lens of animal movement and behavior. She has a B.S. in physics from Brandeis University and a Ph.D. in ecology from the University of California-Berkeley’s Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management. Prior to joining the UW she was a Postdoctoral Researcher and Presidential Management Fellow in the Climate and Ecosystems Group at NOAA’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center. Read more about Dr. Abrahms' background and field projects in this UW Magazine article.

Email: abrahms [at] uw.edu

Kasim Rafiq, Postdoc

Kasim is a wildlife ecologist whose work mainly focuses on predator movement ecology, behavior, and conservation. He uses emerging technologies to investigate animal movements & behaviors and to explore ways to sustainably monitor wildlife populations. He is particularly interested in the intersections between conservation, ecology, and technology, and he prefers field-based studies as they allow animal behaviors to be witnessed in their natural settings. Some of Kasim’s interests at the moment include understanding the factors shaping animal movement decisions; the impacts of anthropogenic environments and shifting climates on predator ecology; and the use of open-source technologies in ecology and conservation. He is also working closely with tour operators in Africa to develop new citizen-science wildlife survey approaches for sustainable species’ monitoring. Prior to his position at UW, Kasim was a Fulbright postdoc at the University of California Santa Cruz and completed his PhD in leopard ecology at Liverpool John Moores University in affiliation with Botswana Predator Conservation.

Anna Nisi, Postdoc

Anna is a quantitative wildlife ecologist interested in animal movement ecology, behavior, and population dynamics in human-dominated landscapes and seascapes. At the University of Washington, Anna is modeling global distributions of great whales and marine shipping data to identify potential hotspots of ship strike risk. Prior to her position at UW, Anna completed her PhD from UC Santa Cruz, where she studied how residential development impacts puma movement ecology, survival, and population dynamics. Some other interests of Anna’s include land use policy and the wildland-urban interface, inquiry-based field education for undergraduate and K-12 students, and improving equity and justice in the field of conservation. When she’s not thinking about whales or pumas, Anna enjoys biking, trail running, science fiction and fantasy, and knitting.  

Leigh West, PhD Candidate

Leigh is interested in human-wildlife coexistence in the context of global environmental change. She is focused on interdisciplinary research and accessible outreach, aiming to inform conservation solutions that are mutually beneficial for people and wildlife. Before joining the Abrahms lab as a PhD student, Leigh worked varied field technician jobs in locations ranging from South Africa to the United States to Antarctica. She received a BA in Environmental Biology from Columbia University in 2016, where her thesis focused on predator-prey interactions between leopards and baboons. She completed her Master’s in Science Communication at Imperial College London, writing her dissertation on the portrayal of Indigenous knowledge in The Wild Thornberrys. In her free time, Leigh loves cooking, strong coffee, live music, and hiking with her dog Biscoe.

Erik johansson, PhD Candidate

Erik is interested in how macroecological patterns are shaped by behavioral diversity within populations, and the impact of a changing climate on that diversity. He received his BA in Biology from Hamilton College in 2019, where he conducted thesis research on cognitive performance trade-offs in American Crows. Between leaving Hamilton and coming to the University of Washington, Erik participated in fieldwork on cognitive ecology in coyotes, social behavior in Australian passerines, and evolutionary ecology in Trinidad guppies. He also interned at the Fresh Pond Research Institute, where he contributed to projects on demography and historical ecology. Erik enjoys working in the interdisciplinary environment of the UW Biology department, and exploring the mountains of the Pacific Northwest.

Marie-Pier Poulin, PhD Candidate

Marie-Pier is broadly interested in how group-living animals respond to changing environments, and how sociality may mediate the fitness consequences of behaviors in the context of global change. She received her BS in Biology from the Université du Québec in Rimouski in 2019, where she tracked arctic foxes in the Canadian tundra for her undergraduate research. She completed her MS in 2022 at the University of Wyoming, studying the influence of forage availability and sociality on road crossing behavior in elk. Before joining the Abrahms lab, she also conducted research on the connections between habitat configuration and social contacts to understand disease spread across large landscapes. Marie-Pier enjoys spending time in the mountains, riding her bikes, skiing on sunny winter days, and snacking during outdoor adventures. 

Meredith Honig, PhD Candidate

Meredith is interested in how species interactions shape ecological communities and wildlife population dynamics, especially in the implications of global climate change on these processes. She received a BS in Wildlife and Conservation Biology from the University of California, Davis in 2020. Meredith’s previous research experiences have encompassed a wide variety of topics including shark social behavior, hummingbird disease ecology, and large carnivore conservation and management. Before coming to the University of Washington, she also conducted research on how adaptation to climate change alters physiology and predator-prey interactions in marine plankton. In her free time, Meredith enjoys running, spending time outdoors, attempting to teach her cat how to walk on a leash, and bird watching.  

Undergraduate Researchers

McKenna Sweet

(Biology)

Joe Gibbs

(Biology) 

                                  Tate Linden                                   (Biology)

Lab Alums

T.J. Clark-Wolf, Faculty at Utah State University (Former Postdoctoral Researcher)

Trisha Prasant

(Former Undergraduate Researcher) 

Yash Katwal 

(Former Undergraduate Researcher) 


Allison Decracker

(Former Undergraduate Researcher)