Jenna L.


After chasing monkeys around Amazonian rainforest, Jenna received her Ph.D. from the department of Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology at Columbia University. Her research focused on the reproductive strategies and behavioral ecology of titi monkeys, and although she delighted in their duets — and in males being the primary caregivers — the true highlight of her fieldwork was watching dung beetles roll away her poo.  She had previously honed her bird-chasing skills for her honors thesis at Boston University, where she majored in biology and minored in psychology (summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa).  Attempting to link forest size with reproductive success, she searched countless hours for ovenbird nests by following the 'chip' alarm calls of female birds — that all too often were instead coming from chipmunks. (She no longer finds them cute.)

She is currently faculty at Columbia University, where she has taught undergraduate, graduate, and executive-education courses for the department of Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology; the Earth Institute Center for Environmental Sustainability; the M.S. Program in Sustainability Management; and the department of Environmental Science at Barnard College. She enjoys the challenge of communicating complex scientific concepts to students of diverse educational backgrounds and learning styles, and she is one of only two faculty in her department to be awarded the coveted “gold nugget” from the student-run evaluation website. She has also taught for the City University of New York and the American Museum of Natural History, and she once spent three and a half months circumnavigating the globe as the biology professor for Semester at Sea.

She is a proud product of Boston, which means she loves everything about New York except the sports teams. 

Education & Qualifications
  • Columbia University, Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

  • New York Consortium in Evolutionary Primatology, M.Phil.; M.A., Advanced Certificate in Environmental Policy

  • Boston University, B.A. in Biology, Minor in Psychology

  • Biology
  • Environmental Studies