Karen Gallardo Cruz is a PhD student in the Graduate Group in Ecology at the University of California, Davis, advised by Dr. Daniel Karp. She received an AS in Biotechnology from Solano Community College in 2014, a BS in Integrative Biology with a focus on Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology from the University of California, Berkeley in 2016, and an MS in Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science from the University of Hawai’i at Hilo in 2019. There, she studied the effect of helicopter noise on bird vocalizations in Hawai’i’s protected natural areas, contributing to the creation of an Air Tour Management Plan for Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. After completing her MS, she taught at Diablo Valley College and worked as a wildlife biologist at Travis Air Force Base.
Karen’s interests lie broadly in how environmental changes impact animal behavior and ecosystem function. During her PhD, she hopes to study how anthropogenic noise affects avian community structure and in turn, the ecological role of different bird species. Ultimately, her goal is to use research to inform species management and serve as a mentor for young scientists who, like her, come from marginalized communities and are first generation college students.