Renae Sattler, M.S.

Research Associate

I joined the Marine Mammal Research team at the Alaska SeaLife Center in 2012.  I am involved in studying the reproductive biology and offspring development of Steller sea lions,  the use of Life History Transmitters (LHX) to assess population dynamics of Steller sea lions and harbor seals,  disturbance behavior in Pacific walrus, and the effectiveness of remote cameras to monitor Beluga whales in Cook Inlet.  For the long term, I am interested in research that seeks to understand variables that impact population’s viability, including conservation genetics, reproductive ecology, habitat selection and movement and ecological modeling.

It has been quite an adventurous journey that has led me to the Alaska SeaLife Center.  Growing up in rural Michigan, I loved being outdoors and the abundant widllife, and was taught your job should be something you love so it doesn’t feel like work.  At 18 I wasn’t sure how to get someone to pay me to explore the natural world, but the closest I could figure, would be to pursue higher education in wildlife biology and natural resources.  I completed my Bachelor of Science degree at Central Michigan University in 2005 in Biology of Natural Resources.  Afterward, I decided to hold off on a master until I was sure a career in Biology was the right fit for me.  I traveled much of the United States working seasonal research technician jobs and had the time of my life.  Ironically enough, my first biology position was studying Steller sea lions in the Aleutian Islands of Alaska. Next, came a position in a marine and terrestrial rehabilitation facility in Canada, followed by a stint as a Marine Mammal Observer in the Atlantic Ocean.  I shifted gears from marine animals to terrestrial with a job studying snowshoe hare winter habitat use in Colorado and then endemic Hawaiian plant and bird species on Oahu.  After three years of traveling and working with a variety of species and habitats, I decided the next step in my evolution was to complete a Master’s of Science.  In 2011, I graduated from Central Michigan University with a Masters in Conservation Biology in which I studied population genetics of Isle Royale moose.  With my heavily lab based Master’s behind me, I hit the workforce again and employed by The National Park Service to monitor the Channel Island fox and spotted skunk population abundance, survival, and disease exposure via bio sampling and a mark-recapture tracking study.  My career came full circle  when I was hired as a Research Associate to study marine mammals in Alaska.