Sophia Ellis

Sophia Ellis

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M.S. Student


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Major Advisor:

Travis Brendan


A childhood in the woods of New Jersey left me curious about my own backyard’s habitat and only increased my curiosity for foreign ecosystems. The most foreign of which became my own personal refuge, utilizing summers to gain further field and classroom experience of aquatic and marine systems. This stoked a love for the intersection of theory, collected from years of reading, and observation. I completed my bachelors in 2017 with degrees in Organismal Biology and Environmental Policy from Pitzer College. During my final semester of my undergraduate education, I began ecotourism work on O’ahu’s North Shore as a shark safety diver with local Galapagos, sandbar, and tiger shark populations. The next four years I gained further in-water experience working with various freediving-based ecotourism charters between Hawai’i; Baja California Sur; Mo’orea, French Polynesia; and Bimini, Bahamas and associated research groups. I gained formal field work experience as a NOAA fisheries observer in the Bering Sea and the Gulf of Mexico from 2020 to 2021. By reinforcing past observational knowledge with explorations in the relevant literature to now building qualitative skills to ask ecological questions with more methodological rigor, I aim to elucidate the abiotic drivers of fish movements and inform dynamics fisheries management. As I earn my masters here at Michigan State’s QFC, I will study the spawning phenology and movements of lake whitefish in Lake Erie via GLATOS acoustic telemetry detections.