Heide D. Island, PhD

UC Box 
Carnegie Hall 305 (Forest Grove) Research Lab: Comparative Research and Behavior (CRAB), Carnegie 304
Areas I Teach 
Professor Heide D. Island (Ph.D., Experimental Psychology, The University of Montana, Biological Psychology; M.A., Experimental Psychology, The University of Montana, Comparative Animal Behavior; B.A., Social Science, University of Alaska; B.S., Zoology, Washington State University) is a comparative biological psychologist. Dr. Island’s research interests are broadly comparative, with a specialization in risk-sensitivity, foraging behavior, and captive animal wellness. Her field training occurred in Glacier Bay, Alaska, where she contributed to focal observations and pupping estimates of harbor seals. She worked for Pacific Whale Foundation in Maui, Hawai’i, contributing to environmental education in marine eco-tourism programs. Currently, Dr. Island is a Senior Research Associate at the Oregon Zoo and supervises students in naturalistic rehabilitated and captive behavior among sea and river otters.  Her field work involves marine and lacustrine foraging behavior among North American river otters (NARO) on Whidbey Island. This 5-year project (began in 2018) investigates resource choice relative to a variety of variables like season, tidal current, and time of day on foraging patch choice.  She is also collecting diet and prey preference, regional density, individual ranges using DNA microsatellites from latrine samples, and organopollutant exposure from scat and salvaged carcases. This work includes both student investigators as well as local citizen scientists in data collection.  The outcomes from this project will provide important information about how environmental pressures influence resource exploitation among adaptive, indicator species. Dr. Island’s important work has gained media coverage across the Puget Sound region.
Seattle WeeklyAugust 21, 2019. Julia-Grace Sanders. What can otters tell us about watershed pollution?
- Front Page of The Everett Herald, August 20, 2019. Julia-Grace Sanders.  What can otters tell us about watershed pollution?
- Newberry, R. (July 31, 2019). A Professor’s Passion, Studying Otter Behavior. Whidbey Camano Land Trust, e-Newsletter. 
- Newberry, R. (July 31, 2019). A Professor’s Passion, Studying Otter Behavior along Land Trust’s Crockett Lake. Whidbey Camano Land Trust, Blog.
- Guido, L. (July 6, 2019). Professor to discuss study of island’s elusive river otters. Whidbey News Times.
- Guido, L.(July 6, 2019). Professor to discuss study of island’s elusive river ottersSouth Whidbey Record.
- Egan D. (May, 2019). Local scientist, Dr. Heide Island researches residential River Otters – How you can become a citizen scientist and support your neighborhood wildlife. Admirals Cove Times, Coupeville, Washington.   

Primarily Scholarly Interests

  1. Behavioral ecology, especially related to optimal foraging and choice theory.
  2. Animal welfare, principally as it pertains to animal rehabilitation, conservation, and captivity wellness.
  3. Comparative psychology of anxiety, depression, and boredom as its expressed among human and nonhuman animals.


Ph.D. Comparative Animal Behavioral and Behavioral Neuroscience, Department of Psychology, University of Montana, May 2003
Emphasis: Statistics
Emphasis: Neuropsychology

M.A. Experimental Psychology, Comparative Behavioral Neuroscience, Department of Psychology, University of Montana, June 2002

B.A. Psychology/Sociology, Department of Social Sciences, University of Alaska, Juneau, AK, Dec. 2000 (Completed: 1999)

B.S. Zoology, Department of Zoology, Washington State University, Pullman, WA, May 1996


PSY 150 | Introductory Psychology
PSY 224/225 | Comparative Animal Behavior
PSY 252 | Introduction to Behavioral and Clinical Neuroscience with Lab
PSY 352 | Introduction to Sensation and Perception with Lab
PSY 452 | Behavioral and Clinical Endocrinology with Lab
PSY 420 | Special Topics: Psychopharmacology
PSY 300/301 | Research Methods and Statistics
PSY 382 | Advanced Topics in Biological Psychology
PSY 482 | Senior Capstone Thesis – Biological Psychology 

Selected Peer-Reviewed Publications (^denotes undergraduate co-author)

Island, H.D. (In Prep. Anticipated, January 2020). North American River Otters (Lontra canadensis) seasonal foraging preferences across lacustrine and marine territories on Whidbey Island, WA. Aquatic Mammals
Island, H.D., ^Win, E., ^Smith, B., ^Slyngstad, R., ^Strack, S.  (In Review). Parenting Phase and Abnormal Repetitive Behavior Among Two Captive, North American River Otters (Lontra canadenesis).

