The principal investigators working on projects at the New England Aquarium are listed below. These researchers include Moira Brown, Ph.D., Philip K. Hamilton, M.S., Ph.d., Amy R. Knowlton, M.M.A., Scott D Kraus, Ph.D, John W. Mandelman, Ph.D., Rosalind Rolland D.V.M., Randi D. Rotjan, Ph.D., Michael Tlusty, Ph.D., Timothy B. Werner, M.S. and Brooke C. Wikgren M. En. Additional researchers are included in this profile sheet (PDF 84KB). Get more details on Aquarium research efforts by visiting the Aquarium Research and Conservation Projects.
Moira W. Brown, Ph.D
B. Ed Physical Education, McGill University, 1977
B.S. Renewable Resources McGill University, 1985
Ph.D. Marine Biology, University of Guelph, 1995
Research Interests: Ecology, conservation, and behavior of North Atlantic right whale through studies on population biology, distribution, and demographics. The integration of field data and DNA profiles of right whales. Conservation and management of North Atlantic right whales by working with industry and government to develop, implement, and monitor conservation measures to reduce the impact of ship strikes and fishing on their recovery.
Current Projects: Field research on the North Atlantic right whales, stewardship with shipping and fishing stakeholders and government managers, primarily in Canada, to promote the recovery of North Atlantic right whales.
Philip K. Hamilton, M.S.
B.A. State University of New York at Binghamton, 1986, Environmental Studies
M.S. University of Massachusetts Boston, 2002, Biology
Research Interests: Philip’s primary interests include photo-identification and population assessments, behavior- particularly physical and acoustical association patterns, disease, and genetics. Philip designed DIGITS- a server based database and interface system through which all aspects of the North Atlantic Right Whale Catalog are managed.
Amy R. Knowlton, M.M.A.
B.A. Boston University, 1982, Geography
M.M.A. University of Rhode Island, 1997, Master of Marine Affairs
Research Interests: Amy’s main interest is meshing science with policy to help develop effective protection measures for right whales. She has worked to this end on both the ship strike issue and the fishing gear entanglement problem by assessing the level of impact of these activities on right whales and helping to develop policy changes to mitigate these impacts. She is also interested in photo-identification and population monitoring efforts. In addition, Amy has also worked to develop education modules for maritime academies about right whales and ship strikes.
Current Projects: Assessment of entanglement and ship strike interactions with the Right Whale Research project, supervision of photo-identification efforts, education and outreach to mariners and the general public
Scott D Kraus, Ph.D.
Vice President for Research
B.A. College of the Atlantic, 1977, Human Ecology
M.S. Univ. of Massachusetts, 1991, Biology
Ph.D. Univ. of New Hampshire, 2002, Zoology
Research Interests: Dr. Kraus is interested in the biology and conservation problems facing North Atlantic right whales, and also conducts research on methods to reduce bycatch of marine mammals in fishing gear. His recent work on biological hotspots has been focused on trying to understand the connections between the physical oceanography, plankton, fish, and the aggregations of whales and dolphins that such locations attract. He has published over 70 scientific papers on cetacean biology and conservation, and is adjunct faculty at Univ. of Mass. at Boston and the University of Southern Maine. Kraus’ recent research is increasingly focused on conservation issues faced by endangered marine species and habitats, and the difficulties of identifying what animals need to survive in an increasingly urban ocean.
John W. Mandelman, Ph.D.
B.A. University of Rochester, 1996, Psychology
Ph.D. Northeastern University, 2006, Biology
Research Interests: Stress physiology of elasmobranch fishes (sharks, rays and skates), applied fisheries biology, and physiological ecology of fishes. More specifically: 1) the physiological alterations caused by stress in elasmobranchs and other finfish; 2) the mortality of discarded bycatch in fishing operations; 3) strategies to reduce the incidental capture of elasmobranchs; and 4) movement and distribution of marine finfish around artificial structures (i.e. fish aggregation devices).
Current Projects: The immediate and delayed mortality of western North Atlantic skates due to fishing capture (funded by NOAA Fisheries Northeast Region); Biological effects of offshore LNG port areas (Funded by Excelerate Energy, L.L.C. & Suez Energy North America, Inc.)
Rosalind M. Rolland D.V.M. (C.V.)
