Staff Scientists

Maren Anderson

Staff Scientist

Maren Anderson

Maren Anderson began her love of Marine Science in high school when she was certified to SCUBA dive in Belize. Since then, her passion has continued in her studies and her work. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree from University of Colorado at Boulder, in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology with a focus in Tropical Marine Ecology in 2007. During her studies, she performed health assessments of coral reefs in the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and Pacific Oceans. Upon graduation, she worked with coral and marine ecosystem conservation at Disney World's Living Seas exhibit as an aquarist, diver and marine mammal research assistant. She assisted in cognitive research of Atlantic bottlenose dolphin as well as the rehabilitation of West Indian manatees. Maren joined Cetos Research in 2012 as a research assistant for the Humpback Behavior Project focusing on the interactions between mother and calf pairs. Maren has participated in vessel- and land-based visual and acoustic towed array surveys, assessing the abundance, density and distribution of marine mammals. These included locations such as Hawaii, the Mariana Islands, and the California coast, where she has studied pilot whales, spinner and bottlenose dolphins, Risso's dolphins, beaked whales, harbor porpoise, California sea lions and harbor seals. She has served as visual observer and assistant acoustics team member on these surveys. On land, Maren serves as a research assistant and consultant for various government agencies in managing marine resources, specifically in marine mammals and coral. She also works as a high school teacher in San Francisco, teaching Genetics, Evolution, and Marine Biology; as well as leading experiential education programs for students around the world.

Mariann Carrasco

Staff Scientist

Mariann Brown

Mariann Carrasco is one of the scientists based in our Cetos Pacific Office in Washington. She has 28 years of experience in the fields of resource and wildlife management, and also in wetlands assessment. She has a bachelor's in wildlife management and has performed post-graduate work in dolphin communication. She specializes in wildlife management as it relates to human-produced impacts and adds that skill set to Cetos' goal of assessing disturbance to marine wildlife. Mariann's additional technical specialties include natural resource management, environmental planning, and wildlife-related database management. Lately Mariann has been following her lifelong dream of working with marine mammals, ever since her graduate days in the 1980s with dolphins. She started the Whatcom County, WA Marine Mammal Standing Network in Coordination with National Marine Fisheries Service, and is doing rehab work with a variety of animals including marine mammals. She also has been conducting informal surveys of marine mammals around the San Juan Islands off her boat with her husband and leading wildlife tours of the area. She hopes to become more involved in marine mammal research as time goes on. Mariann's skills in conducting and supervising field surveys, producing and assessing data, compiling reports, and her recent work with marine mammal strandings all support Cetos in our ongoing efforts to study marine wildlife and contribute to the conservation of species.

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Mandy Chomos

Staff Scientist

Mandy Chomos

I began working with Cetos in January of 2009, and have had the privilege to participate in the humpback whale field projects the last two seasons in Maui. During field projects I work mainly as a data collector recording top-side cow, calf, and escort behaviors. I also assist the underwater videographers, and help maintain the research vessel and underwater equipment. The rest of the year I spend my time helping Cetos analyze underwater videos, record ethogram data, input data, assist with literature reviews, and help prepare papers and presentations. My passion for marine mammal research started while working as a lab assistant in the Marine Behavior and Ecology Lab at Western Washington University. I was able to get experience studying NW Pacific harbor seals by assisting graduate students with their thesis projects. During my time in the lab I helped track, tag, and collect specimens from harbor seals. In addition, I worked on a home-range analysis project, and I recorded, input, and processed data. I received my BS in marine biology in Dec 2008, and have since become part of the Cetos team, participated in marine mammal internships in the Florida Keys, and have worked as a naturalist in the San Juan Islands and in the oceanography dept at the University of Washington. In my spare time, I enjoy volunteering for the Seattle Aquarium and the Marine Mammal Stranding Network. I am looking forward to continue my role as a research assistant for Cetos in future years to come!

Shannon Coates

Staff Scientist

Shannon Coates

Shannon Coates has always had a passion for the ocean and the marine mammals that reside there. She received a Bachelor of Science degree from San Diego State University (SDSU) in 2011. In May 2010, during her undergraduate studies at SDSU, Shannon became a research assistant analyzing minke whale calls from islands in the tropical North Pacific. During that same year, she interned with Southwest Fisheries Science Center characterizing high frequency echolocation clicks recorded from Dall's porpoise. After graduating, Shannon became a senior field bioacoustician and a data analyst, roles that she continues to fulfill today. Shannon joined Cetos Research in 2013 as a research assistant for the Humpback Behavior Project focusing on the interactions between mother and calf pairs. Shannon has participated in numerous vessel-based visual and acoustic towed array surveys, assessing the abundance, density and distribution of marine mammals throughout the world. These included locations such as the Gulf of Mexico, the Mariana Islands, the Pacific Northwest, the South Pacific and the California coast where she worked on research projects including observing and tracking southern resident killer whales, beaked whales, false killer whales and sperm whales. She has served as lead acoustician and marine mammal observer on both large vessels and small boats. When on land, Shannon is involved in a variety of data analysis projects focusing on odontocete vocal characteristics. Shannon has co-authored several scientific reports and a peer-reviewed publication on beaked whale click characteristics.

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Dan Dendanto

Cetos Scientific Advisory Board

Dan DenDanto

Dan Dendanto is on the Cetos Scientific Advisory Board. He received his Masters Degree in Zoology in 1998 from the University of Maine. He has studied genetics of finback whales in the North Atlantic Ocean, and has done habitat and foraging studies of baleen whales. His background includes being a senior field scientist at Allied Whale and a research associate of the College of the Atlantic. Dan has assisted Cetos in previous years in the field in Kaua'i and Maui. On other fronts, he is an expert at marine mammal skeletal articulation as well as on the preparatory design of specimens for museums and scientific collections.

