Zeka Elaine Kuspa
University of California, Santa Cruz September 2012-Present
Ph.D. Candidate, GPA 4.0/4.0
Department of Microbiology and Environmental Toxicology
University of California, Davis August 2005 – June 2009
Bachelor of Science degree, GPA 3.64/4.0
Major in Environmental Biology and Management
Emphasis in Environmental Biology
EAP Tropical Ecology & Conservation Program Spring, 2008
Monteverde Institute, Costa Rica
University of California, Santa Cruz Fall, 2004
Completed ETOX 80E: Aquatic Toxicology
UCSC High School Honors Exchange Program
SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND/QUALIFICATIONS
- 4 years analytical toxicology lab experience
- 7 years collecting data in field settings/wild bird handling
- 5 years working in/with an endangered species recovery program
- 2 academic quarters teaching experience
Raptor Biology, Sub-lethal Effects of Contaminants, Endangered Species Management, Impacts of Lead in the Environment, Glucocorticoid Stress Response
Finkelstein, M. E.; Kuspa, Z. E.; Welch, A.; Eng, C.; Clark, M.; Burnett, J.; Smith, D. R. Linking cases of illegal shootings of the endangered California condor using stable lead isotope analysis. Environ. Res. 2014, 134C, 270–279.
Flegal, A.R., C. Gallon, S. Hibdon, Z.E. Kuspa, and L.F. Laporte, Declining but Persistent Atmospheric Contamination in Central California from the Resuspension of Historic Leaded Gasoline Emissions As Recorded in the Lace Lichen (Ramalina menziesii Taylor) from 1892 to 2006. Environmental Science and Technology 44: 5613-5618.
Kuspa, Z.E., C. Tubbs, D.R. Smith, M.E. Finkelstein. Looking beyond mortalities: Lead exposure and stress in the California condor (Gymnogyps californianus). Raptor Research Foundation Annual Meeting, November 6, 2015, Oral Presentation.
Kuspa, Z.E., D.R. Smith, M.E. Finkelstein. Update: California Condor Stress Hormone Measurements. Condor Recovery Program Annual Field Team Meeting, September 30, 2015, Oral Presentation.
Kuspa, Z. E., Smith, D. R., Finkelstein, M. E., Hormonal stress response of the chronically lead-exposed California condor (Gymnogyps californianus). NorCal SETAC Annual Meeting, April 30, 2015, Oral Presentation.
Kuspa, Z. E., Smith, D. R., Finkelstein, M. E., Stress and the chronically lead-exposed California condor (Gymnogyps californianus)., UC Santa Cruz Graduate Student Symposium, April 24, 2015, Oral Presentation.
Kuspa, Z. E., Finkelstein, M. E., Eng, C., Wolstenholme, R., Goodnight, A., Smith, D. R. Hormonal stress response of the chronically lead-exposed California condor (Gymnogyps californianus). AOU/COS/SCO Joint Annual Meeting, September 25, 2014, Poster Presentation.
Kuspa, Z.E. ,M.E. Finkelstein, C. En, A. Goodnight, R. Wolstenholme, D.R. Smith, Using fecal samples to characterize the stress response of the chronically lead-exposed California condor (Gymnogyps californianus). NorCal SETAC Annual Meeting, May 7, 2014, Poster Presentation.
Kuspa, Z.E., Stress hormones in condors as a sub-lethal marker of lead exposure. California Condor Recovery Program Annual Field Team Meeting, November 6, 2013, Oral Presentation
Kuspa, Z.E., M.F. Finkelstein, A. Welch, M. Clark, J. Burnett, D.R. Smith. May 2012. Investigating a wildlife shooting event with lead isotopic analysis. Society for Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, Northern California Chapter Annual Meeting, Sacramento.
