Leslie New, a WSU Vancouver assistant professor of statistics who specializes in the impacts of humans on wildlife, has been named to a scientific panel studying endangered whales found in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Russia’s Sakhalin Island.
New will spend three years on the Western Gray Whale Advisory Panel, an independent scientific advisory body to the International Union for Conservation of Nature. She and her fellow panelists will look for ways to assess and manage the impacts of the region’s oil, gas and fishing industries, evaluate ways to monitor the whale population, and study underwater noise from seismic surveys, vessel traffic and other sources.
It’s a career moment for New, who studied the IUCN in graduate school, wondering at the time how one got involved in its research.
“The goal of my research program has always been the application of statistics to help protect wildlife populations,” she said. “I am excited about being given such a wonderful chance to really put that into practice, building the tools needed to manage an endangered population, while advancing our understanding of science at the same time. It is a wonderful place to be.”