Arianna Torello | Ph.D. Student

Ocean Sciences UC Santa Cruz


  • B.Sc. in Environmental Science with a concentration in ecology and natural resources and a minor in Marine Science, UNC-Chapel Hill, 2016-2020
  • Ph.D. Student, Ocean Sciences, UC Santa Cruz, 2021-Current
I am keenly fascinated by global change ecology and the many relationships that exist within and throughout marine ecosystems. I am highly interested in applying biotelemetry and bioacoustic sampling techniques to monitor various marine mammal target species in correlation to their prey and other environmental inputs, with a goal of then linking those findings to improve conservation and management efforts. Using multidisciplinary data from a collaborative NSF Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) project based in the Western Antarctic Peninsula at Palmer Station, I am interested in developing a time series to understand the phenology of when different species are in the region and how this relates on an inter-annual basis to ice conditions and other environmental factors.


Beyond my immediate goal of completing my doctoral degree, my overarching goal as a scientist and human being is to further my education in a way that provides me with the tools to effectively share my knowledge and fervor for marine mammal ecology to a broader audience. I am passionate about learning, and congruently passionate about sharing what I learn and creating opportunities for others to become involved in and excited about conservation research – particularly those from communities that have been historically excluded in the STEM fields, including students of color, women, and students who identify as part of the LGBTQIA+ community. As a queer, non-binary person, I feel a strong sense of urgency to solidify space in academia that recognizes, respects, and truly celebrates our individualities and uniqueness in a community-driven setting. I am committed to utilizing my own privileges in life and academia to afford minoritized students the pathway into STEM they have always deserved and had a right to but have not always had access or been justly supported.


2021, University of California, Santa Cruz Regents Fellowship



  • Research technician - Diving characteristics and energetics of herring-feeding killer whales (Orcinus orca) in northern Norway. Collaborative research effort by University of Saint Andrews, Norwegian Orca Survey, Stanford University, and University of California Santa Cruz, 2021.
  • Field/research technician - Año Nuevo Northern Elephant Seal colony breeding and pupping research effort. Collaborative research effort by the Año Nuevo Natural Reserve and the University of California Santa Cruz, 2020-2021.
  • Research technician - Differences in presence, abundance, and behavior of opportunistic associates in relation to humpback feeding strategies across various sites. Contracted project with University of California Santa Cruz., 2020-2021.
  • Research intern - Sarasota Dolphin Research Program (in conjunction with Chicago Zoological Society, located at Mote Marine Laboratory), 2019.
  • Researcher - Are Kentucky BMPs protecting streams from the long-term effects of timber harvesting? Semester-long capstone project with University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in partnership with University of Kentucky, 2019.
  • Research intern and teaching assistant - Galápagos Science Center, 2018.
  • Field technician - The movement of plastics through marine ecosystems and how it influences bioavailability and uptake into marine biota. Collaborative research effort by Galápagos Science Center, Galápagos Conservation Trust, and University of Exeter, 2018.
  • Researcher - Spatial and behavioral analysis of sea turtles in the Galápagos Islands. Tortuga Negra Project. Galápagos Science Center in partnership with University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2018.
  • Researcher - A comparison of fish functional group assemblages across dive sites north of Santa Cruz, Galápagos, Ecuador. 4-week independent research project with la Universidad San Francisco de Quito, 2018.
  • Researcher - Dramatic contrasts in age distributions of Grapsus grapsus at varying sites of human
    impact suggest unregulated harvesting. 4-week independent research project with la Universidad San Francisco de Quito, 2018.
  • Researcher - Analysis of fluctuations in population size and demographic of Zalophus wollebaeki. 4-week independent research project with la Universidad San Francisco de Quito, 2018.
  • Researcher - Decrease in weight, length, and abundance of whelk species in relation to sites of high human impact along the Ecuadorian Coast. 4-week independent research project with la Universidad San Francisco de Quito, 2018.
  • Field research and laboratory techniques - Cetacean and sea turtle photo-ID, biopsy sampling, tagging, focal follows, synoptic surveying, satellite and radio tracking, cetacean necropsies, playback experiments, gill net catch and release, seine nets, above- and below-water still photography and video surveys, manta tows, plankton drags, Van Veen sediment grabbing, quadrat and transect surveying, YSI water-sensing instrument. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2016-2020.



University of California, Santa Cruz
Ocean Sciences Department
1156 High Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95064