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About Me

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Kate Goodenough, Movement Ecologist

I am an interdisciplinary scientist that specializes in movement ecology and life history strategies of birds. I completed my undergraduate education in marine biology and zoology at Humboldt State University in Northern California, a M.S. in Ecology from San Diego State University in Southern California, and a Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Oklahoma. I study larids and their allies, a group that includes terns, gulls, and skimmers because I think they are important bio-indicators of changing resource dynamics in the environment. Species that have longer generation times may not be able to develop micro-adaptations in response to climate change. Instead they seem to develop intriguing behavioral mechanisms to compensate for aspects of environmental variation. It is a passion of mine to unearth these interesting life history trade-offs that allow for the survival of these species. 

I began my career working with terns while at San Diego State University. After graduation from SDSU, I had an opportunity to conduct work in the Peruvian Amazon tracking South American Black Skimmers over the Andean cordillera (Davenport et al. 2016) and investigating life history strategies of skimmers and terns nesting on riverine beaches (Austad et al. 2024, Goodenough 2022). I have since expanded my movement repertoire to include satellite tracking of the Gull-billed Tern (Goodenough and Patton 2019), Elegant Terns (paper in progress), GPS tracking of Black Skimmer migration along the Atlantic coast of North America (Goodenough et al, in press), and Black Skimmer genetics (Goodenough et al, in press).


From 2019-2022 I collaborated with with the Aeroecology Group and the Corix Plains Institute at OU to understand how body size influences movement decisions birds make in the air. From 2023-24, I worked for the Louisiana Fish and Wildlife Cooperative to develop movement analyses for wintering waterfowl under the direction of Dr. Drew Fowler. Currently, I am collaborating with Audubon North Carolina and Audubon Delta to train coastal biologists in tern and skimmer capture and GPS tracker deployment along the Atlantic Coast and the upper Gulf of Mexico in Mississippi.

Aside from my research, I am an amateur photographer. Most of the photos you see here are my own.

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