Gena Bentall Curator

Education: a B.S. in zoology from Oregon State University and a Masters in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from U.C. Santa Cruz. After 13 years studying the behavior and ecology of sea otters, I have recently been appointed to coordinate a program aimed at reducing disturbance and harassment to sea otters via human marine recreational activities. I am working to better understand how our behavior when engaging in some of the activities we enjoy--kayaking, boating, beachcombing---can have an impact on the species we love and what we can do to be more responsible wildlife viewers (read more about that at http://www.seaottersavvy.org/). I'm sure I won't catch any iNatters disturbing sea otters for a photo! My years studying otters kept me closely tied to the marine invertebrates and algae to which they are so definitively linked. I have a particularly soft spot in my heart for the lovely and diverse world of marine macroalgae, although my knowledge is limited to species found on the coasts of California and the Pacific northwest. But since childhood I have been interested in all wild things, mega and micro, charismatic and repellent, marine and terrestrial, flora or fauna and I encounter many interesting species every day as I explore along the coast. My ID strengths lie in birds, mammals and nearshore marine species but I am still learning. While I remain a rank amateur, my interest and skill with California plants has grown in recent years, and I often find them the most alluring (and cooperative) subjects for observations. I am currently at the level where I have just enough confidence to make wildly incorrect identifications! My fondness for lichens, other fungi, and terrestrial inverts is expanding.

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