Carolyn Comber

M.S. Student

Carolyn is a Masters student working in the Dayer Lab in the Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation at Virginia Tech. Carolyn attended Ithaca College where she earned a B.S. in Biology with magna cum laude honors in 2014. After receiving her undergraduate degree, Carolyn began working for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at the Long Island National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) Complex.

As a Biological Science Technician, Carolyn worked on several projects including acoustic bat monitoring, white-tailed deer management, and invasive species management. She also served as a Construction Representative for the Long Island NWR Complex’s Hurricane Sandy Coastal Resiliency Team. As a member of this team, Carolyn assisted the Service in restoring over 450 acres of salt marsh habitat that was degraded from historic human activities such as grid ditching and salt hay farming. Carolyn also led shorebird recovery efforts within the Complex by monitoring breeding shorebirds, protecting their nests from predators and human disturbances, and by conducting visitor outreach on refuge beaches.

Through these experiences, Carolyn developed an interest in coastal ecology, with a particular passion for shorebird conservation. As a shorebird monitor, Carolyn observed first-hand the tensions that arise from shorebird management as well as the impact that human activities can have on shorebird populations. In the Dayer Lab, Carolyn intends to further explore these topics in an effort to develop methods that mitigate human disturbance to shorebirds while reducing social conflict that arises as a result of management practices. Carolyn is excited to work on this project because she believes that considering the human dimensions of shorebird conservation will help land managers to implement conservation techniques that will ultimately benefit both people and shorebirds.