Dr Rebecca M Boys
Rebecca M Boys first joined the Cetacean Ecology Research Group in 2019 as Doctoral Commonwealth Scholar. She recently completed her PhD at Massey University (Boys 2022), with research that focussed on the application of welfare science to cetacean stranding events. Specifically, she has been investigating how welfare science can be applied at strandings to support decision-making. This has included identifying animal behavioural and physiological indicators that are feasible to non-invasively assess at strandings.
Rebecca was previously employed at the Institute of Marine Research (IMAR) and Marine and Environmental Sciences Centre (MARE) in the Azores and has a background in the ecology and conservation of marine mammals. Her previous projects include the use of capture-mark-recapture modelling to estimate demographic parameters of cetacean species. Rebecca is a current committee member of the Australia and New Zealand Student Chapter of the Society of Marine Mammalogy. She was a council member of the UK and Ireland Regional Student Chapter (2014-2015) and served on the Education Committee (2019-2021) of the Society of Marine Mammalogy, as well as the European Cetacean Society council (2016-2019). Prior to commencing her doctoral studies, Rebecca graduated with a BSc Honours in Applied Marine Biology from Bangor University, UK, where her honours thesis examined the fatal interactions between bottlenose dolphins and harbour porpoises.
Rebecca’s primary research interests lie at the interface of animal welfare science and conservation biology. Her current research projects aim to validate welfare indicators for stranded cetaceans as well as examining how euthanasia is applied at stranding events. She is also involved in post-mortem examination of cetaceans. Her research helps to inform first aid procedures, and decisions of refloatation versus euthanasia at strandings, allowing for personnel to make fast informed decisions regarding prognosis of individuals and improve allocation of refloating effort.