McTigue specializes in habitat restoration and benthic ecology. Her two primary areas of work currently are mesophotic and deep benthic communities work related to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and harmful algal bloom forecasting, primarily in the Gulf of Maine.
McTigue has a BS in Zoology from the University of Maryland, an MS in Marine Science from the University of South Carolina, and a Ph.D. from Texas A&M University in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences. She joined NOAA NMFS while a graduate student at Texas A&M. She studied salt marsh trophic ecology in and around Galveston Bay and the feeding habits of penaeid shrimp. Upon graduation, McTigue opened an office for NOAA NMFS in Lafayette LA where she on the restoration of coastal habitats ranging from freshwater wetlands to barrier islands. She managed restoration projects that covered over 20,000 acres in south Louisiana and helped to design monitoring plans for projects across the coast of that state. In 1999, she moved to Maryland and took a position with the Office of Response and Restoration, working on restoration issues nation wide. She then moved to the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science in 2002, where she's served in several roles since including co-authoring a two volume guide to the monitoring of coastal restoration projects.
McTigue currently is involved with the restoration of mesophotic and deep benthic communities in the Gulf of Mexico that were impacted by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Additionally, she works in field sampling in support of the forecasting of harmful algal blooms in the Gulf of Maine.