Dana received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology/Animal Behavior from Canisius College in Buffalo, NY in 2007. Her undergraduate research focused on social communication in killer whales at Marineland of Canada. She went on to complete a Master of Research degree in Marine Mammal Science at the University of St Andrews in 2010. Her thesis investigated depth preferences in the acoustic communication of Northern Resident killer whales from the Pacific Northwest. After her Masters, she worked with Cornell University in Ithaca, NY investigating the night-time flight calls of birds.

In 2012, Dana began working with Dr. Susan Parks at Syracuse University in Syracuse, NY. Since then, she has conducted extensive field work each year on the acoustic behavior and activity budgets of North Atlantic right whale mother/calf pairs in three habitats along the eastern coast of the United States. For the past four years, she has also participated in a massive collaborative tagging project on foraging humpback whales on the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary in Massachusetts. While at Syracuse University, Dana also studied the calling songs of local cricket and katydid species.

Dana is beginning her PhD with the CEAL team in July 2016. She will be assisting with fieldwork for a pilot study of humpback whales on their breeding grounds in the Great Barrier Reef, and will be investigating emotional and motivational cues in social sounds produced by competitive groups of humpbacks during their southern migration. 

Selected Publications

Hunsinger, E., Root-Gutteridge, H., Cusano, D.A., Parks, S.E. 2017. A description of defensive hiss types in the flat horned hissing cockroach (Aeluropoda insignis). Bioacoustics, May 2017, 1-11.

Parks, S.E., Cusano, D.A., Bocconcelli, A., Friedlaender, A.S., and Wiley, D.N. 2016. Noise impacts on social sound production by foraging humpback whales. Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics, 27(1):010009.

Cusano, D.A., Matthews, L.P., Grapstein, E. and Parks, S.E. 2016. Effects of increasing temperature on acoustic advertisement in the Tettigoniidae. Journal of Orthoptera Research, 25, 39-47.

McCordic, J.A., Root-Gutteridge, H., Cusano, D.A., Denes, S.L. and Parks, S.E. 2016. Calls of North Atlantic right whales Eubalaena glacialis contain information on individual identity and age class. Endangered Species Research, 30, 157-169.

 Parks, S.E., Cusano, D.A., Stimpert, A.K., Weinrich, M.T., Friedlaender, A.S., and Wiley, D.N. 2014. Evidence for acoustic communication among bottom foraging humpback whales. Scientific Reports, 4, 7508. 


Conference Presentations

Cusano, D.A., Noad, M. J., Dunlop, R.A. (2016). Motivational information within vocalisations of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae). Poster presented at the 3rd  Meeting of the ANZ Student Chapter of the Society for Marine Mammalogy. Adelaide, Australia, 24th-25th November, 2016.

Cusano, D.A., Noad, M. J., Dunlop, R.A. (2016). Motivational information within vocalisations of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae). Poster presented at the 2nd Annual School of Veterinary Science Research Conference. Gatton, Australia, 27th October, 2016.

Cusano, D.A., Conger, L.A., Van Parijs, S.M. and Parks, S.E. (2015). Behavioral ecology and vocalization rates of North Atlantic right whale mother-calf pairs: Conservation and management implications.  Poster presented  at the 21st Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals, Society of Marine Mammalogy Biennial Meeting. San Francisco, California, USA, 13th-18th December, 2015.

Cusano, D.A., Parks, S.E., Conger, L.A. and Van Parijs, S.M. (2014). The role of behavioral ecology and acoustics in the conservation of right whale mother-calf pairs. Poster presented at the 51st Annual Conference of the Animal Behavior Society. Princeton, NJ, USA, 10th-13th August, 2014.

Featured projects Duration
Humpback whale social sounds