Kira is from Portland, Oregon, and earned Bachelor’s degrees in Biology and Environmental Studies from St. Mary’s College of Maryland. Kira is a recipient of the 2020-2022 Margaret A. Davidson Graduate Fellowship, which is offered through NOAA to support graduate research at national estuarine research reserves that addresses coastal management questions. Kira’s thesis project involves working with Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve (ANERR) to address the impacts of reduced freshwater inflow and sea level rise on species in the area. This project utilizes a coupled hydrodynamic and food web dynamic modeling approach to address how changing salinity regimes impact the temporal and spatial dynamics of important species in Apalachicola Bay. Upon completion of her degree, Kira would ultimately like to pursue a career in quantitative fisheries management.
Kira was also awareded the Pew Charitable Trust and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Forage Fish Research Program fellowship in 2021. This work will adapt her existing food web modeling approach developed above to more specifically address the impacts of drought conditions on forage fish populations in Apalachicola Bay. She will augment the model of Apalachicola Bay using Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s fisheries-independent monitoring data to create a more focused portrayal of forage fish populations and their associated food web. The model will be used to simulate both long-term and short-term drought conditions and evaluate the impacts on forage fish population dynamics. Results will provide a greater understanding of Apalachicola Bay food web dynamics and the effects of drought conditions on the estuarine food web base.