Mithriel M. McKay
Last update: September 2013

e-mail: mithriel.mackay(at)


About Me

I am a Ph.D. Candidate in the Marine Biology Interdisciplinary Program at Texas A&M University at Galveston. My research interests focus on behavioral ecology of cetaceans and include a broad interest in the ecology of marine habitats supporting megafauna.

In 2010 I conducted a pilot study on seasonal occurrence patterns and social strategies of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) wintering off Puerto Rico. This fringe habitat to the larger aggregation in the breeding grounds off Dominican Republic is the area for my dissertation research where data collection commences each winter. Association patterns (conspecific and interspecies), habitat use, and movement patterns of these great whales are being examined in the context of social strategies with the potential to understand the importance of smaller, sparsely populated habitats. This research area affords opportunity to collect data that risks being masked in large aggregations and is the site for a long term investigation of humpback whales.

My background includes a career as a clinical laboratory scientist, licensed paramedic, and advanced life support instructor. Experience gained in medicine and teaching (behavioral ecology and physiology of humans!) continues to support a unique perspective into the behaviors of marine mammals. I continue to teach adults as the Director of Research and Education at the Marine and Coastal Ecology Research Center based in Texas with a field station in San German, Puerto Rico, USA and participate in marine mammal research projects globally. 

My personal life is enriched by my four children and 5 grandchildren and my haven in the Texas Hill Country.