Posted on: January 18, 2012

"Weekend With the Experts" on February 10 – 12

As part of the Maui Whale Festival, a group of noted researchers, scientists, marine experts and photographers from across the U.S. will be sharing their work and their latest discoveries about whales and the ocean during "Weekend with the Experts" --  a three-day event that begins on Friday, February 10 and continues through Sunday, February 12. 

Hosted by Pacific Whale Foundation, with support from Expedia Local Expert, "Weekend with the Experts" includes two exciting evenings of free talks, slideshows and video presentations, as well as special daytime whalewatch cruises led by the experts. 

The weekend begins on Friday, February 10 with multimedia presentations on the topic of "Swimming In Trash: Marine Debris and Its Effect on Whales." The presentations are free and open to all. They will take place from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm at the Westin Maui Resort & Spa in Ka'anapali.
The Friday night presentations will include scientific updates on the "Great Pacific Garbage Patch" and the tsunami debris heading for Hawai'i. It will also include information on the impacts of marine debris on marine mammals and a presentation about why Hawaii’s underwater world is so unique – and so worthy of protection. 
Presenters will include:

*  Bill Francis, President of Algalita Marine Research Foundation
Algalita Marine Research Foundation is a non-profit organization that has made research voyages to all five of the world's major gyres, including the North Pacific Gyre, resulting in a body of authoritative research publications and data and educational programs about marine debris. 
 Dr. Jan Hafner, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, University of Hawaii at Manoa
Dr. Jan Hafner is a Scientific Computer Programmer at the International Pacific Research Center, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, University of Hawaii at Manoa. He earned his degree in meteorology in 1990 from Charles University in Prague. In 1996 he completed his PhD studies at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Between 1996 and 1999 he was a postdoctoral fellow at the CIRA (Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere) - Colorado State University. His work encompassed satellite data processing and analysis, numerical modeling on regional and global scale. He will be speaking on tracking the Japanese tsunami debris, including a model and observations, a project that he is working on with Nikolai Maximenko of International Pacific Research Center, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology at University of Hawaii. 
*  Ed Lyman, Marine Mammal Response Manager at the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary
 Ed Lyman coordinates NOAA Fisheries’ Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Programs and works with a network of responders in an attempt to free large whales from life threatening entanglements. He has assisted in more than 50 large whale disentanglements in Hawaii, Australia, and along the East Coast of the U.S.  He  is a staff member of the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, which was created by Congress in 1992 to protect humpback whales and their habitat in Hawai`i. The sanctuary is co-managed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the State of Hawai‘i. Through education, outreach, research and resource protection activities, the sanctuary strives to protect humpback whales and their habitat in Hawai‘i.  

* David Fleetham, marine wildlife photographer
 David Fleetham’s photographs have been published around the globe, with over one hundred magazine covers to date. In 1991 his photograph of a sandbar shark appeared on the cover of LIFE. It is the only underwater photograph to ever be selected for the cover. His award-winning work has been published by National Geographic, The Cousteau Society and every North American diving publication. The Smithsonian Museum, The North Carolina Museum of Natural History, The London Zoo, Hong Kong Museum, The Waikiki, Vancouver, Monterey Bay, John G. Shedd Aquarium, Maui Ocean Center and the Aquarium of the Americas all display his work. 

Presentations on Saturday, February 11

Weekend with the Experts continues on Saturday, February 11, with additional multimedia presentations based on the theme, "In the Presence of Giants." The evening will include presentations on the latest discoveries about whale social sounds and communication, the impacts of man-made noise on whales, information on what science is showing about the impacts of whalewatching -- on humans and whales, and results from an ongoing research study to prevent vessel-whale collisions in Maui County. There will also be a photo presentation showcasing dramatic underwater and above water photos of humpback whales in the South Pacific. 
The public is invited and admission is free to Saturday evening's presentations. This event also takes place at the Westin Maui Resort & Spa, Ka'anapali from 5:30 pm to 8:00 pm. Reservations are not required, but are suggested. Please call Pacific Whale Foundation at (808) 249-8811 ext. 1 for reservations. 
Presenters on Saturday evening will include:

* Dr. Carole Carlson,  Director of Research and Education for the Dolphin Fleet Whale Watch, Adjunct Scientist at the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies and Research Associate at College of the Atlantic
Carole Carlson, PhD has spent over thirty years studying large cetaceans off
the east coast of the United States, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Chile, the Dominican Republic and the Eastern Caribbean and is an acknowledged expert on photo-identification techniques, humpback whales and whale watching. Dr. Carlson is an active member of the Scientific Committee of the International Whaling Commission, has organized and conducted five international whalewatching workshops and assisted in the development of whalewatch guidelines and regulations for Puerto Rico, Bonnaire, Dominica, Iceland, St Lucia, South Africa, Brazil, Chile, Argentina and the USA. She has worked actively on the promotion of the SPAW Protocol of the Cartegena Convention of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) since 1997 and helped to draft its Marine Mammal Action Plan. She has authored scientific papers as well as education materials for distribution in the United States, the Wider Caribbean Region, Japan, Taiwan and South America.
Dr. Alison Stimpert, National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow, Oceanography Department, Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California 
Dr. Stimpert will speak on the rich behavioral and acoustic repertoire of humpback whales underwater, based on her studies of bioacoustics, including using suction-cup acoustic tags to correlate sound production with underwater behavior, and her ongoing investigations into the impact of anthropogenic sound on the social behavior and foraging ecology of cetaceans. Dr. Stimpert has studied the behavior of humpback whale populations in the waters around Hawaii, Massachusetts, Alaska, Australia, and Antarctica, and of several other whale and dolphin species through aerial and boat-based surveys, from shore, and remotely, using passive acoustics.

Dr. Daniela Maldini, Chief Scientist, Pacific Whale Foundation
Dr. Maldini has led long-term research projects on bottlenose dolphins and sea otters in Monterey Bay and odontocete abundance and distribution in Hawaii and transient killer whale ecology in Alaska as a Research Associate at the Alaska SeaLife Center. Prior to joining Pacific Whale Foundation, she was the Director of Research at Earthwatch Institute. At Pacific Whale Foundation, she leads several research studies, including Pacific Whale Foundation’s work to prevent vessel-whale collisions in Hawaii, by analyzing humpback whale surprise encounters and vessel near misses.

Douglas J. Hoffman, Whale and Wildlife Photographer
 Doug Hoffman is well known for his fine art photographs of humpback whales. He has received numerous awards, been featured in several art galleries, and has been the subject of several magazine and newspaper articles. In January of 2012, he received the prestigious Master of Photography Degree from the Professional Photographers of America.  His goal is to create compelling images of nature that reflect beauty and drama in order to evoke an emotional response and raise awareness. Over the last six years Douglas has traveled to Tonga to document whale behavior. Doug has also traveled to photograph sperm whales in the Azores. 

Whalewatch with the Experts on Saturday and Sunday

On Saturday, February 11 and Sunday, February 12, there will be opportunities to go whalewatching with the experts and presenters from the evening presentations.  The whalewatches are available on Saturday and Sunday, with departures available from Ma'alaea and Lahaina. Reservations are required. For reservations, visit or call (808) 249-8811 ext. 1. 
The Maui Whale Festival is a six-month series of events honoring the humpback whales that come to Maui each winter to mate, give birth and care for the next generation of whales. The festival is presented by Pacific Whale Foundation with support from Expedia Local Expert. To learn more, visit