Dr. Mairin Balisi
Dr. Balisi has worked with fossils from Rancho La Brea for over a decade: as an undergraduate at UC Berkeley, studying locomotion; as a Master's student at the University of Michigan, testing resource partitioning among large Pleistocene carnivores; as a PhD candidate at the University of California, Los Angeles, quantifying injuries sustained by the saber-toothed cat and dire wolf; and in 2018, as manager of the Tar Pits Field School. Now, she is funded by the National Science Foundation and co-sponsored by UC Merced to conduct postdoctoral research on small to medium-sized carnivores (mesocarnivores). The carnivorous megafauna had become extinct by the end of the last Ice Age, but mesocarnivores (like coyotes and bobcats) remain with us to this day. She is investigating how the dual disturbances of megafaunal extinction and climate transition shaped the mesocarnivore community over the past 40,000 years and by extension, our Los Angeles community today.