Shannon attended the University of Colorado (CU) in
Boulder, majoring in Environmental Science. During her
undergraduate studies she worked at the Institute for
Arctic and Alpine Research conducting amino acid dating
of fossils and interned with the Sierra Club working
on wolf reintroduction issues. But it was a Tropical
Marine Ecology class that sparked her interest in studying
the marine environment. After CU Shannon moved to the
Florida Keys to work as a Marine Conservation Intern
with Reef Environmental Education Foundation, involving
recreational divers in conducting fish surveys.
coming to HPU, Shannon worked for eight years at the
Farallones Marine Sanctuary Association (FMSA) in San
Francisco, the non-profit partner of the Gulf of the
Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. Shannon managed
Beach Watch, a long-term monitoring program that utilizes
the expertise of over 100 citizen scientists to collect
data on 41 beaches along the central California coast.
Beach Watch documents the distribution and abundance
of live and dead marine birds and mammals and the patterns
of oil and tarball deposition.
also assisted with designing methodologies for at-sea
surveys in the Sanctuary in partnership with PRBO Conservation
Science. The ACCESS (Applied California Current Ecosystem
Studies) cruises collect data to evaluate the trends
in the distribution and abundance of seabirds and marine
mammals relative to changes in ocean conditions. These
cruises stimulated Shannon's interest in pursuing a
graduate degree to investigate the associations of seabirds
with biological and physical processes in the ocean.
thesis analyzed seabird distribution and abundance
data collected from vessel-based surveys in the California
Current. She developed a multivariate index
relating shearwater abundance and behavior, environmental data and commercial catches of forage fish, squid and large predatory fish species.
addition to her thesis project, Shannon lead a
study of marine debris ingestion in Wedge-tailed Shearwaters.
In fall 2011, she was awarded a NOAA Nancy
Foster Graduate Scholarship, which funded her thesis research. She also received a scholarship from the International
Women's Fishing Association in 2011 and 2012.
After graduating in December 2013, Shannon was hired by the State of Hawai'i Department of Land and Natural Resources, as Programs and Operations Coordinator for the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary.