Ph.D., Montana State University, Biological Sciences, 2020

M.S., Coastal Carolina University, Coastal, Marine, and Wetland Studies, 2012

B.S., University of Illinois, Integrated Biology, 2010

Research Areas

  • Quantitative population biology
  • Wildlife conservation ecology
  • Life-history evolution
  • Marine Science
  • Biological education

Honors and Awards

  • Montana State University Ph.D. Dissertation Completion Award, 2019
  • National Science Foundation GK-12 Fellowship, 2011

Sponsoring Faculty

Beth Gardner

Current Sponsored Projects

Modeling the distribution and abundance of marine birds and mammals in the Salish Sea

Selected Publications

Brusa, J. L., J. J. Rotella, R. A. Garrott, J. T. Paterson, and W. A. Link. 2019. Variation of annual apparent survival and detection rates with age, year, and individual identity in male Weddell seals (Leptonychotes weddellii) from long-term mark-recapture data. Population Ecology 62:  134-150.

Brusa, J. L. An experiential learning lesson to encourage teamwork and healthy practices. Journal of Microbiology and Biology Education 20(2):  20.2.30

Brusa, J. L., R. F. Young, and T. Swanson. 2016. Abundance, ranging patterns, and social structure of estuarine bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncates) in an estuarine terminus. Aquatic Mammals 42:  109-121.

Peterson, R. N., J. A. Breier, L. R. Harmon, J. Brusa, and P. R. Hutchins. 2013. Development of a sparging chamber for field radon analysis. Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry 298:  1347-1357.


I became interested in conservation at a young age through outreach opportunities involving Florida manatees. Since that time, I have centered my life around conservation and learning about interactions between wildlife and their environments as well as how humans impact ecosystems.  These interests led me down a career path of population and evolutionary ecology research. In addition to my scientific pursuits, I am also a professional athlete who competes in obstacle course racing and trail racing, and I coach cross country and track and field.

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