Graduate Student Environmental Life Sciences The College of Lib Arts & Sci
Kayla Burgher is a Ph.D. student in Environmental Life Sciences at Arizona State University, where she studies the sustainability of small-scale coastal fisheries. She is especially interested in assessing and mitigating bycatch of charismatic marine megafauna, such as sea turtles and elasmobranchs, while preserving fisher livelihoods. Her goal is to combine ecological and statistical modeling, community-based conservation, threat assessments, and the development and testing of bycatch reduction solutions to protect populations of endangered marine animals while maintaining fisheries. Kayla is also interested in combining agent-based models and population models to compare the effectiveness of various bycatch reduction techniques and to understand the impacts of these techniques on marine megafauna populations. Kayla is currently working on a project assessing the effects of gillnet illumination on a diverse array of fish species in Baja California Sur, Mexico. Additionally, she is testing the effects of net illumination in a flounder pound net fishery in North Carolina, with a focus on reducing sea turtle and elasmobranch bycatch. Despite growing up in the desert, Kayla has an immense appreciation for protecting our oceans and the people who interact with them. She received her Bachelor of Science in Conservation Biology and Ecology with a minor in Sustainability from Arizona State University, graduating Summa Cum Laude.