Christine Feinholz

Staff GIS Analyst

Christian Loftus

Christine Loftus is our Geographic Information Systems (GIS)/Remote Sensing analyst. Christine has worked on various areas of geography including land-cover analysis, public transportation, and most recently, in the marine environment. She is especially keen about biological mapping of the oceans, particularly marine mammals and the variables that influence their distribution and abundance. Christine's latest projects with Cetos involve mapping cetaceans encountered from our vessel-based surveys in the Hawaiian islands (the islands of Kaua'i, Ni'ihau and O'ahu). Through Cetos she also provides GIS support to NMML for Dr. Brad Hanson's research on killer whales. Her work is key to Cetos with regards to presentation of our data findings, for example most recently, presentations that we have given at the Society of Marine Mammalogy meeting in San Diego (December 2005), as well as at the Ocean Sciences Meeting in Honolulu (Feb. 2006). She also recently completed analyses (plotting sightings on tracklines and doing geographic projections) for mapping killer whales for Dr. Hanson's killer whale surveys in the Pacific Northwest. Christine currently lives in Hawaii and enjoys spending time in the ocean surfing, snorkeling, biking, and hiking.

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Elizabeth (Liz) Ferguson

Marine Educator & Acoustic Analyst

Elizabeth (Liz) Zele

Liz Ferguson is involved in both the education and scientific components of Cetos. Her primary interests lie in the education of conservation efforts and scientific explorations undertaken by Cetos, with a focus on middle and high school curricula development. She is currently working on the development of educational materials that highlight minke whale research off the Hawaiian Islands. This curriculum is intended for distribution and use in Hawaii's middle school science classes to help students gain a better understanding and interest in their local marine ecology. As a field biologist, she primarily studies marine mammal bio-acoustics and ecology. Liz has spent several months a year at sea on large research vessels affiliated with government and university sponsored projects. Liz works with Cetos analyzing acoustic data that we have collected, sounds from different marine mammal species from various projects. Most recently her work involved analyzing calls of minke whales around the Hawaiian Islands, and also analyzing orca calls from the Pacific NW. Liz lives in San Diego enjoys the beach and other outdoor activities.

Pete Gehring

Graphics Manager

Pete Gehring

Pete Gehring has a B.A. in Zoology (1995) and a M.S. in Environmental Sciences (1998) from Miami University. He has over 10 years of experience collecting, analyzing, and presenting biologic data. Most of his work has focused on the mapping and study of coastal biologic resources, including marine mammal distributions along all U.S. coasts for the U.S. Navy; a comprehensive geo-database of natural resources for Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; an analysis of imposed protection on benthic habitats and fish populations off Vieques, Puerto Rico; and benthic habitat studies of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and Diego Garcia, British Indian Ocean Territory. Recently he contributed to "Marine Mammals of the World: A Comprehensive Guide to Their Identification" (Jefferson, et al; 2006) as the primary cartographer, mapping all species ranges for the book. Pete has worked on several of Cetos's productions (poster presentations, reports, proposals), and has produced graphics and maps for us.

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Julie Hopkins

Julie Hayes

Staff Scientist

Julie Hopkins is one of the scientists based in our Cetos Pacific Office in Washington. She has worked as an Animal Biologist for 18 years in research, field, and clinical work and resource management. Primarily a Threatened and Endangered Species specialist, Julie has worked with terrestrial wildlife as well as marine mammals. With several published documents under her belt, she has amassed experience with biological evaluation, environmental impact, management of resources, and governmental regulation. During the past 10 years she has also operated a public education and outreach organization, The Classroom Naturalist, with a focus on basic science education and environmental education. She spends her spare time with her husband and two daughters, and runs a small horse farm. Julie has assisted on many levels with Cetos for the last few years and her organizational skills and calming influence keep the team flowing together and moving forward towards our goals. Her work supports our field efforts, as well as our data dissemination goals. She works closely with the other Cetos Pacific based Cetos folks on fundraising, Public Relations, and overall administration, in addition to our supporting our ongoing scientific goals.

Paula A. Olson

Staff Scientist

Paula Olson

Paula A. Olson has over 20 years of field experience studying whale and dolphin populations in the tropical and temperate regions of the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans, as well as the polar seas of the Arctic and Antarctic. She has worked on multiple projects for international, national, and private research organizations. She has co-authored over 30 scientific papers. During the past 10 years Paula has spent a great deal of time at sea for the International Whaling Commission and the National Marine Fisheries Service collecting line-transect survey data on the abundance and distribution of cetaceans for population monitoring, management and conservation. Paula’s specific interest is the geographic movement and stock structure of cetacean populations using photo-identification as a primary research tool. Recently she and co-author Tim Gerrodette of the NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center published a catalog of photo-identified killer whales from the eastern tropical Pacific. Currently she is establishing a catalog of blue whales from the Antarctic for the International Whaling Commission. Additional research on blue whales investigates the identity of feeding aggregations in the Antarctic and the movement of blue whales in the southeastern Pacific. Paula is also a wildlife photographer with photographs published in many books and field guides about marine mammals. Paula holds a Master of Marine Affairs degree from the University of Rhode Island. Presently she is a visiting scientist at the Southwest Fisheries Science Center in La Jolla, California. She has participated in Cetos research projects led by Dr. Tom Jefferson and in the future plans to lead projects of her own through Cetos on some of her research interest areas. When she’s not at sea you’ll find her hiking, camping, or running.


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