Christina N. Toms, Ph.D.

Staff Scientist

Dr. Christina Toms is a Staff Scientist with the Chicago Zoological Society’s Sarasota Dolphin Research Program (SDRP). She received a B.A. in 2004 with a double major in Marine Science and Psychology at the University of Hawaii, Hilo. Her interest in animal behavior and cognition led her to a behavioral neuroscience lab at the University of Southern Mississippi, where she received a M.A. in Experimental Psychology in 2011, studying intrinsic constraints to behavioral plasticity utilizing the zebrafish as a model organism. Christina’s interest in applied questions that better our understanding of how animals respond to anthropogenic stressors in nature brought her back to biology. She obtained a Ph.D. in Conservation Biology at the University of Central Florida, studying bottlenose dolphin population ecology in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Christina joined the SDRP as a Research Associate in 2018, while finishing her Ph.D. She is now a staff scientist there building research to explore the links between animal personality traits (operationally defined as individual differences in animal behavior across context and across time) and responses to environmental and anthropogenic stressors, utilizing bottlenose dolphins as a case study among long-lived marine vertebrates. Christina’s research interests are varied and multidisciplinary. Within the field of marine mammalogy, she’s interested in addressing issues and questions related to marine mammal ecology, behavior, health and evolution across a variety of scales and disciplines. The common thread tying it all together has been a desire to apply research to emergent issues in marine conservation and natural resource management needs.