Graduate Students

Olivia Bailey

M.S. Candidate

I worked as a technician for the Roby lab during the 2013-2014 seasons, monitoring the Caspian tern colony on East Sand Island in the Columbia River estuary. In 2015, I began a Master’s program in Wildlife Science at Oregon State University with the Roby lab. My project investigates whether a reduction in available nesting habitat effects the breeding biology of the Caspian tern colony on East Sand Island, by evaluating the nesting density on the colony, average colony productivity, and nesting chronology. My research is also investigating factors that may affect the breeding success of individual Caspian terns on East Sand Island; these individual factors include: age, breeding experience, timing of breeding, nest site location on the colony, inter-annual nest site fidelity, ‘neighborhood’ nest density, and ‘neighborhood’ breeding success.


Ethan Schniedermeyer

M.S. Candidate

I began working for the Roby lab in 2012 monitoring Caspian tern restoration sites in Southern Oregon and Northern California. I matriculated into Master’s of Science program in the spring of 2016. My Master’s research focuses on the ecology of Caspian terns in the Columbia Plateau of Central Washington. Nesting habitat for Caspian terns is being reduced at the two largest colony locations in this region as part of the Inland Avian Predation Plan (IAPMP). The goal of my Master’s research is two-fold: to observe the response of Caspian terns to managed reductions in their nesting habitat as well as using satellite telemetry to understand the behavior of non-breeding terns.



Sam Stark

M.S. Candidate

I began my graduate research with the Roby Lab in 2016 studying pigeon guillemot restoration ecology in Prince William Sound, Alaska. My research examines the response of guillemots and other ground nesting seabirds to the recent removal of an introduced predator from important nesting habitat. Summers find me on the water observing guillemot diet, reproductive success and nesting behavior. I will use this information to evaluate how predation, diet and nesting patterns effect guillemot population growth.
Before coming to the Roby lab I spent five summers conducting waterbird and nearshore ecology field research in Alaska. I’ve worked in such exotic locales as Lonely, Bethel and Seward Alaska and am excited to continue spending my summers studying the state’s diverse bird life. I received my Bachelor of Science degree with a major in wildlife from Humboldt State University in 2013.

Research Faculty

Dr. Yasuko Suzuki

Postdoctoral Research Associate

My research interests include population dynamics and behavioral ecology, with an emphasis on demography and dispersal, to better understand conservation and management issues of seabirds. I am currently evaluating demography and inter-colony movements of Caspian terns and double-crested cormorants in the Pacific Coast region of North America. My PhD research focused on demography, dietary contaminants, and management techniques of colonial waterbirds in the Columbia River basin, and I received a PhD in Wildlife Science from Oregon State University in 2012. I received an MS in Comparative Pathology from University of California, Davis and a BVSc from Nihon University in Japan.


Jessica Adkins

Senior Faculty Research Assistant

I began working in the Roby Lab in 2004 as Project Coordinator for the Columbia River Avian Predation Project, directing the day-to-day activities of field crew leaders and overseeing crews at field sites studying piscivorous waterbirds on the Columbia River. In 2008, I transitioned into preparing an updated status assessment of the double-crested cormorant population in western North America, which was completed in 2010. I currently facilitate the publication of our lab’s research in peer-reviewed journals by supporting the writing and editing process.

My education includes a B.S. degree in Biology from Western Washington University (1997) and a M.S. degree in Entomology from Oregon State University (2003). My research interests include avian ecology, particularly seabird diet, habitat use, and human perceptions, as well as systematics and taxonomy in general.

Kirsten Bixler

Faculty Research Assistant

I joined the Roby lab in 2003 as a research technician on projects monitoring the colony size, nesting success, and diet of Caspian terns nesting in San Francisco Bay and the Olympic Peninsula. In 2007, I matriculated into a Master’s program at Oregon State University where I was co-advised by Dr. Dan Roby and Dr. David Irons. My research focused on the primary limiting factors of colony size and nesting success of Pigeon Guillemots in Prince William Sound, Alaska. After completing my MS degree, I remained in the Roby lab as a Data Coordinator. In this role, I continue to collect data at waterbird colonies, but also train technicians in project protocols and monitor data quality during the field season.


Tim Lawes

Faculty Research Assistant

I joined the Roby Lab in 2010 to manage remote video monitoring systems at Caspian tern breeding colonies in southern Oregon and northeastern California and to assist with field operations. In 2011, I transitioned into a full-time Project Field Coordinator position and began overseeing the research and monitoring projects at those Caspian tern breeding colonies. My current role with the lab has me continuing to assist with coordinating field research, but I am now concentrating more on data analysis and GIS tasks associated with a Caspian tern satellite telemetry study that began in 2014. My background as a Wildlife Biologist includes research and monitoring with forest raptors, warm water fish, small mammals, and piscivorous waterbirds.

I received a B.S. degree in Wildlife Biology from University of Montana in 2003 and a M.S. degree in Wildlife Sciences from Oregon State University in 2010. My Master’s research investigated the movement ecology and habitat selection of pygmy rabbits in eastern Oregon.

Pete Loschl

Senior Faculty Research Assistant

I began working with the Roby Lab in March of 2008 when I started my current position as a field coordinator with the Columbia River Avian Predation Project at OSU. My current work focuses on colonial nesting birds and their potential impacts on salmonids in the Pacific Northwest. Prior to working with the Roby Lab, the bulk of my professional experience as a wildlife biologist involved studies of the Northern Spotted Owl in Oregon. I served as a field crew leader and project coordinator working for the USDA Forest Service and Oregon State University for most of the last 20 years. These studies included radio telemetry work to examine home ranges and habitat use of owls as well as long-term mark and recapture studies to estimate owl survival and population trends. Over this time I was involved in numerous additional projects that allowed me to work closely with raptors and other avian species.

I received a B.S. degree in Natural Resource Management from Rutgers University in 1988 and a M.S. degree in Wildlife Science from Oregon State University in 2008. For my Master’s research I studied lifetime reproduction and age specific reproductive success of Northern Spotted Owls.

Visiting Scholars


Alexa Piggott

Research Assistant

I joined the Roby lab in 2011 and worked for two years as a research technician, monitoring the diet and breeding success of Caspian terns nesting at East Sand Island in the Columbia River estuary. In 2013, I completed a Masters of Research at the University of Aberdeen, UK, while collaborating with Dr. Don Lyons and the Roby Lab at Oregon State University. My graduate research focused on the resource partitioning of Caspian terns and double-crested cormorants nesting on East Sand Island. Specifically, I investigated the degree of dietary overlap in relation to variable local environmental conditions and broader oceanographic conditions. I rejoined the Roby lab full-time in 2014, leading the East Sand Island field crew for two field seasons and analyzing data during the fall and winter. In 2016, I lead a research crew in Prince William Sound, Alaska, studying the recovery and recolonization of pigeon guillemots in the Naked Island group. I will continue with this work as a crew lead in 2017, managing logistics and data collection for this project.

2009 – BSc – Honors in Zoology, University of Bristol, UK
2013 – MRes – Marine and Fisheries Ecology, University of Aberdeen, UK



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