Theresa Tatom-Naecker is a second-year Ph.D. student with the Sarasota Dolphin Research Program and the University of California, Santa Cruz. She received a double major in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Science from the University of Chicago in 2017. After graduating, Theresa was a research intern with the SDRP and the Pacific Whale Foundation in Maui, Hawaii, where she collected data on social and foraging behavior and used photo-ID to study the distribution of bottlenose dolphins, spinner dolphins, and humpback whales.
In 2018, she returned to the SDRP as a Ph.D. student, where she studies the feeding and foraging ecology of bottlenose dolphins. Theresa uses quantitative fatty acid signature analysis (QFASA), a novel diet determination method, to characterize the prey fish in dolphin diet, elucidating the nutritional needs of these animals and the potential impacts of, and responses to, catastrophic environmental events such as severe red tide harmful algal blooms.