Senior Scientist, Marine Conservation Medicine
B.S. University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1978, Natural Sciences
D.V.M. Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine, 1984, Veterinary Medicine
Research Interests: Dr. Rolland’s research is focused upon the connections between the health of wildlife populations and the health of the ecosystems where they live. She previously worked on endocrine-disrupting chemicals as a Conservation Scientist at the World Wildlife Fund-U.S., then served as Assistant Professor and Science Director of the Center for Conservation Medicine at Tufts Veterinary School. She has over 30 scientific publications, and has held appointments at Harvard Medical School and the University of North Carolina-Wilmington. Dr. Rolland has pioneered the development of non-invasive methods to study health and reproduction in North Atlantic right whales, in order to better understand the risks posed to these highly endangered whales by human impacts on their marine habitat.
Current Projects: Reproduction and stress physiology in right whales using fecal hormones, visual health assessment of whales, exposure of right whales to marine biotoxins, pathogenic protozoa in right whales, use of scent detection dogs for sampling whales
Randi D. Rotjan, Ph.D.
B.S. Cornell University, 1999, Neurobiology and Behavior
Ph.D. Tufts University, 2007, Biology
Research Interests: Dr. Rotjan's research addresses the interface between ecology, symbiosis, and behavior to ultimately determine how organisms interact with their environments. Although she works on a wide variety of model organisms, Randi most often works on ecosystem engineers, which are organisms that have a disproportionate influence on their habitat (such as reef-building corals). Randi uses an integrative approach, combining exploratory observations with manipulative experiments to discover the patterns and uncover the mechanisms guiding ecosystem engineer performance. In addition, Dr. Rotjan also studies hermit crab shell choice behavior, the conservation ecology of tropical reef communities, trophic dynamics and corallivory, and the evolution and ecology of symbiosis in marine invertebrates. She provides updates on her research in the Phoenix Islands on the Phoenix Islands Expedition blog.
Current Projects: Biological effects of offshore LNG port areas (Funded by Excelerate Energy, L.L.C. & Suez Energy North America, Inc.), the ecology and symbiosis of tropical and temperate corals, bacterial symbioses in deep-sea hydrothermal vents, and hermit crab shell choice behavior
Michael Tlusty, Ph.D.
Director of Research
B.S. University of Illinois, 1987, Animal Science
Ph.D. Syracuse University, 1994, Biology
Research Interests: Aquaculture, and the integration of new technological advanced into current production scenarios, analysis of disease looking at changes in host susceptibility as a result of changes in the environment, the production of fish for the pet trade, and leveraging large companies to improve the ecological footprint of seafood production
Current Projects: The influence of increased temperature on the onset of shell disease in American lobsters; rearing marine ornamental fish with extended larval periods; ecological and economic sustainability of freshwater ornamental fisheries, and advisory services to improve environmental friendliness of aquacultured produced seafood products
Timothy B. Werner, M.S.
Senior Scientist, and Director, Consortium for Wildlife Bycatch Reduction
M.S. Stanford University, 2001, Business Management (2001 Sloan Fellow)
M.S. University of Maryland, 1996, Marine Zoology
Research Interests: Science and management of living marine resources. My biological research focuses on characterizing spatial patterns of marine biodiversity, with an emphasis on the phylogeography of tropical holothurians (sea cucumbers). My applied interests are in marine conservation, including marine protected areas and working collaboratively with engineers, fishermen, and wildlife biologists to identify fishing methods that lead to reduced bycatch of threatened animals.
Current Projects: Consortium for Wildlife Bycatch Reduction; Marine Science, Systematics and phylogeography of the Holothuria subgenus Halodeima; Conservation Engineering, Evaluation of alternative gillnets and “whale-friendly” fishing gear
Brooke C. Wikgren, M. En.
Associate Scientist/GIS Specialist
B.S. University of Wisconsin ñ Green Bay, 2008, Environmental Policy and Planning
M. En., Miami University, 2010, Environmental Sciences
Geographic Information Sciences Certificate, Miami University, 2010
Research Interests: Brooke's research interests focus on using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology to understand the various impacts of human activities on the marine environment and its inhabitants, with a particular focus on the North Atlantic right whale; analyze ocean use conflicts and ecosystem service tradeoffs informing coastal and marine spatial planning; model and map marine species distributions and habitats; track satellite tagged released animals' movements; facilitate geospatial components of the Phoenix Islands Marine Protected Area research; and support conservation initiatives. In addition to her research, she helps integrate GIS technologies in the Aquarium's summer camp program. Brooke also teaches Marine GIS for Boston University's Marine Program. Click here to learn more about GIS at the New England Aquarium or visit www.marinegis.org.