Kuspa, Z. E. June 2008. Characteristics and variation of black-faced solitaire (Myadestes melanops) songs in the Monteverde region. Monteverde Institute Undergraduate Research Symposium, Monteverde, Costa Rica
Graduate Researcher, UC Santa Cruz, Ca
Generated tables and written content for a manuscript on an illegal shooting incident involving California condors. Analyzed condor plasma samples for antimony and lead concentrations. Delivered oral presentations in departmental seminars and scientific meetings. Designed thesis research on endocrine system function in lead poisoned birds. Built a new sampling tool for collecting feces non-invasively. Measured hormone concentrations in tissue extracts using immunoassays and liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry. Used geographic information system modelling to predict and map lead exposure risk within the California condor range.
Lab Assistant IV, UC Santa Cruz, Ca
June 2012-September 2012
Conducted trace metal digests of condor feathers and blood for lead isotope analyses by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. Collected and transported blood and feather samples. Prepared plasma and red blood cell aliquots. Analyzed fragments from ungulate carcasses for metal content.
Condor Crew Intern, Pinnacles National Monument, Paicines, Ca
Monitored the Central California flock as part of the California Condor Reintroduction Program. Trapped and handled wild condors for chelation treatment and health checks. Tested blood lead concentration in the field using LeadCare I and II kits©. Input observational data into MS Access.
Condor Crew Intern, Ventana Wildlife Society, Big Sur, Ca
August 2011-April 2012
Monitored the Central California flock as part of the California Condor Reintroduction Program. Tracked condor movements and collected data using radiotelemetry and gps units. Conducted behavioral observations of captive condors. Trapped and handled wild condors for blood work. Placed stillborn calves on ridge tops as supplemental food source.
Back-Country Bird Survey Intern, Institute for Bird Populations, Sequoia and Kings Canyon, Ca
April 2011-August 2011
Established transects in remote locations for first year of bird monitoring program. Conducted point counts of breeding birds using sight and sound identification skills. Recorded habitat type according to California’s Wildlife Habitat Relationships (WHR) protocol. Used maps, compass, and GPS unit to orienteer and collect spatial data. Entered tabular data into MS Access database.
Research Intern, Golden Gate Raptor Observatory, Marin Headlands, Ca
June 2009-December 2009
Conducted organized counts of migrating raptors. Banded and released wild hawks after taking on-site measurements and feather samples. Tracked juvenile red-tailed hawks using radio-telemetry. Cared for lure bird colony. Interacted with volunteers and members of the public through formal presentations and in small group settings. Entered and analyzed data using dBase and Excel.
Wood Duck and Mallard Research Intern, Wildlife & Fish Conservation Biology Department, UC Davis
March 2009-June 2009
Monitored use of Wood Duck nest boxes and Mallard tubes in the Central Valley. Took morphometric measurements of nesting females and eggs. Used handheld GPS device to record location of nests.
Bird Ecology Research Intern, Plant Sciences Department, UC Davis
September 2008-March 2009
Trained to identify birds of the Central Valley by sight and sound. Performed multi-species point counts and field observations on the feeding behavior of wild birds. Recorded accurate data on site. Conducted food preference experiments on captive hermit thrushes.Worked independently without supervision.
Student Assistant II, Pomology Department, UC Davis
October 2008-June 2009
Cared for almond trees, peach trees, strawberry plants, and roses in greenhouses. Recorded data on individual plant growth patterns and disease susceptibility. Took part in the almond harvest and selective pollination of mature peach trees.
Student, EAP Study Abroad Program, Monteverde, Costa Rica
March 2008-June 2008
Learned field methods and participated in small group research projects. Conducted independent research on the characteristics and variation of black-faced solitaire (Myadestes melanops) songs in the Monteverde region. Wrote a formal scientific paper and presented findings to the public in a research symposium.
Lab Assistant IV, ETOX Department, UC Santa Cruz
June-September 2006, 2007
Participated in boat-side water sampling and sample analysis in the San Francisco Bay. Trained new interns. Collected lichen samples. Conducted lead digests. Ran mass spectrometer to discover isotopic ratios of digested samples. Used trace metal clean lab techniques.
