Katie Parson


M.S. Conservation Ecology and Sustainable Development
Major Advisor: John Maerz

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Katie Parson grew up in rural Missouri exploring the woods and creeks. At a very young age she made the decision to become a Marine Biologist so that she could continue her passion for wildlife and the outdoors. Katie graduated from the University of Tampa in May 2014 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Marine Science-Biology and a minor in Environmental Science. At the university, she worked with her advisor, Dr. Mark McRae, on a stomach content analysis study of the invasive pike killifish (Belonesox belizanus). The stomach content research was presented at the Florida Association of Benthologists 2013 meeting, where she won an award for the best poster presentation. The summer before her senior year at the University of Tampa, she interned with the Georgia Sea Turtle Center (GSTC). Following graduation, Katie returned to the GSTC as a Research AmeriCorps member. There she assisted in many wildlife conservation opportunities, in particular the long-running loggerhead (Caretta caretta) sea turtle research project. In the fall of 2014, Katie went to Costa Rica to assist with the management of a sea turtle conservation project on the Osa Peninsula (a GSTC collaboration), COTORCO. Katie returned to the GSTC in March 2015 to continue working with the sea turtle project on Jekyll Island, as well as conducting radio telemetry with the eastern diamondback rattlesnakes (Crotalus adamanteus) in the semi-urban habitats of Jekyll Island. Katie is now the AmeriCorps Herpetology member and her primary responsibility is radio tracking the eastern diamondback rattlesnake. Katie has also been involved with Southeastern Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (SEPARC) and is currently the junior co-chair of the steering committee. Katie is attending the University of Georgia’s Odum School of Ecology to pursue a graduate degree in the Conservation Ecology and Sustainable Development program.