Hollister Field Office
Mike Westphal, Ecologist, joined the Hollister field office in October 2008. He has a Ph.D. in Zoology from Oregon State University, where he studied the genetics of garter snake color patterns. Prior to his graduate work, he was an active biologist on the central California coast for over two decades, holding positions with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the California Department of Parks and Recreation. He taught introductory biology at Linn-Benton College in Oregon and evolutionary biology at Oregon State University. He got his start in biology as an amateur herpetologist while growing up in Los Gatos, California.
Mike’s most memorable experiences include crisscrossing the Western states collecting terrestrial garter snakes; searching for melanistic garter snakes on Wizard Island in Crater Lake and in the snake dens of Manitoba; catching coral snakes and raising roadrunners in southeast Arizona; hunting for spotted frogs in the mountains of Nevada; exploring California’s Great Valley in search of California tiger salamanders; hunting for woodland salamanders in Appalachia; catching collared lizards in Kansas; and driving the backroads of central California on rainy nights to look for California red-legged frogs, western spadefoot toads, and Santa Cruz long-toed salamanders.
Following his graduate studies he was a postdoctoral fellow in the Ecological Genomics Institute at Kansas State University where he