Alana Alexander is an International Science & TechnologyFellow pursuing doctoral studies in Wildlife Science at Oregon State University’s Marine Mammal Institute, located on the Central Oregon Coast at Newport’s Hatfield Marine Science Center.
Her research is focused on the genetic diversity of sperm whales, with her samples coming from non-lethal biopsies collected by the ‘Voyage of the Odyssey’ (http://www.pbs.org/odyssey/) and from stranding events around the coast of New Zealand. She is interested in how social structure and sex-biased dispersal of individuals affects patterns of diversity in various genetic markers and why some of these genetic markers have very low diversity in comparison with other whale and dolphin (cetacean) species.
Alana is from New Zealand, where she received her Bachelor’s and Honour’s degrees in Biology from the University of Auckland. After completing her degrees, she worked in Auckland for a year and a half as a researcher on a number of cetacean genetics projects before traveling to the United States on her International Fulbright Science & Technology Award to commence her Ph.D. program.