Leigh  Torres
Leigh  Torres
Leigh  Torres
Leigh  Torres


maine mammals
spatial ecology
foraging behavior
New Zealand
Florida Bay
habitat use
species distribution needs
distribution patters
Leigh Torres
Assistant Professor - Marine Spatial Ecologist
  • I specialize in the spatial and behavioral ecology of marine megafauna including marine mammals, seabirds and sharks. 
  • My research often focuses on the spatio-temporal habitat use, distribution and behavioral patterns of a species in relation to environmental variability, prey availability and anthropogenic threats such as fisheries, vessel traffic, climate change, and habitat alterations. 
  • I am particularly interested in the functional ecology of marine animals including how behavior patterns vary with habitat, how spatial scale impacts predator-prey interactions, how species spatially and behaviorally reduce inter- and intra-specific competition, and how foraging strategies change relative to prey availability and spatio-temporal variability.
Hatfield Marine Science Center
Fisheries and Wildlife
Hatfield Marine Science Center
2030 SE Marine Science Drive
Newport, OR 97365
United States


  • Documentation and description of a blue whale foraging ground in the South Taranaki Bight, New Zealand
  • Use of albatross telemetry data to generate species distribution models and assess overlap with fisheries
  • Distribution and habitat use patterns of Bryde’s whales in the Hauraki Gulf, New Zealand, relative to vessel traffic
  • Transferability of species distribution models in marine ecosystems across large scales
  • Fine-scale habitat use analyses of the critically endangered Maui’s dolphin
  • Citing and efficacy of humpback whale breeding grounds throughout the Pacific islands in the Oceania region based on habitat use patterns


1997 Bachelor of Arts, cum laude, American University, Washington D.C., USA
2001 Masters of Coastal Environmental Management, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, USA
2007 Ph.D. in Marine Ecology and Environment, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, USA

I accept graduate students for the Fisheries and Wildlife Department


My publications can be found on my research webpage

Fun Fact

Most of the time, I'd rather be playing soccer, or hanging out with my boys.