^Migrants, T., ^Kiyokawa, J. M., & Island, H. D. (2019) The Relationship Between Attention, Dyslexia, and Convergence Insufficiency. International Journal of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities, 11(1). DOI: https://doi.org/10.7710/2168-0620.1114

Island, H.D. (2018). "Netiquette." In Warf, B. (Ed). Encyclopedia of the Internet. Sage Publication. Thousand Oaks, CA. Pp. 674-675.

Island, H.D., *Claussenius-Kalman, H. and *Wengeler, J. (2017). First documented flehmen response from a captive Southern Sea Otter (Enhydra lutris nereis), Zoo Biology, 999, 1-10. 

Island, H.D. (2016). "OMG! You said what in class?! Student and professor perceptions of professional etiquette. Universal Journal of Educational Research, 4(10), 2477-2482

Fisher, H.E., Island H.D., Marchalik, D., and Brown, L. (2015). Four broad temperament dimensions: description, convergent validation correlations, and comparison with the Big Five. Frontiers of Psychology, 6 (1098), 1-18.

Fisher, H.E., Rich, J., Island, H.D., Marchalik, D. (2010). The second to fourth digit ratio: A measure of two hormonally based temperament dimensions. Personality and Individual Differences, 49 (7), 773-777.

Island, H.D. (2010). Game Theory in Psychology. IN An Encyclopedia of Research Methods in Psychology. Neil Salkind, Sage Publication.

Fisher, H.E., Island, H.D., Marchalik, D. & Rich, J. (Oct. 2008). Temperament as a Mechanism for Mate Choice: A hypothesis and pilot study. IN Evolutionary Family Psychology. Todd Shackelford and Catherine Salmon, Eds. Oxford University Press. Pp. 275-312.

Island, H.D., Szalda-Petree, A.P., (2007) Sex differences in risk-sensitivity under differing point budgets and predictors of choice. Journal of General Psychology, 134, (4), 435-452.

Szalda-Petree, A.D., Craft, B.B., Martin, L.M., & Deditius-Island, H.K. (2004). Self-control in rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta): Controlling for differential stimulus exposure. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 98, 141-146.

Island, H.D. & Caruso, J.C. (2002). Reliability Generalization of Zuckerman's Sensation-Seeking Scale Form V., Educational and Psychological Measurement, 62(4), 728-734.

Grants and Awards

2018   Nichols Award AY 2018-2019
           Teaching Grant: Establishment a field research protocol for Student investigators on Whidbey Island, Washington.
           Pacific University, Forest Grove, OR
2017   Faculty Development Grant
           Field Research: Marine Foraging North American River Otters in the Salish Sea. 
           Pacific University, Forest Grove, OR
2017   President's Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching
           Pacific University, Forest Grove, Oregon
2015   Pacific PRISM Summer Research Grant
           A Behavioral Ethogram of Two Captive Southern sea otters (Enhyra lutris neresis) and the Introduction of a New Pup at the Oregon Zoo.
           Pacific University, Forest Grove, Oregon
2015   Elise Elliot Award
           Behavioral Observation of Captive Southern Sea Otters
           This endowment supported a behavioral ethogram piloted during the 2014-2015 academic year. 
           Pacific University, Forest Grove, Oregon
2013   Hawthorne Fellowship, The Attic Institute
           Fellows met twice a month for 5 months to share work and to refine individual creative nonfiction works for publication.
           Pacific University, Forest Grove, Oregon
2009   Pacific University Junior Faculty Award
           In recognition of outstanding early career activity as a teacher and mentor and for significant contributions to the Academy.
           Pacific University, Forest Grove, Oregon
2007   Faculty Research Grant
           Pacific University, Forest Grove, Oregon
2007   Elise Elliot Grant, Mind and Evolution Lecture Series
           Pacific University, Forest Grove, Oregon
2006   Chemistry.com Research Endowment
           Development of Fisher Temperament Scale
           Now used commercially on Chemistry.com


Learn more at heideisland.com.