Sarah M. Chinn

A picture of a woman with a dog on a sunny day with mountains in the background
Wildlife Biologist

1011 East Tudor Road
Anchorage, AK 99507
United States

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About Sarah M. Chinn

Sarah has worked as a contracting polar bear biologist for the Service since 2021. Prior to joining the Service, Sarah worked in research positions in Japan, Alaska, California, and Hawaii with species including northern fur seals, southern sea otters, and Hawaiian monk seals. Sarah has a PhD in Wildlife Ecology from the University of Georgia and an MS in Biology from Sonoma State University.

Current Projects

  • Assess the distribution and amount of suitable polar bear denning habitat from the recent past and into the future in relation to predicted changes in climate conditions
  • Investigate polar bear movement and behavior while searching for a den site


Professional Affiliations

  • The Society of Integrative and Conservation Biology
  • The Wildlife Society
  • The Society for Marine Mammalogy



Cunningham K, Hinton TG, Luxton JJ, Bordman A, Okuda K, Taylor LE, Hayes J, Gerke HC, Chinn SM, Anderson D, Laudenslager ML, Takase T, Nemoto Y, Ishiniwa H, Beasley JC, Bailey, SM. Evaluation of DNA damage and stress in wildlife chronically exposed to low-dose, low-dose rate radiation from the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant accident. Environment International 155.

Chinn SM, Kilgo JC, Vukovich MA, Beasley JC. Influence of intrinsic and extrinsic attributes on neonate survival in an invasive large mammal. Scientific Reports 11(1).

Yang A, Schlichting PE, Wight B, Anderson W, Chinn SM, Wilber MQ, Miller RS, Beasley JC, Boughton, RK, Vercauteren, KC, Wittemyer, G, Pepin, KM. (2020). Effects of Social Structure and Management on Risk of Disease Establishment in Wild Pigs. Journal of Animal Ecology 90(4).

Wilber MQ, Chinn SM, Beasley JC, Boughton RK, Brook RK, Ditchkoff SM, Fischer JW, Hartley SB, Holmstrom LK, Kilgo JC, Lewis JS, Miller RS, Snow NP, VerCauteren KC, Wisely SM, Webb CT, Pepin KM. (2019). Predicting functional responses in agro-ecosystems from animal movement data to improve management of invasive pests. Ecological Applications 30(1).

Chinn SM, Tinker MT, Monson DM, Staedler MM, & Crocker DE. (2018). Lactation and resource-limitation affect stress responses, thyroid hormones, immune function and antioxidant capacity of sea otters (Enhydra lutris). Ecology & Evolution, 8(16).

Currylow AF, Rafeliarisoa TH, Louis EE, Stanford CB, Randrianjafizanaka ST, Chinn SM, & Crocker DE. (2017), Characterization of seasonal reproductive and stress steroid hormones in Radiated Tortoises, Astrochelys radiata. General & Comparative Endocrinology, 253.

Chinn SM, Miller MA, Tinker MT, Staedler MM, Batac FI, Dodd EM, & Henkel LA. (2016). The high cost of motherhood: End-lactation syndrome in southern sea otters (Enhydra lutris nereis) on the central California Coast, USA. Journal of Wildlife Diseases, 52(2). 

Areas of expertise
Reproductive ecology, behavioral ecology, conservation physiology, eco-immunology, and ecotoxicology of mammals
Animal movement and resource selection