Ford Cochran is Director of Programming for National Geographic Expeditions, selecting the writers, photographers, explorers, scholars, and others the Society sends to destinations around the world. During his 20 years with the Geographic, Ford has written for National Geographic magazine, served as principal contributing writer for its Historical Atlas of the United States, helped to launch Nationalgeographic.com and directed content development and programming for the website, and documented numerous Society-funded research expeditions.. He has traveled as a Society expert on National Geographic Expeditions around the world and accompanied and chronicled major marine research expeditions led by National Geographic Explorers-in-Residence Enric Sala and Sylvia Earle. Ford did his graduate research on volcanoes and climate change at Harvard and Yale universities, with extensive fieldwork on the island of Hawaii and on Mt. St. Helens. nationalgeographicexpeditions.com
Jim Darling, Ph. D., has led research programs on whales for more than 25 years. His primary studies include long term investigations of the behavior and ecology of gray whales in British Columbia and humpback whales. He has specialized in studies of the humpback whale song throughout the North Pacific. Jim has been executive director of West Coast Whale Research Foundation, a Canadian research and education society and research director of the Clayoquot Biosphere Project, a Vancouver Island community based organization that promoted field research in the temperate rainforest ecosystem. Jim has written numerous scientific and popular articles and several books including Hawaii's Humpback Whales Unveiling the Mysteries. Since 1997, Maui has been the base of his study on the function of the humpback whale song. whaletrustmaui.org
Richard Ellis began his lifelong career as a marine artist by designing the life-sized blue whale model in the Hall of Ocean Life at New York’s American Museum of Natural History. Now one of America's leading ocean conservationists, he is generally recognized as the foremost painter of marine natural history subjects in the world. His research has taken him to the far reaches of the planet, and his paintings hang in museums and private collections internationally. His art has been featured in numerous publications and his Book of Whales, now in its seventh printing, is one of the most popular books on cetaceans ever written. Richard is a special adviser to the American Cetacean Society, a member of the Explorers Club, and a Research Associate at the American Museum of Natural History. For his books, magazine articles, paintings and lectures, Richard Ellis was awarded the Explorers Club Communications Medal in 2012. amnh.org
Mark Ferrari is the Executive Director and co-founder of the non-profit Center for Whale Studies. A research scientist, educator, conservationist, photographer, and cinematographer, Mark has dedicated his life to educating others about our fragile planet and its creatures. Mark and his wife Debbie have been studying the humpback whale in the waters of the Hawaiian Islands since 1976. Their 38-year study focuses on the relationships of mothers and calves, the role of males in the breeding population, habitat usage, distribution, and recruitment and survival of calves. centerforwhalestudies.org
Tom Fitz is a two-time Emmy award-winning documentary cameraman whose work has been broadcast by PBS, BBC, National Geographic, Discovery, ABC, NHK, and others. Tom has over 25 years of experience in natural history camera work, both topside and underwater. His shoots have taken him all over the world, from the high Canadian Arctic to Antarctica. In 2004,Tom began making his own films, earning numerous awards, and in 2008 he co-founded Schoolyard Films, Inc.. Schoolyard produces short natural history and environmental films for K-12 classes, accompanies them with study guides, and distributes to them to schools throughout the US for free, via iTunes. Currently Tom divides his time between freelance camerawork and running the daily activities at Schoolyard. schoolyardfilms.org
Dr. Meagan Jones is co-founder and Executive Director of Whale Trust Maui, as well as the Ocean Studies Educational Specialist for the Research Corporation of the University of Hawaii. Meagan moved to Maui 20 years ago after finishing her Master’s thesis on the cognitive capabilities and communication systems of bottlenose dolphins. Since then, she has committed her professional life to linking marine science with public education and conservation programs, especially around marine mammals. After receiving a national award for her work in marine education in 1997, Meagan returned her primary focus to studying the natural behavior and communication systems of humpback whales. Meagan completed her Ph.D. in environmental studies in 2010 and is currently investigating the reproductive strategies of female humpbacks on the Hawaiian breeding grounds. whaletrustmaui.org
Ed Lyman has helped more than 70 whales trapped by nets and other ocean debris in his position as Large Whale Entanglement Response Coordinator at the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. Ed coordinates a community-based response effort to entangled large whales around the Hawaiian Islands. He also assists NOAA Fisheries in addressing large whale entanglement responses in Alaska and the US West Coast. The network effort provides safe and authorized response to entangled large whales, but also gains valuable information towards reducing entanglement threats. He also works with fishermen to come up with “whale-safe” gear and fishing practices that might also reduce entanglement risk.
