Christa M. Woodley, Ph.D.

Research Biologist

U.S. Army Engineers Research and Development Center
Published May 21, 2021

Dr. Christa M. Woodley works as a research biologist in the Environmental Laboratory, one of seven laboratories that comprise the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). Over the past 25 years, Christa has led multi-disciplinary, multi-agency research and development studies for civil works and military programs. She currently sits on the Board of Governors for Brandon Road Lock and Dam, a USACE mega-project. Her focus is on the integration of the environment with technology, and she pushes the limits of science to address national issues. Woodley has held the positions of division chief at ERDC’s Construction Engineering Research Laboratory; associate technical director for military engineering; program manager of sensors and threat detection for installations and operational environment and technical lead for bioacoustics and invasive species.

Woodley is a subject matter expert in animal physiology and behavior movement modelling; underwater acoustics; exposure assessments; navigation and hydropower impacts; and technology biocompatibility, development and transition. She has earned accolades for program management and development and project(s) of the year; as a STEM Educator; and by R&D 100. She has developed five technologies, authored over 50 refereed publications, book chapters/books and congressional and Food and Agriculture Organization reports.

Her current research includes the design, testing and evaluation of the underwater Acoustic Deterrent System deployed at USACE Lock No. 19. She leads the effort to engineer and test the underwater signals developed for invasive species deterrence and attraction in ERDC’s Cognitive Ecology and Ecohydraulics Research Facility and Behavioral Engineering Laboratory, as well as in the field in the Illinois and Rio Grande Rivers. Woodley co-leads the development and testing of deterrence and attractant methods for invasive and native species; these methods focus on cavitation, air bubble curtains, carbon dioxide and electricity. She also collaborates on the development of new deflagration materials for underwater construction to reduce impacts on animals.

She graduated with a bachelor’s in biology from Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida. She received a master’s degree in coastal science from the University of Southern Mississippi in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, and earned her Ph.D. in environmental physiology from the University of California, Davis.