Our Research Team

Greg Kaufman

Chief Scientist and Founder of Pacific Whale Foundation

Greg Kaufman

Greg Kaufman is the founder and Executive Director of Pacific Whale Foundation and author of numerous books, scientific and popular publications on cetaceans. A pioneer in non-invasive humpback whale research off Maui in the mid-1970s, Greg founded Pacific Whale Foundation in 1980, and committed his new organization to educating the public, from a scientific perspective, about whales and their ocean habitat. Greg oversees the longest running humpback whale research programme off Australia (started in 1984) and Ecuador.

Greg is a world leader in addressing whale protection issues, and has pioneered responsible whale- and dolphin-watching programmes throughout the Pacific. He is widely acknowledged as an innovator and leader in marine ecotourism. Greg is an Invited Participant to the International Whaling Commission’s Scientific Committee and is a contributor to the subcommittees on Whale-watching, Southern Hemisphere Whales and Bycatch, serves on the Hawaiian Island Humpback National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Committee, is a contributing member to the Southern Oceans Research Partnership, recently co-led the United Nations Environmental Programme's Regional Workshop on Marine Mammal Watching in the Wider Caribbean Region, and was the US delegate in a recent international workshop (held in Patagonia) to Develop a Five Year Global Plan for Whale-watching.

Cristina Paola Castro A., Ph.D.

Research Director, Ecuador Research Program

Cristina Paola Castro A.

Cristina received her B.A. degree in Biology and Chemistry in the Central University of Ecuador in 1996, and was granted a doctorate in Biology from the Central University of Ecuador in 2001. Her research interests are in management and conservation of marine mammals in Ecuador.

Since 1997 her studies have focused on the breeding grounds of humpback whales in the Machalilla National Park, Ecuador. Cristina has also directed programs of marine mammal environmental education programs, written books on environmental education for indigenous children living in the Ecuadorian jungle and coast.

Stephanie Stack, M.S.

Senior Research Biologist, Hawaii and Australia Research Programs

Stephanie Currie

Stephanie is a biologist from Newfoundland, Canada who is passionate about ocean conservation. She holds Bachelor of Science and Master of Environmental Science degrees from Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador. Her research interests are marine mammal behavior and ecology, and conservation of poorly studied species. 

Stephanie has previously studied behavior of harp and harbor seals in eastern Canada, traveled to Belize, Central America to study habitat use of Antillean manatee and bottlenose dolphin populations, and worked with South African communities on the sustainable use of ocean resources and the need for marine conservation. She has substantial experience in relating scientific findings to the public using mediums such as magazine articles, blogs, citizen science projects, and public outreach programs. Her expertise lies in processing geographic data from a variety of species for integration into distribution maps, with a goal of understanding the complexities of our marine ecosystems. She joined Pacific Whale Foundation in February 2013 and leads the Australian research programs. 

Jens Currie, M.S.

Senior Research Analyst, Hawaii and Australia Research Programs

Jens Currie

Jens is a marine biologist from Nova Scotia, Canada, with a strong passion for analytic problem solving in the fields of physical oceanography, biology, and ecology. He has completed a Bachelor of Science (Honors) and Master of Science in Biology at Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador. His interests lie in linking physical observations to observed biological changes and relating this, if appropriate, to anthropogenic factors.

Previously he has worked for Fisheries and Oceans Canada as a physical scientist completing ecosystem based modeling and as a marine biologist researching community dependence on estuarine ecosystem goods and services in developing regions of South Africa. He has substantial experience in R programming language and its use for the development of oceanographic and ecological model assimilation techniques with emphasis on development, standardization, and sharing of basic functions and packages. He joined Pacific Whale Foundation in February 2013 and leads the Hawaii research programs. 

Jessica McCordic, M.S.

Research Assistant, Hawaii and Australia Programs 

Jessica McCordicJessica has developed her passion for marine ecology and marine mammalogy throughout her academic career.  She holds a Master of Science in Biology from Syracuse University, and her graduate experience allowed her to delve into the field of marine mammal bioacoustics as she analyzed the stereotyped upcalls of North Atlantic right whales to determine individuality.

While completing her Bachelor of Arts in Human Ecology at College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine, she assisted in several field research projects with Allied Whale, a non-profit marine mammal research group.  There she became involved with the North Atlantic Humpback Whale Catalog, as well as the North Atlantic Finback Whale Catalog. She joined the Pacific Whale Foundation research team in September 2015 and assists with both the Australia and Hawaii research programs. 

Part-Time Research Volunteers, Hawaii

  • David Holmes
  • Lorraine Holmes
  • Simone Kaplun
  • Jenny Roberts

Part-Time Research Volunteers, Australia

  • Jaimi Raveneau
  • Suzie Vallance

If you would like to learn about volunteering in the research department please email research[at]pacificwhale.org

Full-Time Research Interns, Hawaii

  • Dylan Laicher
  • Carla Patulny

Full-Time Research Interns, Australia

  • Eilidh Milligan
  • Rachael Nidiffer

Apply For A Future Internship!

Learn more about how to apply for a Pacific Whale Foundation Research Internship.


Research team members