Graduate Research Associate

Kassandra Townsend


Kassandra received her B.S. in Ecology and Conservation Biology at the University of Idaho in Moscow. After completing her undergraduate degree, Kassandra was accepted into the National Science Foundation Bridge to Doctorate program to pursue a Ph.D. at the University of Idaho studying forest owls in Arizona on Dr. Dave Oleyar’s project. Kassandra was first introduced to raptor research when she worked on a Ferruginous Hawk project in the Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area as part of the Idaho Estab­lished Program to Stim­u­late Com­pet­i­tive Research (EPSCoR) MILES Undergraduate Research and Internships (MURI) Scholar summer research. However, she has had the opportunity to pursue other experiences outside of the raptor world, including work with freshwater mollusks, the Northern Idaho ground squirrel, Hawaiian Coot and Hawaiian Stilt, ornamental plants in Costa Rica, and the American Black bear.

Currently, Kassandra’s dissertation work focuses on understanding microclimates within tree cavities, the distribution of forest owls, and how climate change may impact these populations within her study site in the Chiricahua Mountains in Arizona. She was recently selected to be a part of the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program, which will provide funding for her work. Outside of research and schoolwork, she enjoys spending time with family, taking her dog, River, out to go hiking and backpacking, and doing beadwork.

Favorite Raptors: Owls and Ferruginous Hawk

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