Our Research Team

Greg Kaufman

Chief Scientist and Founder of Pacific Whale Foundation

Read Greg Kaufman's Research Blog

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.

Emmanuelle (Manue) Martinez, Ph.D., M.Sc, B.Sc (Hons)

Senior Research Scientist, Australia and Hawaii Program

Emmanuelle (Manue) Martinez

Manue joined the Research team in September 2012. Her main research focus is primarily in the conservation biology and behavioral ecology of cetaceans. Specific interests include evaluating short- and long-term effects of anthropogenic disturbance on marine mammals, in particular tourism.

She completed a Ph.D in Marine Science at Massey University (Auckland, New Zealand) examining the responses of the endangered and endemic South Island Hector’s dolphins to vessel activity, including dolphin-watching trips, in Akaroa Harbour. Manue obtained a M.Sc in Environmental Science from the University of Otago (Dunedin, New Zealand) and conducted a pre-disturbance study of Hector’s dolphins prior to the establishment of a dophin-watching operation at Motunau.

She also holds a B.Sc (Honours) in Zoology from the University of Leicester. Manue continues to collaborate with other colleagues working on a variety of species in different countries. She is still affiliated with the Coastal-Marine Research Group at Massey University as an Adjunct Research Associate, where she held a position as Research Associate between 2011 and 2012.

Cristina Paola Castro A., Ph.D., B.A.

Research Director, Ecuador Research Program

Read Cristina's Research Blog

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.

Betsy Davidson, B.Sc.

Research Assistant

Read Betsy's Research Blog

Betsy has been pursuing her passion for the ocean and the amazing animals in it since the age of 12. She graduated from University of California, Santa Cruz with a degree in Marine Biology. Since then, she has been lucky enough to enjoy jobs across the marine biology field, including working as an aquarist, a marine mammal trainer, a marine science educator, a naturalist, and a researcher.

Joining Pacific Whale Foundation, provided the perfect next step to combine her love for ocean animals with her interests in education, conservation, and research, while focusing on the animals she has come to love most—whales and dolphins.

Betsy started at Pacific Whale Foundation in November of 2010 as a naturalist on whalewatch, dolphin watch, and snorkel trips that educate the public. During this time she also volunteered in the research department and became involved in PWF's Ocean Camps. This program teaches our future generations the impacts that they and the ocean have on each other.

In April 2012, she accepted a full-time research position assisting with PWF's whale and dolphin research efforts, including several photo-identification catalogs, working as a Researcher on Board collecting opportunistic humpback whale "surprise encounter" data, and assisting with Odontocete Project field efforts. She hopes to continue on the path of dolphin research focusing on dolphin communication and cognition.

Jens Currie, B.Sc. (Hons), M.Sc. Biology

Research Analyst

Jens is a marine biologist from Newfoundland, Canada with a strong passion for data collection and analytic problem solving in the fields of physical oceanography, biology and ecology. He has completed a B.Sc. Honours and M.Sc. 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, prior to that, 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.

Stephanie Stack, M.Sc., B.Sc.

Research Biologist

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. She has strong knowledge about marine mammals, having co-taught the field course Biology of Marine Mammals at the Bonne Bay Marine Station in Norris Point, Newfoundland and at the Huntsman Marine Science Centre in St. Andrew’s, New Brunswick.

She has assisted with research on captive harp and harbor seals and traveled to Belize, Central America to research Antillean manatee and dolphin populations. She has experience working in academia, government, and not-for-profit organizations; most recently educating South African communities on the sustainable use of ocean resources and the need for marine conservation. Her hobbies include scuba diving, snorkeling and photography.

Vessel Staff Research Volunteers

The following persons are currently helping the Research Team on their time off.

  • Brian Jacques
  • Davy Frey
  • Heather Spillane
  • Katelyn Herman

Pacific Whale Foundation's Research Blogs

Notes from the Field - Australia is written during our field research season in Australia.



Notes from the Field - Ecuador is written by Cristina Castro, our Ecuador Project Research Director.



Notes from the Field - Hawaii is written by Betsy Davidson.



Meet Former Research Staff

Brianne Miller, MRes Marine Mammal Science, B.Sc. Biology

Research Scientist

Read Brianne Miller's Research Blog

Brianne joined the PWF Research Team in February 2013. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biology from McGill University (Montreal, Canada) and a Master of Research in Marine Mammal Science from the University of St Andrews (St Andrews, Scotland). Her primary research interest focuses on determining the impacts of anthropogenic and environmental stressors on marine mammal populations. Her Master’s thesis examined the relationship between static and dynamic environmental variables and the distribution of blue whales in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Canada.

As a marine biologist with five years of international field and research experience in aquatic biology, tropical ecology, and marine mammal science, Brianne is passionate about promoting ocean conservation through awareness, education, and research. While studying overseas, she organized a city-wide beach cleanup, a children’s workshop on marine mammal biology, and a public lecture series on marine conservation to promote ocean stewardship.

Brianne has worked for several marine conservation-based NGOs and has completed internships with Wildtracks Belize, Mote Marine Laboratory, and the United Nations Environment Program. Previous projects have included topics such as cichlid physiology, parrotfish behavioural ecology, community-based alternatives to unsustainable fishing, human-dolphin interactions, marine mammal rescue and rehabilitation, and an assessment of progress towards the 2020 Aichi Biodiversity Targets. Brianne continues to collaborate with the Mingan Island Cetacean Study and the University of St Andrews on a blue whale habitat use study.