Scientist, Thompson S. Thompson Research Vessel, Gulf of Alaska
Participated in boat-side water sampling and on-board chlorophyll analysis in the Gulf of Alaska. Cooperated and collaborated with multiple scientists on six week ocean voyage.
TEACHING AND COMMUNICATION
Condor Biology Consultant/Guest Bogger/Social Media Technician, CondorWatch Program, Zooniverse, http://www.condorwatch.org/
Participant, Communicating Sustainability Science and Policy Intensive, UC Santa Cruz
Reader/Scientific Writing Coach and Guest Lecturer, METX 101: Sources and Fates of Toxic Pollutants, UC Santa Cruz
April 2015-June 2015
Interview Guest, “Science Sort Of” Podcast, http://www.sciencesortof.com/2014/08/episode-203-condor-or-condont/
Guest Lecturer, Conservation Biology, UC Sana Cruz
Student Science Teacher, Westlake School 2nd Grade, UC Santa Cruz Communicating Science Grad Course
September 2014-December 2014
OTHER RELEVANT EXPERIENCE
Graduate Student Liason, Microbiology and Environmental Toxicology Department, UC Santa Cruz
Student Board Member/Member Communications Technician, Society for Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry NorCal Chapter
Officer and Naturalist Group Organizer, Women in Science and Engineering, UC Santa Cruz Chapter
Participant, Bird Haven College Student Waterfowl Hunter’s Camp, UC Davis
Raptor Biologist and Volunteer Supervisor, Santa Cruz Predatory Bird Research Group, UC Santa Cruz
Volunteer, Pinnacles Condor Project, Pinnacles National Monument, Ca
April 2010-December 2010
Volunteer, Golden Gate Raptor Observatory, Marin Headlands, Ca
TECHNICAL SKILLS AND CERTIFICATIONS
Radio-telemetry, GPS, behavioral observations of wild/captive animals, identification of wild birds by sight and sound, trapping and banding wild birds, taking morphometric measurements of wild birds, transect surveys of plants and animals, in situ water sampling, operating a 4-wheel drive vehicle, orienteering, collecting samples for trace metal clean analyses.
Trace metal clean lab technique, preparing analytical standards, weighing samples, operating a flourometer, operating a mass spectrometer, steroid hormone extraction from biological materials, quantifying hormones by liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry, conducting acid digests to isolate heavy metals, enzyme-linked immunoassay, radioimmunoassay, basic skills for gross necropsy of raptor species.
Grant writing, scientific writing, PowerPoint presentations, social media, inter-organization collaborations
Microsoft Office Applications (Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint), SigmaPlot, ArcMAP (ESRI), JMP
Lab Safety: General Lab Safety and Animal Use, UC Santa Cruz
Wilderness First Aid Certification, Outdoor Adventures of UC Davis
Licensed Hunter in California, California Waterfowl Association
HONORS AND AWARDS
Graduate Student Fellow, National Science Foundation, 2012- Present
Travel Grant, NorCal SETAC Annual Meeting, 2015
Association of Zoos and Aquariums Conservation Endowment Fund Grant, 2014
2nd Place Student Poster Presentation, NorCal SETAC Annual Meeting, 2014
Western National Parks Association Grant for research at Pinnacles, NP, 2013
Travel Grant, Graduate Student Association, UC Santa Cruz, 2013
2nd Place Student Platform Presentation, NorCal SETAC Annual Meeting, 2013
NorCal SETAC Graduate Student Research Scholarship, 2013
UC Regents Scholarship, 2012-2013
Recipient of a Departmental Citation in Environmental Biology and Management, UC Davis
Completed Integrated Studies Honors Program, UC Davis, 2005-2006
Dean’s List, UC Davis, Fall 2005, Winter 2006
Academic Achievement Scholarship, UC Davis, 2005-2006