Katelyn is the Manager of Conservation Programs for GAI’s Research & Conservation department. Under the banner of GAI’s Center for Species Survival (CSS), Katelyn leads the aquarium’s conservation planning efforts with a focus on marine species, and she is a trained facilitator through the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Conservation Planning Specialist Group. In addition to her conservation work, Katelyn also manages and oversees the aquarium’s oceanic manta ray research efforts, both in situ and ex situ.
Previously, Katelyn was the Project Manager for a cooperative agreement study between GAI and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) examining spatial and temporal overlap between oceanic manta rays and BOEM’s Marine Mineral Program’s trawling and dredging activities off the southeastern United States. Through this project, Katelyn and collaborators were able to successfully design a tag that can be applied to oceanic mantas to gather fine-scale data to better understand how oceanic manta rays use their habitat. Prior to her role as Project Manager, she was a Project Coordinator for the Research & Conservation department. In this role, she supported all aspects of the aquarium’s research portfolio and conservation efforts, including partnering with the IUCN’s Shark Specialist Group’s (SSG) Global Shark Trends Project (GSTP), to which she contributed spatial analysis for approximately 1,200 elasmobranch species assessments.
Katelyn received her B.S. in Biology from the University of Georgia in 2012 and her M.A. in Marine Conservation & Policy from Stony Brook University in 2016. While in between degrees, she worked as a marine naturalist on whale watching and snorkel vessels in Juneau, Alaska & Maui, Hawaii.