The Team

Current Parks Lab Team Members:


Susan Parks received her B.A. in Biology from Cornell University and her Ph.D. in Biological Oceanography from M.I.T. and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Her Ph.D. dissertation was entitled “Acoustic communication in the North Atlantic right whale”. Susan moved to Syracuse University in 2012. She is currently the lead P.I. on a project investigating the vocal behavior of North Atlantic right whale mother-calf pairs, the focus of our research blog.


Dana_croppedDana Cusano received her B.A. in Psychology/Animal Behavior from Canisius College in Buffalo, NY. She then received her M. Res. in Marine Mammal Science from the University of St. Andrews in St. Andrews, Scotland. Her master’s thesis was entitled “Depth preferences in the acoustic communication of resident killer whales”. Her primary research interest is in behavioral acoustics. She has been working in the Parks Lab since 2012 and the mom/calf project is one of her main assignments.


leanna4_croppedLeanna Matthews is a PhD candidate in the Parks Lab.  Her research interests include mammalian behavior, physiology, and conservation.  For her dissertation, Leanna is investigating the effects of anthropogenic noise on harbor seals. She has helped out on the mom/calf project in the southeast and in Cape Cod, and is also currently assisting with the NEON project.



Julia Dombroski received her B.A. in Biological Sciences from Mackenzie University, Brazil. She then received her Masters in Psychobiology – emphasis on behavioural studies – from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN). Her thesis was named “Acoustic ecology of southern right whale (Eubalaena australis) mother-calf pairs off Brazil”. She’s been working in the Parks Lab as a research assistant focusing on the mother-calf project. She is also preparing to became a PhD student in the near future.




Past Parks Lab Team Members:


nathan2Nathan Merchant was a post-doctoral researcher in the Parks Lab. He carried out his doctoral studies at the University of Bath, UK, on methods of characterizing noise exposure from shipping. Nathan assisted in field work for the right whale mother-calf project.




SamDenesSam Denes was a post-doctoral researcher in the Parks Lab. He recently completed his Ph.D. in Acoustics at Penn State University. Sam was an integral part of the NEON project.




jess3_croppedJessica McCordic received her B.A. in human ecology from the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine in 2012 and worked in the Parks Lab to complete a Master’s degree. Her thesis focused on individual differences in right whale vocalizations. Jess helped out with the mother/calf project for multiple years.



hannahHannah Blair was a Master’s student with the Parks Lab. Her thesis focused on the effects of anthropogenic noise on foraging behavior in humpback whales. Hannah was a big help in working on the NEON dataset, especially with acoustically identifying birds and other species.



TriciaTricia Daniels was an undergraduate student in the Biology Department at Syracuse University on a pre-vet track. She worked extensively on the insect project and joined us in the Bay of Fundy for the 2013 field season.



The Northeast Fisheries Science Center, with special thanks to Sofie Van Parijs (co-P.I. of the mother-calf project), Lisa Conger, Allison Henry, Peter Duley, Danielle Cholewiak, Denise Risch, Genevieve Davis, and Tim Cole.

The New England Aquarium, with special thanks to Monica Zani, Scott Kraus, and all the members of the Bay of Fundy field team.

The Duke University Marine Lab, with special thanks to Doug Nowacek (co-P.I. of the right whale tagging project), Heather Foley, and Zach Swaim.


Field assistance:

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, with special thanks to Katie Jackson and Kelsey Howe.

Grand Manan Whale and Seabird Research Station, with special thanks to Andrew Westgate and Heather Koopman.

Other helpful folks, especially Will Cioffi and Alex Loer.