Our Experts

Orla O'Brien

Orla O’Brien

Associate Research Scientist
Spatial Ecology, Mapping, and Assessment, Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life


MS, Marine Biology, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, 2017
BS, Marine Biology, Brown University, 2010


Orla O’Brien is an associate scientist at the Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life, in the EcoMap group. She manages the aerial survey team, which conducts aerial surveys in wind energy development areas near Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. These surveys identify species such as marine mammals, turtles, and fish, monitor changes in animal populations, and document changes in habitat use. The aerial team also conducts surveys to assess biodiversity in the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument.

In addition to leading the data collection efforts for aerial surveys, Orla conducts analyses of these data that further our understanding of marine mammal distributions and how they change over time. Her master’s work focused on the behavioral ecology of Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins in Western Australia.

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Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life

Through pioneering conservation research and strategic partnerships, our team of 40 scientists works to combat the unprecedented impacts on the ocean from climate change and other human activities.