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.
T.J. Clark, Postdoc
T.J. is a wildlife ecologist with broad interests in population ecology, socio-ecological systems, and conservation. Much of his work focuses on developing quantitative methods to conserve wildlife and biodiversity in an increasingly changing world. At the Abrahms lab as a post-doc, T.J. is focusing on building Bayesian hierarchical models to understand the effects of environmental variation and climate change on Magellanic penguins in Punta Tombo, Argentina in collaboration with the Center for Ecosystem Sentinels. Prior to his position at UW, T.J. completed his Ph.D. in large carnivore predator-prey ecology at the University of Montana and his MRes in seabird ecology at the University of Glasgow. In his free time, T.J. enjoys trail running, cooking vegan food, cross-country skiing, and birding.
Leigh West, PhD student
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 student
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.