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Featured Faculty: Elizabeth Zwamborn, Marine Mammals

Posted by lindsaybarden | Oct 25, 2016

"The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever." - Jacques Yves Cousteau

Elizabeth Zwamborn, professor of Marine Mammals at Au Sable would heartily agree with such a statement, as she herself has always had a passion for the ocean and marine mammals in particular. Debuting her Au Sable teaching career in the summer of 2016, Elizabeth Zwamborn teaches Marine Mammals, a course that runs during Summer Session II at the Pacific Rim campus on Whidbey Island of Washington state. As a student at Au Sable in years past, Elizabeth once took the Marine Mammals course herself, it was then taught by Dr. Rafe Payne.

Hailing from Canada, Elizabeth completed her undergraduate degree in biological studies with an ecological emphasis from Trinity Western University in Langley B.C. Rounding out her education on both of Canada's coasts, she completed her Masters at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia where she studied the vocalizations of long-finned pilot whales. Elizabeth's research background spans from observing the effect of falconry in the prevention of bird pests in blueberry fields to calorimetry of northern fur seal prey to find its nutritional content, and tracking groups of sperm whales off the Galapagos Islands in a 40ft sailboat.

"Even though this part of creation is no more valuable than the rest," says Elizabeth, "there is a fondness of marine mammals - such as whales, dolphins, and seals - that make them a great example for teaching others about creation care. Very few people you meet will pass up an opportunity to watch and learn about these creatures. They are indicator species - a good way to tell whether the oceans they live in are healthy. While the rest of the ocean may be 'out of sight and out of mind,' marine mammals spend a small portion of their lives at the surface, allowing us to observe them and their health. As stewards of creation, it is important for us to pay attention to these signs and be mindful of the impact we are having on the world around us."

Residing in Langley, British Columbia, Canada, Elizabeth enjoys spending her free time close to the water sailing with B.C. organization SALTS (Sail And Life Training Society), scuba diving, and helping with marine mammal stranding networks. Her other hobbies include playing cello, knitting and wildlife photography.