Cheryl A. Horton


Title: Masters Student, Wildlife Science

Phone: 845.548.2187
Email: [email protected]
Address: Oregon State University
Hatfield Marine Science Center
2030 SE Marine Science Drive
Newport, OR 97365

: B.S. – Natural Resources and Applied Ecology, Cornell University, 2006

Interests: Predator-prey dynamics, food web interactions, population dynamics, community ecology, behavioral ecology, endangered species management, human dimensions of natural resources, and education


I joined the Seabird Oceanography Lab in 2010 working on a research and monitoring effort based out of the Hatfield Marine Science Center (HMSC) in Newport, OR. In 2011, I started the Master of Wildlife Science Program in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, where I am co-advised by Dr. Robert M. Suryan and Dr. Katie Dugger. I split my time between HMSC, where I serve as the co-president of the Hatfield Student Organization, and main campus in Corvallis. During the academic year, I work as a graduate teaching assistant and have TA-ed FW473: Fish Ecology and FW111: Introduction to Marine Life in the Sea. Additionally, I administer a section of Dr. Dugger’s course, FW350: Endangered Species, Society and Sustainability online through OSU’s Ecampus program.

My thesis project is entitled “Effects of bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) disturbance on the common murre (Uria aalge) meta-population breeding in coastal Oregon.” I began collecting data on the mechanisms of disturbance (including primary and secondary predation) that are impacting the reproductive success of common murres in 2011 and expanded this effort to include three case study sites in 2012. For my thesis research, I am also examining historic data linking the number and spatial distribution of active murre breeding sites and eagle nest locations over time, to determine where and how murres have shifted their breeding effort in response to eagle presence/predation. The offshore rocks and islands in Oregon provide breeding habitat for over 66% of the 1.1 million common murres in the California Current Ecosystem. Considering the increased use of the coastal environment and variability of ocean conditions, it is crucial for researchers and managers to have a clear understanding of the distribution, abundance and reproductive output of this species, which has the unique potential to serve as an ecosystem indicator. My study aims to add timely information to this body of knowledge. Furthermore, I am interested in the ecology of bald eagles and their ability to recover and thrive in an environment vastly changed from the period prior to this species’ listing as threatened or endangered in the lower 48 states in 1978.