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Kate Thibault is the Science Lead for the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON), managing the Science components of the NEON program, providing budget oversight for and technical guidance to the Science Leadership team, the Program Management Office, and the National Science Foundation. Kate joined the NEON program in 2011 as its vertebrate ecologist responsible for the small mammal and breeding bird sampling and data products for the Observatory. Kate served as co-lead for the NEON Terrestrial Observation System - the system that includes >20 standardized protocols to sample a diversity of organisms and biogeochemical measurements at 47 sites throughout the U.S. - from 2015 -2017, and has served as NEON Science Lead since 2017. Kate is a macroecologist and project manager (PMP) by training.
Kate is broadly interested in the processes underlying community assembly, biodiversity, and the temporal and spatial dynamics of vertebrate communities and the application of data science tools to ecological questions to further the field and to foster open, reproducible workflows in science. Kate's skill set includes project management, data analytics, PostgreSQL and MySql database management, and programming in R statistical software. Kate's research has been funded by the National Science Foundation and other federal agencies and has produced papers in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, American Naturalist, and Ecology, among others. Kate earned her Ph.D. in Biology at the University of New Mexico, with her dissertation research focused on the temporal dynamics in the structure and function of the desert rodent community at a long-term study site in AZ. She then moved to Utah State University, where she was a postdoctoral fellow in macroecology. Concomitant with her postdoctoral work, she also served as an adjunct professor at Furman University, teaching a number of field classes based in New Mexico, Costa Rica, and South Africa. Prior to and then alongside her graduate work, she served as a contractor for over ten years for various federal agencies, including the USFS, BLM, and DoD, to design and implement bat studies throughout New Mexico.
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