Dr. Katherine (Katie) McHugh is a staff scientist employed by the Chicago Zoological Society and based at Mote Marine Laboratory as part of the Sarasota Dolphin Research Program (SDRP), a partnership to engage in dolphin research, education, and conservation action.
Katie began studying wild dolphins with the SDRP as a Mote intern in 2000 while completing B.S. and M.S. degrees in Earth Systems at Stanford University. After assisting with small cetacean research in the Bahamas and New Zealand and completing a fellowship working on marine protected area and fisheries management at Environmental Defense, Katie returned to the SDRP as a graduate student researcher in 2004, completing her Ph.D. in animal behavior at the University of California Davis in 2010, focused on juvenile dolphin behavior and the effects of harmful algal blooms on dolphins.
Katie has remained with the SDRP working on research aimed at understanding and mitigating adverse human-dolphin interactions, and she is also responsible for overseeing behavioral research as well as coordinating training programs for undergraduate interns and international trainees. Katie also served as an Adjunct Assistant Professor at New College of Florida for several years.