Laura Echávez (She/Her)


Dr. Matt Johnson

Contact info



Polymorphism of melanin-based pigments in female Barn Owls in winegrape vineyards

About Me

About me: Originally from Caracas, Venezuela, I didn’t have the opportunity to get outdoors much while growing up. It wasn’t until moving to upstate NY for my Bachelor’s degree that I found my love for the natural world and wildlife by exploring the natural spaces around campus and the numerous state parks in the area. After undergrad, I spent a few years working wildlife jobs across the Western US, focusing on work with birds of prey at migration sites and in human-dominated landscapes.

 I came to Humboldt and joined Matt Johnson’s Barn Owl Research Group in 2020, where I study plumage variation in Barn Owls across Napa Valley vineyards. Through my research, I hope to gain a better understanding of how variation in plumage coloration influences the habitat a Barn Owl occupies in such a heterogeneous landscape and how that may have an effect on which prey they are hunting.
Like many of my peers, I enjoy any time in the outdoors and whether I am hiking, rock climbing, or kayaking, my binoculars are always ready for some impromptu birding! I also enjoy playing board games with my husband and we have recently discovered a love for snorkeling (recommendations welcome).

Undergraduate Institution

Cornell University