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Vanessa von Biela, Ph.D.

I am an aquatic ecologist focused on filling key information gaps about the structure, function, and drivers of aquatic ecosystems in the subarctic and Arctic to better inform management of public lands and resources.

My research program seeks to understand current limitations on the production of fishes and aquatic ecosystems to inform Federal and State agencies, Tribal entities, non-profits organizations, and the public given the importance of fish and aquatic species to economies, wellbeing, and culture. For example, the annual subsistence harvest per rural resident is 295 pounds of wild food of which 56% is fish. Access to my study areas is difficult because most of Alaska is not connected by road and requires complex logistics with boats and aircraft. I make research progress by leading teams that use a diverse set of tools that allow us to gain as much information as possible from each field trip and each fish: otolith growth, calorimetry, stable isotopes, heat shock proteins, and gene expression/mRNA.

Professional Experience

  • 2011- Present Research Fishery Biologist, USGS Alaska Science Center, Anchorage, Alaska

  • 2007 - 2010 Fishery Biologist, USGS Alaska Science Center, Anchorage, Alaska

  • 2005 - 2007 Research Assistant, University of Alaska Anchorage

  • 2007 Marine Mammal and Bird Observer, USFWS

  • 2006 Marine Mammal Observer, LGL Alaska Research

  • 2004 - 2005 Teaching Assistant, University of Alaska Anchorage

  • 2003 - 2004 Rehabilitation Supervisor, Santa Barbara Marine Mammal Center

  • 2003 - 2004 Hearst Scholar, Santa Barbara Natural History Museum

Education and Certifications

  • Ph.D. 2015 University of Alaska, Fairbanks, AK Fisheries

  • M.S. 2007 University of Alaska, Anchorage, AK Biological Sciences

  • B.S. 2004 University of California, Santa Barbara, CA Zoology

Affiliations and Memberships*

  • Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology

  • American Fisheries Society

  • Society of Marine Mammalogy

  • The Wildlife Society

  • 2005-2006 Student Representative, UAA Graduate Academic Board

  • 2005-2007 Chair, UAA Graduate Student Association

Honors and Awards

  • 2009 Star (Special Thanks for Achievement) Award from USGS Biology Chief

  • 2008 USGS Performance Award

  • 2007 Graduate Hooding Ceremony invited speaker

  • 2006 NSF EPSCoR Student Travel Award

  • 2006 Kodiak Whalefest invited speaker

  • 2005 NSF EPSCoR Student Travel Award

Science and Products

*Disclaimer: Listing outside positions with professional scientific organizations on this Staff Profile are for informational purposes only and do not constitute an endorsement of those professional scientific organizations or their activities by the USGS, Department of the Interior, or U.S. Government