Casandra Chronik, M.Sc


Casandra is a passionate marine biologist from Vancouver BC, Canada, having earned a B.Sc in Marine Biology from the University of British Columbia, and a M.Sc in Marine Science & Management from Southern Cross University, Australia. She has worked as a naturalist in both Canadian and Australian waters for the past few years as well as a marine educator in various academic facilities.

Her primary focus is on marine conservation and awareness and protection of the world's whales and dolphins. She has an extensive background in photographic identities of cetaceans and most recently developed the first humpback whale watch photo-identification catalogue in Coffs Harbour, NSW Australia.

Itana Freire Silva

Research Assistant

Read Itana's Research Blog

Itana graduated with Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa in 2009. She is passionate about marine mammals and conservation. Originally from Brazil, she developed this passion through her experience as an intern with the Aquatic Mammals Institute in her home country between 1997 and 2000. Itana was involved in the collection of behavioral data on the gray dolphin and on South Atlantic Humpback whales. She also participated in the recovery and rehabilitation of cetaceans and pinnipeds, and in educational programs involving fishermen, communities and schools. These were valuable experiences that defined her career aspirations.

Since Itana moved to Hawai‘i in 2000, she worked with a variety of marine research and conservation organizations such as the Maui Ocean Center curatorial department and the DLNR-Division of Aquatic Resources as an intern, the Zoology Department at UH Mānoa Zoology as a research assistant, the Hawaii Wildlife Fund and the HIHWNMS-NOAA Water Quality monitoring program as a volunteer. She was also part of the NOAA-PIRO Marine Mammal Response Network/HPU Marine Mammals Stranding Team, participating in Hawaiian Monk seal monitoring, response to cetacean strandings and marine mammals necropsies. She also worked for The Dolphin Institute, assisting with Humpback whale and Spinner dolphin photo-identification catalog maintenance, field work and data entry and analysis and with Hawai‘i Pacific University/Cascadia Research Collective as an undergraduate research assistant, analyzing Hawaiian melon-headed whale photographs to create a photo-identification catalog for the study of population size and structure.

Itana was part of the Researcher on Board program at PWF. She was also responsible for the false-killer whale photo-identification catalog.

Dominique Richardson

Research Assistant

Read Dominique's Research Blog

Dominique graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Ecology, Behavior and Evolution from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2007. During her undergraduate career, she was fortunate enough to conduct conservation biology and animal behavior research in the field in Laikipia, Kenya on Gunther’s dik-dik. While living in the field, she had several close encounters with terrestrial, charismatic megafauna.

In 2010, Dominique graduated with a Master of Science degree in Environmental Sciences from California State University, Los Angeles. While completing her Master’s, she conducted research on intertidal ecology in Vancouver, Canada and on the behavior of Pacific seahorses in Southern California. As part of her degree she also created environmental education programs for local aquariums to encourage school children and the public to conserve ocean creatures and their environment.

Dominique spent several years working as a naturalist in Southern California introducing guests to local wildlife while helping to collect data on various cetaceans including blue whales, fin whales, humpback whales, gray whales, common dolphins, and bottlenose dolphin. During this time she had several close encounters with aquatic, charismatic megafauna.

Dominique is currently a part of the Researcher on Board program, collecting data on “surprise encounters” with humpback whales, gathering opportunistic photographic identification data on resident odontocetes, and looking at interspecies interactions in local waters.

Rob Rankin, M.Sc.

Data Analyst

Robert is an ecologist from Muskoka, Ontario, with a particular interest in community ecology and quantitative tools.  He has been involved with a variety of coastal environmental projects in the non-profit, academic and government sectors. Previously, he served as a wildlife analyst for a binational Great Lakes wetland monitoring programme, and as a coordinator for marine-based community development projects in the Grenadines. He has an enduring passion for coastal ecosystem research, having worked with seabirds in the Canadian High-Arctic, shorebirds in Sweden and Alaska, as well as having volunteered with various marine-mammal projects. He has studied marine-biology in Sweden and the Mediterranean, earning a B.Sc. in Environmental Science from Simon Fraser University, British Columbia, and an M.Sc. in Biology from Lund University, Sweden.

Sarah Bade

Sarah Bade was born in San Diego, California and grew up in southern California.  Her family, consisting of parents, two younger sisters, one insane dog, and countless fish, currently lives in Colorado.   She is a junior at Brigham Young University in Utah, and is studying Wildlife and Wildlands Conservation.  She came to work for the Pacific Whale Foundation because marine biology has always been a passion of hers (and because she didn’t want to get stuck surveying sagebrush).  She enjoys photography, Shotokai karate, and newfound hobbies diving and surfing.

Research Department Internships Open Year Round

Pacific Whale Foundation seeks performance-driven and dedicated individuals to assist with:

  1. Our various research projects. Learn more about this internship >
  2. Our humpback whale fluke matching project. Learn more about this internship >

There is no financial compensation for these positions and interns are responsible for their own living and transportation expenses. This is, however, an excellent opportunity to gain experience in marine mammal research.

Current Research Interns

  • Barclay Mitchell
  • Helen Gowans
  • Jack Allum
  • Jacquelyne Ellis
  • Lynne Johnson
  • Mike Olinits
  • Ryan Mathews
  • Shannon Easterly

Former Research Interns

  • Anthony Kaulfuss
  • Jacqueline Loevenich
  • Gabriella Lattari
  • Amandine Bordin
  • Erin Lester
  • Jillian Wirt
  • Jason Varee
  • Kendra Lane
  • Hailey Brosnan
  • Kara Parker
  • Monika Larson
  • Christophe Bolte
  • Diana Calle
  • Lindsay Veazey
  • Michelle Viengkone
  • Jayda Guy
  • Emily Walker
  • Oriol Giralt
  • Marshall Hawkins