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
- Patterns and drivers of population biology in marine vertebrates
- Developing natural resource policy for accurately managing the use of living resources
Matt Leslie fell in love with the natural world as a rough-necked little boy in small town Oklahoma. His wilderness rambles and monthly Boy Scout camp-outs taught him that “going out, was really going in”, to paraphrase John Muir. Matt’s formal research career began at the age of 17 as a field technician studying threatened greater prairie chickens on the tallgrass prairie. Before he graduated high school he knew he wanted to be a field biologist because he thought life behind a desk was no life at all. He attended Oklahoma State University to pursue Zoology, Wildlife Ecology and competitive marching percussion. During his undergraduate tenure he traveled to Australia to study humpback whales, the Gulf of Mexico to study dolphins, and the backwoods of the Ouachita Mountains to trap and track black bears. Associated with the black bear study he witnessed the power of genetics to uncover cryptic life history characteristics and migration patterns for wildlife management.
In his final year at Oklahoma State, Matt was awarded a competitive NSF-funded internship at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in New York City. The project was studying population genetics in Southern Hemisphere humpback whales. Matt graduated a fourth generation Oklahoma State grad in 2002. He was the outstanding Zoology Department graduate that year. After his NSF Internship, the Wildlife Conservation Society hired Matt to study a broad array of conservation issues. This position took Matt to Madagascar for three seasons of whale research, and also afforded the opportunity to join the scientific committee of the International Whaling Commission. Most recently, Matt managed the AMNH’s new Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics, an exciting and dynamic group of researchers pushing the envelop in evolutionary genomics research. Last year Matt was awarded the prestigious NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. He is using this fellowship at SIO to pursue his interests in applied ecological genetics. His research is in collaboration with the National Marine Fisheries Service’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center. He still thinks that life behind a desk is no life at all.
H. C. ROSENBAUM, C. POMILLA, M. MENDEZ, M. S. LESLIE et al. 2009
DNA diversity and population structure of humpback whales from their wintering areas in the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans.
Molecular Ecology. In Review
P. J. ERSTS, C. POMILLA, H. C. ROSENBAUM, M. VÉLY, J. KISZKA, S. CERCHIO, Y. RAZAFINDRAKOTO, M. S. LESLIE, AND M. AVOLIO. 2009. Observations of individual humpback whales utilizing multiple migratory destinations in the southwestern Indian Ocean.
Journal of Cetacean Research and Management .
M. J. Eaton, G. L. Meyers, S. O. Kolokotronis, M. S. Leslie, A. P. Martin, G. Amato. 2009. Barcoding bushmeat: molecular forensic identificat
ion of Central African and South American harvested vertebrates. Conservation Genetics 2009; Accepted.
M. MENDEZ, M. S. LESLIE. 2009. Cetacean Mitogenomics. MitoCommunications; Mitochondrial DNA; Mitochondrial DNA 2009; 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 2008:9(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 2006:97(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.
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 2005:11(4):28-30.