Ashleigh Pilkerton

Monitoring water quality and understanding factors that are stressors to aquatic life is essential for bridging the gap between science and management decisions. Ashleigh’s research seeks to better inform our understanding of the relationships between sediment and fisheries through synthesizing the current state of knowledge of sediment effects on fisheries, and evaluating metrics and approaches for assessing sediment levels in rivers.  Her other research seeks to tease apart the drivers of harmful cyanobacterial blooms and understand their influence on zooplankton communities in Wyoming’s reservoirs.

Ashleigh received Bachelor of Science degrees in Bioinformatics and Biology from Pacific University, Oregon.  During her undergraduate years, Ashleigh conducted computational chemistry research and taught computer science to 7th and 8th grade girls. Her subsequent experiences in marine and estuarine ecology shaped her current interest in water quality research and the long term implications of anthropogenic disturbances on aquatic ecosystems.  Before joining the Wyoming Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit as a PhD student, Ashleigh conducted field and laboratory research in aquatic ecosystems studying plankton communities and harmful algal blooms, juvenile sea star growth rates, long term trends in estuaries and eelgrass beds, and was actively involved in science communication and education.

During her time at the University of Wyoming, she founded COWGIRLS in STEM (Computational Outreach for Wyoming Girls in STEM) and thrives in opportunities to teach STEM and foundational computer science concepts to K-12 students around the state.


Professional Preparation and Appointments


2014  B.S., Bioinformatics, Pacific University, Forest Grove, OR

2014  B.S., Biology, Pacific University, Forest Grove, OR

2013  Field Program in Marine Ecology, Galapagos Academic Institute for Arts and Sciences, Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Ecuador


Professional Appointments

2018             Laboratory Technician, Sauger and Walleye Genetics, WY Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, WY

2016-2018   School and Youth Programs Educator, Virginia Aquarium, VA

2015-2016   Lab and Monitoring Technician, Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, WA

2014-2015   Citizen Science Assistant and Marine Educator, Port Townsend Marine Science Center, WA

2014             Sylvatic Plague Biological Science Technician, US Fish and Wildlife Service, MT

2014             Marine Biological Technician, R/V Oceanus, Oregon Health and Sciences University, OR

2013-2014    Computational Chemistry Research Assistant, Pacific University, OR

2011-2013    Curriculum Assistant, Girls Gather for Computer Science, Pacific University, OR


Technical Reports

Pilkerton, A., Montague, J., Winner, E., Phillips, S. “Port Townsend Marine Science Center Citizen Science Research Report, Spring 2015” 2015. <>

Selected Presentations

Oral Presentations

Pilkerton, A. (2018). Horseshoe Crabs: A Journey through Time, Brown Bag Lunch Series, Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center, Virginia Beach, VA

Pilkerton, A. (2017). Water Quality and Waste Disposal, Leave No Trace Trainer Course, Suffolk, VA

Montague, J. Pilkerton, A. (2015) Integrating Citizen Science into the Classroom, Sound Waters Conference, Whidbey Island, WA

Pilkerton, A. Johnson, KE. (2014). Computational Modeling of Cytochrome P450 2A6 with Inhibitors for Lead Drug Design, Pacific University Senior Capstone Thesis Presentations, Pacific University, Forest Grove, OR

Pilkerton, A. Johnson, KE. (2014). Enzymatic Tetris – A Cytochrome P450 Docking Study, MJ Murdock Charitable Trust – Murdock College Science Research Conference, Vancouver WA

Pilkerton, A. (2014). Analysis of Hydrophobic Interface Behavior and Influential Factors, Pacific University Undergraduate Summer Research Experience, Forest Grove, OR


Poster Presentations

Pilkerton, A., Mandeville, E., Skorupski, J., Gerrity, P., Rosenthal, W., Walters, A., Wagner, K. (2018) Spatiotemporal Patterns of Hybridization of Walleye and Sauger in the Bighorn and Wind River Sauger Populations, Colorado-Wyoming Chapter of the American Fisheries Society Annual Meeting, Fort Collins, CO

Pilkerton, A. Apple, J., Kohnert, C., Bohlmann, H., Burnett, N.  (2016). Investigating Growth Dynamics of Pacific Northwest Sea Stars, E. troschelii and P. ochraceus, Pacific Estuarine Research Society Meeting, Squamish, British Columbia, Canada.

Pilkerton, A., Johnson, K. (2014) Enzymatic Tetris – A Cytochrome P450 Docking Study, Oregon Academy of Sciences, Eugene, OR