Jenn Urmston

Last Updated November 2020




Field Work


Jenn grew up in the Hudson Valley region of New York with a family who encouraged her to spend time outside in nature. Her love for the ocean began at a young age, stemming from family trips to Acadia National Park where she enjoyed exploring tidal pools and testing her limits in the frigid water. Curious by nature, her parents struggled to take her on hikes as a child because she would (and still does) stop to look at every interesting rock, stick, leaf, or flower.

To further explore her interest in the ocean, Jenn attended Monmouth University in New Jersey where she obtained a Bachelor's degree in Marine and Environmental Biology and Policy. In January, 2015, she studied abroad at the Cape Eleuthera Institute in the Bahamas where she worked on research projects including shark bycatch, Queen Conch conservation, and Piping Plover migrations.

The following summer, she interned with the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife as and endangered shorebird monitor, where she worked to protect Piping Plovers and other endangered shorebirds. She enjoyed combining conservation research with public outreach and worked passionately to educate beachgoers on the importance of protecting the endangered birds.

Taking a special interest in experimental design and analysis, Jenn decided to take on a minor in Statistics. She worked as a statistical consultant at Monmouth, analyzing and interpreting data for clients in the Biology department. In her final semester of college, she designed and conducted an original experiment on New Jersey maritime forests, using dendrochronology to analyze trends in the growth of Pitch Pines related to climactic variables. She maintains her interest in coastal forests, but is excited to return to bird research!

After graduation, Jenn took a year to work as an environmental educator, but quickly realized that she wanted to go back to school. She never imagined she would end up in the beautiful state of Hawaii, but when she came across Dr. Hyrenbach's seabird research, and his special interest in statistics, she knew she had to be a part of it.

Jenn's research focussed on developing a predictive model of wedge-tailed shearwater fallout during the fledging season, in response to anthropogenic light pollution and environmental drivers.

To learn more about this project, please see below:

Jenn defended her M.S. thesis on October 29, 2020 and graduated.

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