I graduated in 2013 with a B.A. in Biology from Sonoma State University where I had opportunities to engage in research projects involving many different species. I participated in behavioral field studies focusing on the conservation of the western pond turtle, Clemmys marmorata, and the California tiger salamander, Ambystoma californiense. I was also a research assistant at UC Davis’ Bodega Marine Laboratory measuring the ecotoxicological effects of nanoparticles on the marine ecosystem by using the bay mussel, Mytilus, as a model. For my McNair Scholar thesis I worked as part of the Sonoma State University Primate Ethology Research Laboratory focusing on the sociophysiology of captive squirrel monkeys, Saimiri sciureus, in collaboration with the San Francisco Zoo.
The combination of these research experiences culminated into a broader interest to discover how environmental stressors contribute to population decline. I am particularly interested in exploring the links between physiological stress and behavior in the presence of disease or contaminants. As a graduate student at Oregon State University I am eager to take an interdisciplinary approach to discover how pathogens, such as Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), as well as contaminants affect the behavior, endocrinology, and immunology of amphibians.
Personal Website: http://nataliehambalek.weebly.com/