Ed is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire where he received a Masters of Zoology. He has studied whales since 1994 when he worked for the Center for Coastal Studies, a non-profit whale research and rescue organization located on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. hawaiihumpbackwhale.noaa.gov
Craig Matkin has studied marine mammals in southern Alaska since 1977. That year, Ed initiated long term photo-identification projects on killer whales and humpback whales in Prince William Sound that continue today. He studied humpback whales in Hawaii in the 1980s, following some of the same animals photographically between feeding and breeding grounds. Since 1982, he has worked as executive director of the North Gulf Oceanic Society, studying marine mammals across Alaska from the southeast through the Aleutian Islands and Bering Sea. He loves both the beauty and productivity of Alaska and the Prince William Sound, and is especially bonded with the killer whales that roam there, many whom he has watched grow from calves to adults over the past three decades. Craig considers Prince William Sound to be but his research home and spiritual center. whalesalaska.org
Charles “Flip” Nicklin was born with both diving and photography in his blood. His grandfather dove while wearing hardhat gear for construction. His father, Chuck, is a diver and underwater cinematographer, who taught his sons to follow in his flippers. By the age of 14, Flip was helping his father teach scuba diving in La Jolla, California.
Flip is a world-renowned underwater photographer. He has spent his career specializing in the photography of marine mammals, especially whales and dolphins. Through 20 National Geographic feature articles from 1982 to the present, he has worked closely with top whale researchers from around the world. Flip brings to Whale Trust Maui a unique global perspective on the study of whales. He has assisted humpback whale researchers in Hawaii since the 1980s, and lives in Maui for a portion of each year.
Flip’s National Geographic photos have been published in several photography books, among them, Humpbacks: Unveiling the Mystery, Dolphins for Kids: Face to Face with Dolphins, Face to Face with Whales and, most recently, Among Giants, A Life With Whales. In 2012, Flip was named Photographer Of The Year by the North American Nature Photography Association. whaletrustmaui.org
Eva Saulitis is writer, marine biologist and professor who, with her partner Craig Matkin, has studied orcas and humpback whales in Prince William Sound, Kenai Fjords, and the Aleutian Islands of Alaska since 1987. The author and co-author of numerous scientific publications, she has also written three creative books, the most recent of which is Into Great Silence: A Memoir of Discovery and Loss Among Vanishing Orcas, which was published last month by Beacon Press. It tells the story of her research with and concern for the endangered Chugach transient orcas, which were gravely injured by the Exxon Valdez oil spill of 1989. She and Craig continue to spend months in the field each summer on their boat, Natoa, photo-censusing and researching the orcas and humpbacks of southern Alaska. Eva teaches English and Creative Writing at the University of Alaska Anchorage, and feels fortunate to spend a few months each winter on the Big Island of Hawaii. whalesalaska.org
Greg Stone, Conservation International’s Executive Vice President and Chief Scientist for Oceans, is one of the world's leading authorities on marine conservation policy and ocean health issues. Greg, who also serves as Vice Chair of the World Economic Forum's Global Council on Ocean Governance is a lifelong scientific explorer and prolific diver. To date, he has more than 7,000 dives in every sea on earth, has lived underwater for 30 days in a habitat and descended to 18,000 feet in submersibles. Born in Boston, Greg conducted pioneering research in Antarctica on marine mammals and, later, ice ecology where he mastered the art of diving into icebergs. He was awarded the National Science Foundation/U.S. Navy Antarctic Service medal for research in the Antarctic and his book Ice Island was awarded the 2003 National Outdoor Book Award for Nature and the Environment.
Since 2000, Greg has led the effort to create the world's largest marine protected area around the Phoenix Islands in Kiribati using, for the first time, market-based mechanisms to conserve ocean biodiversity, which encourage economic opportunity for local communities. For this accomplishment he was named one of National Geographic Society's Heroes of 2007 and is considered an authority on these innovative marine conservation models.
Greg is a National Fellow of the Explorers Club, a recipient of the Pew Fellowship for Marine Conservation, and an honorary associate professor at the Leigh Marine Laboratory at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. His most recent book, Underwater Eden, was released in December, 2012. conservation.org
Jason Sturgis has been an avid diver for over 25 years and his love of the ocean led him in 2002 to pursue camera work and documentary filmmaking. He grew up in Gardnerville, Nevada, but spent time on the British Columbia coast and Maui,where he learned to dive at age eight. He got his start working for Whale Trust Maui documenting whale behavior both above and below the surface. Jason runs his own production company, Open Ocean Productions, and his work has been featured on the National Geographic channel, Animal Planet, Discovery Canada, NDR Germany, Dan Rather Reports, ABC’s Pacific Adventures, and NBC’s Today show. In 2007, Jason joined the Board of Directors of the Institute of Nautical Archeology. Currently Jason is based in Victoria, British Columbia where he lives with his wife and baby girl and spends a portion of his year on Maui. openoceanproductions.com
A Bronx-born baby boomer-turned Maui resident, Marty first visited Hawaii in 1972 where he fell in love with. the humpbacks, turtles and other marine life there and began to photograph them. Since then, he has pursued the magic of the oceans' images all over the world. Marty’s images can now be found in galleries and shops throughout Hawaii and has appeared in several books, as well as The New York Times. He is the exclusive photographer for Maui WhaleWatch magazine. martywolff.com
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