Committee and Staff Biographies
Dr. Peter L. Tyack (Chair) is a professor of marine mammal biology at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland and a senior scientist emeritus at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. His research interests include social behavior and vocalizations of cetaceans, including vocal learning and mimicry in their natural communication systems and their responses to human noise. Dr. Tyack served on the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Ocean Studies Board from 2008 to 2013 and was a member of three previous National Research Council studies on marine mammals and sound, including the Committee on Describing Biologically Significant Marine Mammal Behavior, the Committee to Review Results of the Acoustic Thermometry of the Ocean Climate’s Marine Mammal Research Program, and the Committee on Low-Frequency Sound and Marine Mammals. He has also served on the Office of Naval Research’s Population Consequences of Disturbance Working Group. Dr. Tyack received his Ph.D. in animal behavior from Rockefeller University.
Dr. Helen Bailey is a research assistant professor at the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. She has published more than 30 journal articles specializing in marine mammals and sea turtles. She has studied habitat use of whales and dolphins, underwater sound levels and environmental impacts of offshore wind turbines on marine mammals, and migration pathways and hot spots of marine predators at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as part of the Census of Marine Life’s Tagging of Pacific Predators project. She joined the University of Maryland in 2010, where her research focuses on studying patterns of habitat use and behavior of marine species and its application to management and conservation. Dr. Bailey received her Ph.D. in biological sciences at the University of Aberdeen.
Dr. Daniel E. Crocker is a professor of biology at Sonoma State University. His research has focused on both the physiology and behavior of marine mammals. He has published widely on the metabolism, endocrinology, and toxicology of pinnipeds as well as their reproductive and foraging ecology. His current research is focused on the endocrine stress responses of marine mammals and how they vary with foraging success, fasting, and life-history stage. He is examining the interaction of stress responses with the reproductive and immune systems to better understand how stress has demographic impacts. The ultimate goal of this research is to better understand how marine mammals respond to climate variability and anthropogenic stressors. Dr. Crocker received a Ph.D. in biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Dr. James E. Estes is a professor of ecology and marine biology at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He is an internationally known expert on marine mammals and a specialist in the critical role of apex predators in the marine environment. He has conducted field research in Alaska, California, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, and Russia and has published more than 150 scientific articles, several books, and monographs, and has served on the editorial boards for a variety of professional societies. He is a Pew Fellow in marine conservation, a fellow of the California Academy of Sciences, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. He received the Western Society of Naturalist’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011 and the American Society of Mammalogists’ C. Hart Merriam Award in 2012. Dr. Estes received his Ph.D. in biology/statistics from the University of Arizona.
Dr. Clinton D. Francis is an assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at California Polytechnic State University. His research spans evolutionary ecology, community ecology, and global change biology, with a focus on avian behavior and ecology. Most of his research seeks to understand how organisms and ecological communities respond to novel environmental conditions created by human activities with an emphasis on how organisms and ecological systems respond directly and indirectly to changes in the acoustical environment. Current work includes (1) revealing links between anthropogenic forces, chronic stress, and fitness; (2) using manipulative field experiments to quantify the costs of anthropogenic noise on reproductive success; and (3) understanding how soundscapes mediate interactions between human and ecological systems. Dr. Francis received his Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Colorado.
Dr. John Harwood is a professor of biology at the University of St. Andrews. He is a former director of the Sea Mammal Research Unit, which advises the U.K. and Scottish governments on the conservation of seals and whales. He was also the director of the Centre for Research into Ecological and Environmental Modeling from 2004 to 2009. Currently, his main interest is in developing methods for assessing and mitigating the effects of anthropogenic disturbance on marine ecosystems. Additional research involves exploring the effects of individual variation and spatial structure on the population dynamics, genetics, and epidemiology of vertebrates, particularly marine mammals. He is currently co-chair of the Office of Naval Research’s Population Consequences of Disturbance Working Group. Dr. Harwood received his Ph.D. in zoology from the University of Western Ontario.
Dr. Lori H. Schwacke is a biostatistician for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science and Chief of the Oceans and Human Health Branch. Recognizing the parallels of studying disease in human populations and in populations of marine protected species, her research focuses on the application of statistical models developed for human medicine to assess the risk of stressors such as environmental contaminants, infectious disease, and natural toxins on marine mammals. Most recently, she has been integrally involved in the assessment of injuries to nearshore dolphin populations in the Gulf of Mexico following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Dr. Schwacke received her Ph.D. in biostatistics, epidemiology, and systems science from the Medical University of South Carolina.
Dr. Len Thomas is an ecological statistician at the University of St. Andrews. He is the director of the Centre for Research into Ecological and Environmental Modeling and a reader in the School of Mathematics and Statistics. He is also part of the U.K. National Centre for Statistical Ecology and the Scottish Oceans Institute. His main research areas focus on the development of methods and software for estimating the size, density, and distribution of wild animal and plant populations, and the use of computer-intensive methods to fit and compare stochastic models of wildlife population dynamics and animal movement. Of relevance to this committee, he has led research projects developing methods for quantifying marine mammal density, distribution, and trends (particularly from passive acoustic data), analyzing cetacean behavioral response studies, and quantifying the population consequences of anthropogenic disturbance. He has also served on the BP-sponsored Working Group on Assessment of Cumulative Effects of Anthropogenic Underwater Sound, as well as the Office of Naval Research’s Population Consequences of Disturbance Working Group. Dr. Thomas received his Ph.D. in forestry from the University of British Columbia.
Dr. Douglas Wartzok is a professor of biology at Florida International University, and the former provost, executive vice-president, and chief operating officer. His research on marine mammals has taken him from the Arctic Ocean to Antarctica to study seals, whales, and walrus. His research focuses on behavioral and physiological ecology of marine mammals; sensory systems involved in under-ice navigation by seals; and psychophysiological studies of captive marine mammals. For the past decade he has been involved in the issue of the effects of naval antisubmarine warfare sonar on marine mammals, in particular beaked whales. He recently served as chairman of the Committee of Scientific Advisors for the U.S. Marine Mammal Commission and is a former editor of Marine Mammal Science. He is a current member of the Ocean Studies Board, served on the Natonal Research Council Committee on Assessing Ambient Noise in the Ocean with Regard to Potential Impacts on Marine Mammals, and chaired the Committee on Determining Biological Significance of Marine Mammal Responses to Ocean Noise. Dr. Wartzok received his Ph.D. in biophysics (neurophysiology) from Johns Hopkins University.
Dr. Kim Waddell is a senior program officer with the Gulf Research Program, after serving 3 years as a study director with the Ocean Studies Board at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in Washington, DC. His recently completed reports include An Ecosystem Services Approach to Assessing the Impacts of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico and Evaluating the Effectiveness of Fish Stock Rebuilding Plans in the United States. Dr. Waddell rejoined the National Academies in 2011 after a 6-year hiatus during which he was a research associate professor at the University of the Virgin Islands and Texas
A&M University working to build marine and environmental research capacity in the Caribbean region. He received his Ph.D. in biological sciences from the University of South Carolina and his B.A. in environmental studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Stacee Karras is an associate program officer with the Ocean Studies Board. She joined the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in 2012 as a fellow and served as a research associate for the Ocean Studies Board between 2013 and 2015, when she took on her current role. She received her B.A. in marine affairs and policy with concentrations in biology and political science from the University of Miami in 2007. The following year she received an M.A. in marine affairs and policy from the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. In 2012, she earned her J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law.
Payton Kulina joined the Ocean Studies Board in June 2013 as a senior program assistant. He graduated from Dickinson College in 2010 receiving a B.A. in policy management. He is currently pursuing an M.S. degree in finance through the Kogod School of Business at American University. Prior to this position, Mr. Kulina worked as a coordinator with BP Alternative Energy, also in Washington, DC.
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