Olivia Sanderfoot, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow

UCLA La Kretz Center for California Conservation Science

Olivia Sanderfoot is a postdoctoral scholar working with Dr. Morgan Tingley to study the impacts of wildfire smoke on birds in California.. As a La Kretz Center Postdoctoral Fellow, Olivia is exploring how wildfire smoke influences bird behavior and shapes species distributions. Additionally, she is partnering with the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County to launch a new community science project in southern California to learn more about how smoke impacts local birds.

Before moving to Los Angeles, Olivia conducted her doctoral research in the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle. Her dissertation explored how wildfire smoke and urban air pollution impacted the detection of birds in Washington state.

Olivia has been interviewed about her research by National Geographic, Discover Magazine, Audubon Magazine, Popular Science, The Seattle Times, The Washington Post, and several local radio and TV stations.

She was born and raised in Madison, Wisconsin, and is a proud alumna of the University of Wisconsin – Madison; she received her B.S. in Biology and Spanish in 2015 and her M.S. in environmental science in 2017. Born and raised in Wisconsin, Olivia is driven by her passion for environmental policy and conservation, her love for birds, and her strong belief in the Wisconsin Idea, the philosophy that a university’s research should be applied to solve problems and improve the health, well-being, and environment of the community it serves.




The 2023 UCLA La Kretz Center Public Lecture

It was an honor to have guest lecturer Dr. Jennifer Norris at the 2023 UCLA La Kretz Center Public Lecture to speak about her work leading California’s 30×30 Initiative and…