Researcher biography

Jenny began her love affair with whales at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (RSMAS), where she obtained a dual Bachelors of Science in Biology and Marine Science in 2009. She followed this up in 2011 with a Masters of Research in Marine Mammal Science at the Sea Mammal Research Unit (SMRU) within the University of St Andrews, focusing on the cultural transmission of humpback whale foraging strategies seen off the coast of New England. Deciding that cultural transmission was pretty cool, she now studies its fine-scale role in the songs of humpback whales off east Australia and New Caledonia through a PhD with the CEAL team which began in 2013.

Adventures with marine mammals included serving on the University of Miami’s marine mammal stranding team, a marine mammal behaviour project in Belize, and research internships with Ocean Alliance and the Whale Center of New England. She returned to the Whale Center to serve as a naturalist and staff scientist, as well as working marine mammal observation projects in Alaska and Georgia. Returning to the tropics, she participated in the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) Floating Classrooms project, educating local children in Dominica about the local marine life. She has also worked with NOAA’s Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary on IFAW’s Song of the Whale tagging and tracking humpback whales to assess movement and entanglement risk in the Gulf of Maine. 

Selected Publications

Allen, J., Weinrich, M., Hoppitt, W. & Rendell, L. (2013). Network-Based Diffusion Analysis Reveals Cultural Transmission of Lobtail Feeding in Humpback Whales. Science Vol. 340 no. 6131 pp. 485-488 

Conference Presentations

Allen, J., Garland, E.C., Noad, M.J., Dunlop, R.A. (2015). Quantifying the rate of song change in the east Australian humpback whale population. Poster presented at the 21st Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammology, San Francisco, CA, USA, 13th-18th December, 2015.

Allen, J., Weinrich, M., Hoppitt, W. & Rendell, L. (2013). Network-Based Diffusion Analysis Reveals Cultural Transmission of Lobtail Feeding in Humpback Whales. Presentation given at the 20th Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammology, Dunedin, NZ, 9th-13th December, 2013.

Allen, J. (2009). An introduction to the diurnal behavioral patterns of the Gulf of Maine humpback whales. Presentation given at the 2011 Annual Meeting of the UK Regional Student Chapter of the Society for Marine Mammalogy, St. Andrews, UK, 27th-29th January, 2011.