Matthew S. Leslie
PhD Student IGERT Global Change, Marine Biodiversity and Society

Undergraduate Degree:  B.S. Zoology and Wildlife Ecology

Undergraduate University:  Oklahoma State University


Advisors:  Dr. Philip A. Morin


Research Interests:

  • Patterns and drivers of population biology in marine vertebrates
  • Developing natural resource policy for accurately managing the use of living resources

Brief Bio:

Matt is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Center for Marine Conservation Biology at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Previously, he was the Manager of the Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics at the American Museum of Natural History; he received his B.S. in Zoology from  Oklahoma State University. Matt grew up in Oklahoma, giving him an unshakable love of open space, thunderstorms, Western Swing and smoked brisket. His research aims to answer questions of ecology, systematics, taxonomy, and population genetics for the conservation of marine mammals. Recently, he has become interested in using natural history collections and digital media for science communication. To find out more about his research publications, see his Google Scholar Page. To see his contact information, check out his  NOAA PageFor an example of his work in science communications click HERE.

Matt’s research focuses on the ecology and evolution of marine mammals. He is interested in uncovering patterns and processes of population biology in order to provide targeted conservation actions for species protection and recovery. He is also interested in developing natural resource policy for accurately managing the use of living resources. He has done field research in Madagascar, Cambodia, Western Hawaiian Islands, Gulf of Mexico and Australia. Matt has served as an invited participant to the Scientific Committee of the International Whaling Commission. He has received funding for this research from the Sussman Foundation, UC-Mexus , the Lerner-Gray Memorial Grant at AMNH, National Science Foundation IGERT, National Science Foundation GRF, and the NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center.




I. CARVALHO, J. AY LING LOO, T. COLLINS, J. BARENDSE, C. POMILLA, M. S. LESLIE, P. BEST, H. ROSENBAUM. 2014. Does temporal and spatial segregation explain the complex population structure of humpback whales on the coast of West Africa? Journal of Marine Biology DIO: 10.1007/s00227-013-2379-1.


F. Kershaw, M.S. Leslie, T. Collins, R. Mansur, M. Rubaiyat, B.D. Smith, G. Minton, R. Baldwin, R. LeDuc, C. Anderson, R.L. Brownell Jr., H.C Rosenbaum. 2013. New data reveals cryptic species and populations of Bryde's whales from the Northern Indian Ocean and western North Pacific. J Hered (2013) 104 (6): 755-764. doi: 10.1093/jhered/est057.


F. I. Archer, P. A. Morin, B. L. Hancock-Hanser, K. M. Robertson, M. S. Leslie, M. Bérubé, S. Panigada, B. L. Taylor. 2013. Mitogenomic Phylogenetics of Fin Whales (Balaenoptera physalus spp.): Genetic Evidence for Revision of Subspecies. PLoS ONE 8(5): e63396. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0063396


B. Hancock-Hanser, A. Frey, M.S. Leslie, P. Dutton, F. Archer, P. Morin. 2013. Targeted multiplex next-generation sequencing: Advances in techniques of mitochondrial and nuclear sequencing for population genomics. Molecular Ecology Resources. 13(2):254-68. DOI: 10.1111/1755-0998.12059.


P.J.  Ersts, C. Pomilla, J. Kiszka, S. Cerchio, H.C. Rosenbaum, M. Vely, Y. Razafindrakoto, J.A. Loo, M.S. Leslie, M. Avolio. 2011. Observations of individual humpback whales utilizing multiple migratory destinations in the south-western Indian Ocean. African Journal of Marine Science 2011. 33(2): 333-338. DOI: 10.2989/1814232X.2011.600436.


G. Minton, S. Cerchio, T. Collins, P. Ersts, K.P. Findlay, C. Pomilla, D. Bennet, M.A. Meyer, Y. Razafindrakoto, P.G.H. Kotze, W.H. Oosthuizen, M.S. Leslie, N. Andrianarivelo, R. Baldwin, L. Ponnampalam, and H.C. Rosenbaum. 2010. A note on the comparison of humpback whale tail fluke catalogues from the Sultanate of Oman with Madagascar and the East African mainland. Journal of Cetacean Research and Management 11(1):65-68.


H. C. Rosenbaum, C. Pomilla, M. Mendez, M.S. Leslie, P.B. Best, et al. 2009. Population Structure of Humpback Whales from Their Breeding Grounds in the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans. PLoS ONE 4(10): e7318. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0007318.


M. J. EATON, G. L. MEYERS, S. O. KOLOKOTRONIS, M. S. LESLIE, A. P. MARTIN, G. AMATO. 2009. Barcoding bushmeat: molecular forensic identification of Central African and South American harvested vertebrates. Conservation Genetics. DOI 10.1007/s10592-009-9967-0.


M. MENDEZ, M. S. LESLIE. 2009. Cetacean Mitogenomics. MitoCommunications; Mitochondrial DNA; DOI: 10.1080/19401730902852976.


M. H. Engel, N. J.R. Fagundes, H. C. Rosenbaum, M. S. Leslie, P. H. Ott, R. Schmitt, E. Secchi, L. Dalla Rosa, S. L. Bonatto. 2008. Mitochondrial DNA diversity and assessment of the likely feeding ground of the Southwestern Atlantic humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) breeding area. Conservation Genetics: 9(5):1253-1262.


M. KRETZMAN, L. MENTZER, R. DiGIOVANNI, M. S. LESLIE, G. AMATO. 2006. Microsatellite diversity and fitness in stranded juvenile harp seals (Phoca groenlandica). Journal of Heredity 97(6):555–560.


J.C. Loo, C. Pomilla, M. Mendez, M. S. Leslie, H. C. Rosenbaum. 2006. Assessment of genetic connectivity between breeding regions B and C and feeding areas I, II and III. SC/A06/HW. Report to the International Whaling Commission.


H. C. Rosenbaum, C. Pomilla, C. Olavarria, C. s. Baker, M. S. Leslie, et al. 2006. A first and preliminary analysis of mtDNA sequences from humpback whales from breeding stocks A-G and X. SC/A06/HW. SC/58/HW. Report to the International Whaling Commission.


H. C. ROSENBAUM, C. POMILLA, M. S. LESLIE, M. MENDEZ, P. B. BEST, T. COLLINS, M. H. ENGEL, P. J. ERSTS, K. P. FINDLAY, P. J. H. KOTZE, M. MEYER, G. MINTON, J. BARENDSE, K. VAN WAEREBEEK AND Y. RAZAFINDRAKOTO. 2006. Mitochondrial DNA Diversity and Population Structure of Humpback Whales from the Wintering Areas in the Indian and South Atlantic Oceans (Regions A, B, C and X). SC/58/SH13. Report to the International Whaling Commission.

M. S. LESLIE, A. BATIBASAGA, D. S. WEBER, D. OLSEN, AND H. C. ROSENBAUM. 2005. First record of Blainville's beaked whale Mesoplodon densirostris in Fiji. Pacific Conservation Biology 11(4):28-30.