Kathryn Leifeste

Kathryn Leifeste



Over two years of diverse practical experience as a field biologist, eager to gain additional proficiency in conservation and natural resource management.Extensive and involved academic background in marine science, particularly in areas of ecology, life history and physiology.  Organized, detail oriented, and self-motivated with excellent time management, prioritization, and multiple task skills.  Strong work ethic and professional attitude emphasizing reliability, teamwork, and the willingness to work as necessary to get the job done.  Effective oral and written communication, especially in written progress reports and in engaging the public in conversations about conservation. Knowledge-based skills:• Skilled in the identifications of fish (TX, AK), birds (TX, NM), and aquatic invertebrates (TX) using dichotomous keys and guide books• Knowledge of fish and invertebrate sampling techniques and sample preservation methods• Familiar with laboratory procedures and equipment, including:  centrifuge, fluourometer, microscope• Familiar with field sampling methods and equipment, including:  benthic core sampling, YSI data sonde water quality sampling, otter trawl, plankton tow, beach seine, dip net, binoculars, spotting scope, VHF and CB radios, • Knowledge of life histories of common marine organisms• Knowledge of laws and regulations affecting commercial and recreational fisheries• Adaptable to various field conditions, from cold and rain in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest, to heat and flash floods in New Mexico.• Attentive behavioral observer, takes detailed field notes• Prompt and accurate data entry, and management of collected data• Computer literate in Macintosh and IBM based systems, Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, Adobe PageMaker and Photoshop• Safe operation and routine maintenance of a company vehicle (manual, 4WD)• Completed DOI basic watercraft operation certification course (2006)


Aug 2002 - May 2006


University of Texas

Biology:  introductory courses, microbiology and lab, field biology*, genetics, biostatistics, aquatic entomology*, field entomology*, ornithology*, undergraduate research*

            Field work conducted at Brackenridge Field Laboratory (http://www.utexas.edu/research/bfl/) and other locations throughout Texas.

Marine Science:  marine ecology*, marine environmental science*, biology of fishes*, physiology of fishes, marine botany*, oceanography, biology of sharks skates and rays*

            Field work conducted and UT’s Marine Science Institute (www.utmsi.utexas.edu).

Chemistry:  introductory courses and laboratory, organic chemistry and laboratory

Geography:  environment and society, national parks and protected areas

Mathematics and Engineering:  differential and integral calculus, integral calculus 2, introduction to computing, introduction to computer and electrical engineering

* Course with significant laboratory, field, and/or writing component 

Work History

Work History
Apr 2008 - Sep 2008

Field Biologist

Turner Endangered Species Fund

Independently carried out Aplomado falcon monitoring project on a 400,000 acre ranch and completed associated reports to TESF board of directors and government agencies.  • Use binoculars and spotting scope to identify individual falcons with alpha-numeric color bands and maintain records on data sheets, field book, and electronic database in Microsoft Excel; use GPS to track falcon sightings; maintain artificial nesting structures and observe for use by falcons• Follow oral and written instructions from supervisors, use initiative and efficient time management to complete several tasks at once• Work in collaboration with biologists at USFWS, White Sands Missile Range, and The Peregrine Fund; communicate with landowners and the public about TESF projects and goals• Act as a naturalist for private ranch tours, spotting wildlife and interpreting natural resources for guests.  Assist with other TESF projects, including vegetation monitoring and Desert Bighorn Sheep, Bolson Tortoise, Black-tailed prairie dog, and Mexican Gray Wolf introduction programs.

Jul 2007 - Sep 2007

Aplomado Falcon Hack Site Attendant

The Peregrine Fund

Worked in the field under minimal supervision with one other attendant observing captive bred Aplomado falcons released in New Mexico.• Use binoculars and spotting scope to observe falcon fledging and other activities and maintain detailed records in field book and data sheets; prepare diet of frozen quail for juvenile falcons.• Work early morning and late evening hours; endure harsh conditions of heat, flash flooding, and poisonous snakes.• Written report of release success upon closure of hack site.

Jan 2007 - May 2007

Sea Lion Observer Intern

Bonneville Lock and Dam

Observe sea lion predation on salmon and other fish species from various locations at the Bonneville Dam.• Use binoculars to enumerate predation events, identifiy fish species taken• Identify species of pinnipeds and number present; identify individual pinnipeds using unique markings and numeric brands and note other behaviors• Work hours between 6 am and 8 pm; live and work with a team of observers under limited supervision• Explain observation and sea lion harrassment programs to visitors

Jun 2006 - Sep 2006

Fisheries Intern

Lake Clark National Park

Participate in Sockeye salmon monitoring efforts, from measuring escapement into Lake Clark to post-spawning otolith and fecundity sampling.  • Seven weeks at a remote field camp, working counting towers 24 hours a day with a team of 2-5 other biologists.  Usual shift 9 pm to 4 am, but varied as needed.  Duties included data entry and verification, maintaining campsite and gear, greeting visitors, and daily radio reports to park headquarters and local village.• Department of the Interior motorboat operator certification course; daily use of outboard motor boats to cross river to counting tower, as well as to travel throughout the park as there are few roads.• Helped with other fisheries projects, including radio tagging and tracking white fish from boat and small aircraft, and conducting creel surveys and collecting scales and size data for Silver salmon.

Jan 2006 - May 2006

Undergraduate Research

UT School of Biological Sciences

Under supervision of Dr. John Abbott, assisted graduate student Jeremy Harrison’s research in developing protocols for using carabid beetles and ants as indicator species of environmental disturbance• Set and recover pitfall insect traps at study sites in the field• Wash, sort, label, and pin insects recovered from traps

Jun 2005 - Aug 2005


Animal Rehabilitation Keep
  • Cleaned cages and prepared food for a variety of injured animals including shorebirds, sea turtles, and mammals
  • Assisted with 24 hour a day monitoring of a stranded bottle nose dolphin recovering at the ARK, including diet preparation and taking detailed behavioral notes