Marine Mammal Care

Beneath The Surface: Cal Poly Population Monitoring Program at the Piedras Blancas Northern Elephant Seal Breeding Site

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Join us for another Beneath The Surface, our lecture series for ocean lovers to learn from conservation experts! Katie Sanger, Wildlife Biologist and Researcher at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, will talk about northern elephant seals.

Since 2017, the VIP Lab at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo has monitored the northern elephant seal population at the Piedras Blancas breeding site to not only better understand the population dynamics at this site, but also to better understand the ecology and behavior of these animals. In this talk, learn more about the field techniques and student engagement in this program, as well as the initial results of a weaned pup migration study that began this year!

Katie Saenger is a 1st year Master’s Student in Dr. Heather Liwanag’s Vertebrate Integrative Physiology Lab at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Katie received her undergraduate degree from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in Marine Sciences, where she studied topics ranging from rockfish growth rates to northern elephant seal behavior.  She is currently a wildlife biologist for an environmental consulting firm in San Luis Obispo and is a field team leader for her lab’s long-term northern elephant seal population monitoring program.