In 2015, I earned my Bachelor of Science degree in Wildlife (Conservation Biology/Applied Vertebrate Ecology) with a minor in English Writing from Humboldt State University. In October 2020, I will begin my MSc in Ecology at Bar-Ilan University, studying honesty in communication using rock hyraxes (Procavia capensis) as a model. I will be researching the vocalizations and behavior of wild hyraxes in Ein Gedi Nature Reserve, in the lab of Dr. Lee Koren (


I am featured in Sy Montgomery and Nic Bishop’s beautiful nonfiction book The Hyena Scientist, available here. Read it to learn about spotted hyenas, zoologist Kay Holekamp, and the research we were doing in the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya in 2016. For more information about the MSU Mara Hyena Project, check out their blog here. I wrote a few posts that can still be found in the archive.

I am a coauthor on a paper that was published in Current Zoology about feral cat vocalizations:

Jessica L. Owens, Mariana Olsen, Amy Fontaine, Christopher Kloth, Arik Kershenbaum, Sara Waller; Visual classification of feral cat Felis silvestris catus vocalizations. Curr Zool 2017; 63 (3): 331-339. doi: 10.1093/cz/zox013

I collected wolf howls in Yellowstone National Park for research that was published in a paper in The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America:

Arik Kershenbaum, Jessica L. Owens, Sara Waller; Tracking cryptic animals using acoustic multilateration: A system for long-range wolf detection. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 2019; 145 (3), 1619-1628. doi: 10.1121/1.5092973

I am listed in the acknowledgments for the data I contributed. You can listen to some of the recordings from that project here:

For an overview of some of my past wildlife adventures, see this post: