Senior Research Team

Ann Zoidis

Cetos Director, Principle Investigator Humpback Whale Studies, Research Projects Manager
Ann Zoidis - Project Manager

Ann Zoidis (M.S. Physiology and Behavioral Biology) is the Director and Founder of Cetos Research Organization. Ann has over 20 years experience as a field researcher, wildlife biologist, and marine mammal scientist. Though she started out studying terrestrial species and habitats, Ann has spent most of the last 18 years researching marine mammals. In addition, for the last several years, she has managed numerous large environmental contracts for various federal agencies, and also has directed field research projects for various institutions (including at Cetos). Ann spent much of her childhood in Greece where she had close encounters with diverse marine life (whales, dolphins, sea turtles, octopus, squid, and more), many times just by snorkeling off the beaches. This hands-on exposure to marine wildlife, as well as her time spent with local fisherman watching them set and haul their nets, started her love of the sea, as well as gave her an early education to the destruction that occurs from overfishing, gill nets, long lines, and other abuses of the oceanic environment.

Ann has worked with many organizations and on numerous projects relating to marine mammals and terrestrial wildlife all over the US. In addition to her academic and research pursuits, Ann is an environmental consultant for Tetra Tech. She is also a Research Associate of the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine. As part of this role, Ann served as senior scientist and the Mount Desert Rock Marine Research Station assistant manager for the marine mammal research group Allied Whale for many summers at COA . At Tetra Tech, Ann researches and authors environmental documents (EISs, EIRs, BAs) assessing anthropogenic impacts to wildlife and has recently been involved in numerous federal projects in Hawaii. As a research biologist, she does biological monitoring, surveys, and behavioral research, with much of her work focusing on acoustic research (animal vocalizations) or on the effects of ecosystem disturbance on animal behavior. Ann has conducted numerous species surveys and studies from vessel, shore, and aerial platforms throughout the US, including AK and HI. Ann's latest role is running Cetos, an organization born out of several dynamic and interesting factors but largely fomented by a spirit of collaboration between several long time colleagues, many of whom have all done work in Hawaiian waters for decades. Ann is currently a Federal and State Permit holder for humpback whale research.


Mari Smultea

Senior Scientist, Co- Investigator Humpback Whale Studies, Visual Survey Team Leader, Cetos Scientific Advisory Board
Mari Smultea

Mari Smultea (M.S Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences) has passionately followed her childhood dream to study and help conserve and manage marine mammals and other threatened/endangered species for most of her adult life. She has over 24 years of experience studying marine and terrestrial wildlife, and earned her Master's of Science degree studying habitat use by humpback mothers and calves off the Big Island of Hawaii. She specializes in assessing impacts of human-related activities on marine mammals, including impacts from underwater noise, oil spills, offshore oil and gas development, vessel and aircraft disturbance effects, and disturbances in marine sanctuaries. Mari has logged over 10,000 hours conducting aerial, vessel, and land-based surveys for cetaceans. She has traveled around the world following cetaceans and loves being at sea inhaling fresh salty air! Mari has supported the humpback whale research for many years, and has been a leader in our efforts to get our data published. While in the field, Mari brings her breadth of knowledge of humpback whale behavior and biology to augment our work. Mari is now realizing her other life-long dream by joining her friends in the work of Cetos, a non-profit research, conservation, and education organization dedicated to furthering knowledge of cetaceans and their habitats, and applying these data to real-life management issues. Mari is on the Cetos scientific advisory board and assists with much of the ongoing day to day work of Cetos, including coordinating amongst team members from Cetos Atlantic and Cetos Pacific, being a leader in our efforts to get our data published, enhancing our library of relevant literature, and much more. While in the field, Mari brings her breadth of knowledge of humpback whale behavior and biology to augment our work.

Andy Day

Andy Day

Senior Scientist
Co-Investigator Humpback Whale Studies, Boat Captain, Cetos Scientific Advisory Board

Andy Day (B.S. Fisheries and Wildlife Biology) has been a field biologist and research scientist for over 25 years, throughout the US and internationally. After getting his Bachelors Degree from the University of Georgia in 1984, he began working on field biology projects. He has a broad knowledge of ecosystem ecology, natural history, behavioral biology, disturbance studies, avian studies, fish habitat assessment, endangered species, and marine mammal studies. Andy has many skills including being a certified boat operator, a professional wildlife photographer, an expert diver, and a veteran field biologist. Much of Andy's work has been on seabird or terrestrial bird research. In fact, he currently is a director of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Swallow-tailed Kite Monitoring program which he has assisted with for many years. In addition, Andy has worked on numerous marine mammal projects nationally and worldwide. Andy is on the Cetos scientific advisory board and assists in many of the decisions involving our projects. He has been part of Cetos's research since our inception. His insight and perspective have been instrumental in the development and work of Cetos from the beginning and his technical expertise is invaluable. A short list of his skills that support Cetos include his work as an acoustic tech, his expertise with humpback whale behavior, his knowledge of the local Hawaiian waters, his keen observer and ID skills, boat handling and survey skills, and more, all of which supports and enhances our research.


Tom Norris

Senior Scientist, Principle Investigator Offshore Surveys and Acoustic Research, Cetos Scientific Advisory Board
Tom Norris

Tom Norris (M.S. Marine Sciences) is the director of Bio-Waves, a marine environmental consulting company. He has over 18 years of experience specializing in marine vertebrate ecology and behavioral biology, marine bioacoustics, and most recently, the development of new technologies to study large marine animals.

Tom works with Cetos Research Organization as senior scientist and is a member of the scientific advisory board. His research with Cetos is focused primarily on deep-water acoustic-visual surveys for which he is the lead scientist. Tom also leads our collaborations with NOAA-NWFSC where he provides expertise on the use of passive acoustics in support of Dr. Brad Hanson's killer whale research.

Tom has worked on several applied projects to reduce the impacts of man-made noise on living marine resources. These includes work on the ATOC (now NPAL) marine mammal research program, the marine animal monitoring and mitigation effort for the USS Winston Churchill shock trials, and a marine mammal mitigation program for the R/V Ewing (the geo-seismic research vessel operated by the NSF and Columbia University's Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory). Most recently Mr. Norris has served as the team leader for passive acoustic studies as part of the Mineral Management Service's Sperm Whale Seismic Study (SWSS) in the Gulf of Mexico. He also is working with NOAA's Northwest Fisheries Science Center's marine mammal program, to develop and use passive acoustic methods to survey and track killer whales along the outer coast of the Pacific Northwest.

Tom received his graduate degree from Moss Landing Marine Laboratories in Monterey Bay, CA. He holds a federal research permit to conduct tagging on a variety of federally protected and endangered species of whales. When he isn't at sea, he is usually in the water surfing or thinking about surfing.

Thomas A. Jefferson

Senior Scientist; Project Manager (CA and International Research); Cetos Scientific Advisory Board
Tom A. Jefferson

Tom Jefferson (Ph.D. Wildlife and Fisheries Science) has been studying marine mammals since 1983, when he was an undergraduate at the University of California, Santa Cruz. His Masterís degree is from Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, and his Ph.D. is from Texas A&M University. He is currently a Visiting Scientist as the Southwest Fisheries Science Center, NOAA Fisheries.

Tomís main interests are the development of marine mammal identification aids, and investigating the systematics and population ecology of the more poorly-known species of dolphins and porpoises. Essentially all of his work for the past 16 years has been related to conservation and management of marine mammals threatened by human activities. Since 1995, he has been working extensively in Southeast Asia, and has traveled widely in the region. His current primary research focuses on the conservation biology of Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin and finless porpoise populations in Hong Kong and surrounding waters, as well as the population biology of bottlenose dolphins in California. He is also working on other projects looking at the systematics and ecology of these species throughout their ranges.

In addition, Tom is involved in many side projects, including those on the taxonomy and population ecology of tropical dolphins (Delphinus and Stenella). With co-authors, Marc Webber and Robert Pitman, he just published a comprehensive identification guide to the marine mammals of the world (published by Academic Press in 2008). He has published over 100 scientific papers and books, and has attended many meetings and workshops as an invited expert. He has also spent many months at sea on fishing boats and research vessels in various parts of the world.

Tomís outside interests include mountain biking, hiking, drums and percussion, outdoor photography, and wildlands preservation. He is married and lives in San Diego. A member of the Cetos Scientific Advisory Board, Tom has participated in a number of Cetos research projects.