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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.
Aerial Survey Extends Dynamic Management Area
As a result of the Aquarium’s 2020 survey, a vessel speed restriction was extended to protect right whales in New England.
A Zoomed in Look at Our Aerial Survey Photographs
Learn why our aerial survey team takes so many photos.