Dr. Deborah Giles (she goes by her last name) received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Davis in 2014. Her master's thesis and Ph.D. dissertation both focused on the federally listed southern resident killer whales. Formerly the Research Director at the Center for Whale Research, she currently is a resident scientist and lecturer at the University of Washington's Friday Harbor Labs, where she teaches Marine Mammals of the Salish Sea and Marine Biology.
Since 2009, Giles has been the vessel captain for Dr. Samuel Wasser's project - University of Washington’s Center for Conservation Biology - utilizing a scat detection dog to locate floating killer whale scat to monitor the physiological health of southern resident killer whales.
Starting in 2010, Giles also began work with an ongoing collaborative project between Cascadia Research Collective and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service. This study uses acoustic suction-cup recording tags placed on killer whales to measure noise levels received by these animals.
Giles is the killer whale scientific adviser for the Orca Salmon Alliance, a program advisor for Killer Whale Tales, and is on the Steering Committee for the Salish Sea Ecosystem Advocates (SalishSEA).