Megan F. McKenna

Graduate Student

Curriculum Vitae



       Ph.D. Biological Oceanography, Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the        University of California San Diego, present.

       M.S. Evolutionary Biology, San Diego State University, 2005.

       B.A. Biology, Wittenberg University, 2000.

Research Interests:

       My research interests consist of both the pure curiosity of life in the marine environment and the interplay of human activities with these organisms.  Acceleration of human dependence on the ocean and the subsequent pressures, motivated me pursue my PhD in both Biological Oceanography Department and the Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation (CMBC) at SIO.   My specific research interests are on the interactions between sources of sound in the ocean (both man-made and natural) and marine vertebrates. In particular, I am interested how these animals respond to the noise produced by commercial ships.  I have found cetaceans to be particularly interesting animals to study because they have evolved sophisticated acoustic systems that allow them to communicate and find prey in the ocean. Through my master’s research at San Diego State University in evolutionary biology department I was introduced to this complex acoustic system; my research focused on the anatomy and evolutionary history of the cetacean sound production system. My current PhD research at SIO is focused in coastal California (Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary), where I am is investigating (in collaboration with CINMS) how noise from commercial ships is changing the local ecosystem.


McKenna, M. F., Soldevilla, M., Oleson, E. M., Wiggins, S. M., and Hildebrand, J. A. (2009). "Increased Underwater Noise Levels in the Santa Barbara Channel from Commercial Ship Traffic and its Potential Impact on Blue Whales (Balaenoptera musculus)," in Proceedings of the Seventh Californial Islands Symposium, edited by C.C. Damiani, and D.K. Garcelon (Institute for Wildlife Studies, Arcata, California), pp 141-149.