Anita did her undergraduate degree, specializing in Marine Biology, at San Francisco State University, graduating with honours in 2002. During her undergrad, she worked as a research assistant for the San Francisco State University-Harbour Seal Ecology Survey which radio tracked tagged harbour seals in the San Francisco Bay.
After completing her B.Sc., Anita spent 2002-2005 working on various marine mammal research projects. She spent a semester interning at Texas A&M University-Marine Mammal Research Program (MMRP), which led to a research assistant position on the MMRP’s New Zealand Dusky Dolphin Project studying the movement patterns of dusky dolphins. She volunteered during the 2003 HARC field season, which introduced her to bioacoustics research. After HARC, Anita returned to the States where she worked for the New York Aquarium-OLMS Behaviour and Cognition Laboratory assisting in mirror self-recognition and bioacoustics studies with Pacific walruses and Asian elephants. In 2005, Anita worked as a Marine Mammal Observer on the LGL Alaska Research Associates, Inc.-Cook Inlet Beluga Whale Survey conducting shore and boat based observations.
Anita completed her Masters of Art in Conservation Biology at Columbia University in the city of New York in 2007. As part of her research she travelled to Madagascar to collect boat based recordings of humback whale song. Her master’s thesis characterized and compared humpback whale song from Madagascar and Western Australia. Following her masters, from 2007-2010, she worked as an acoustic analyst at Cornell University Lab of Ornithology-Bioacoustic Research Program investigating the impact of anthropogenic noise on baleen whale communication. Anita completed her PhD in April 2015. Her PhD work investigated inter and intrasexual functions of humpback whale song, as well as the environmental effects on song propagation and signal structure.