About Me

Hello! My name is Olivia Sanderfoot, and I am an ecologist with a passion for conservation, teaching, and science communication and policy. I recently finished my Ph.D. in the Quantitative Ecology Lab at the University of Washington School of Environmental & Forest Sciences, where I studied the effects of urban air pollution and wildfire smoke on the health, behavior, and detection of birds and other wildlife. This work built directly on the research I conducted as a graduate student in an air quality research group at the University of Wisconsin – Madison Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies. My research is highly interdisciplinary; I regularly incorporate knowledge, approaches, and tools from applied and quantitative ecology, atmospheric science, and statistical modeling.

My enthusiasm for science communication is a key thread tying together my professional experiences at non-profits and academic institutions, including the NASA Air Quality Applied Sciences Team, the UW–Madison Energy Analysis & Policy Program, Madison Audubon Society, and Seattle Audubon. I am especially excited about opportunities to lead public engagement initiatives, such as community science projects, because I believe there is tremendous value in public participation in science.

I am currently a Postdoctoral Scholar in Dr. Morgan Tingley‘s lab at the University of California, Los Angeles. My research is focused on linking bird observations from long-term monitoring and community science programs with data on air quality to explore direct and indirect effects of wildfire smoke on the distribution and movement of migratory and resident birds in the western United States. Our goal is to assess the potential for smoke pollution to act as an ecological disturbance and identify which bird species may be most vulnerable and why.

To learn more about my academic and professional experience, click here to view my CV. If you are interested in contacting me about my research or public engagement opportunities, please feel free to email me at osanderfoot[at]gmail.com. I look forward to hearing from you!