External Program Review of Protected Species Science

July, 1 2015 (updated 12/29/2015)

External Program Review of Protected Species Science
The Review is open to the public. To view and listen to the Review online via WebEx web conferencing services, internet access and a phone line is required. Supporting materials, agenda and speaker bios are provided below.

Due to unforeseen power issues on Wednesday afternoon, the Review has been moved to Room 1653 at the NOAA Inouye Regional Center on Ford Island. NOAA offices on Pier 38 will still be broadcasting the Review over a WebEx connection to facilitate public access.

Location:
NOAA offices on Pier 38
1139 N. Nimitz Highway, suite #220
Honolulu, HI 96817

View map of location & parking area

Dates:
July 27-31, 2015

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Contact: chad.sugimoto@noaa.gov

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NOAA Fisheries constantly strives to improve the quality and timeliness of our science at each of the agency's six science centers and the headquarters Office of Science and Technology. A standardized six-year cycle of peer review and evaluation of our fundamental science programs at both the national and regional level help us to stay at the cutting edge of science and still meet the needs of our stakeholders. Each year of the cycle has a specific thematic focus. In 2014, the peer review focused on fisheries stock assessments conducted under mandate of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA). In 2015, the focus is shifting to protected species stock assessment processes and applied research that are conducted pursuant to the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), Endangered Species Act (ESA), Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA) and comparable international agreements.

The Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center (PIFSC) provides data, information, analysis and technical advice to a wide assortment of clients and partners, including the Pacific Islands Regional Office (PIRO) and other offices of NOAA Fisheries, and the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council. Scientific information is produced and assembled by PIFSC and made available to other agencies of NOAA and the Federal government; state and territorial government agencies; university and other scientific research partners, both domestic and international; and the general public.

At the PIFSC's 2015 review, the independent panel will learn about the marine mammal and marine turtle science information needs, priorities and research activities that are relevant to current programs. The review panel will provide input on ways to improve the quality of marine mammal and marine turtle science programs.

The panel of experts will be: David Helweg (USGS Pacific Islands Climate Science Center and Chair), Douglas DeMaster (Alaska Fisheries Science Center, NMFS), Jim Estes (Long Marine Laboratory, University of California at Santa Cruz), Frank Paladino (Indiana-Purdue University), and Robin Waples (Northwest Fisheries Science Center, NMFS).

The PIFSC Program Review will be open to the public and held at the NOAA offices on Pier 38, in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi.

Supporting Materials

Click here to download all supporting materials available below (1.4 MB ZIP)

Bibliographies

Data Stream Tables

Publications

  • Harting AL, Johanos TC, Littnan CL
    2014. Benefits derived from opportunistic survival enhancing interventions for the Hawaiian monk seal: the silver BB paradigm Endangered Species Research 25: 89-96. DOI: 10.3354/esr00612

Species Lists

PIFSC Response, Chair Summary, and Reviewer Reports

Subsequent to the public review, each panelist produces an independent report outlining their individual areas of concern and areas for improvement, along with their personal recommendations for Center actions to overcome these obstacles. The Chair's report synthesizes only those concerns and recommendations shared by the entire panel. The Center's response, and the action items and timelines within it, is framed around the synthesized comments but each report is thoroughly read and its input absorbed for Division strategic planning and improvement.

Agenda and Presentations

Presentations made by PIFSC staff for the review will be posted below as they become available. Click on a topic or adjacent "+/-" to toggle the display of available topic-related presentations.

Click here to download all presentations available below (117.0 MB ZIP)

Click "++" or "––" to toggle display of all topic-related presentations below. –– ++

Day 1 - Monday July 27 at NOAA offices on Pier 38
Time Topic
9:00 AM
Introduction and Charge to Review Panel — Michael Seki
9:15 AM
NMFS HQ Welcome — Ned Cyr
9:25 AM
Introduction to Protected Species — Frank Parrish
9:55 AM
PIRO Protected Resources Division (PRD) Intro and Overview for Hawaiian Monk Seals — Ann Garrett
10:35 AM Break
10:50 AM
Introduction to the Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program — Charles Littnan
11:20 AM
Data Streams Informing Monk Seal Research & Recovery — Stacie Robinson
12:00 PM Public Question and Answer Period #1
12:30 PM Lunch
1:30 PM
Data Management — Vikram Khurana
2:00 PM
Application of Data for Recovery Activities — Jason Baker
2:40 PM
Summary — Charles Littnan
3:10 PM Break
3:20 PM Public Question and Answer Period #2 / Follow Up Questions from the Panel
3:50 PM Break and Public Exits
4:00 PM Closed Session / Drafting of Report by Panel
5:00 PM Adjourn for the Day
Day 2 - Tuesday July 28 at NOAA offices on Pier 38
Time Topic
8:30 AM
Brief Review of Day 1 and Discussion of Schedule for Day 2 — Frank Parrish
8:40 AM
PIRO Overview of Cetacean Priorities — Ann Garrett
9:10 AM
Introduction to the Cetacean Research Program (CRP) — Erin Oleson
9:45 AM
Cetacean Stock Assessment by the CRP — Amanda Bradford
10:25 AM Break
10:40 AM
Passive Acoustic Contributions to Stock Assessment — Erin Oleson
11:20 AM
Data Collection, Archiving, and Stewardship — Marie Hill
11:50 AM Public Question and Answer Period #1
12:20 PM Lunch
1:20 PM
Cetacean Assessment Case Study: False Killer Whales in Hawaiʻi — Amanda Bradford
2:00 PM
Cetacean Research in the Marianas — Marie Hill
2:40 PM
Summary — Erin Oleson
3:10 PM Public Question and Answer Period #2 / Follow Up Questions from the Panel
3:40 PM Break and Public Exits
3:50 PM Closed Session / Drafting of Report by Panel
5:00 PM Adjourn for the Day
Day 3 - Wednesday July 29 at NOAA offices on Pier 38 (moved to NOAA Inouye Regional Center (IRC) on Ford Island after noon)
Time Topic
8:30 AM
Brief Review and Schedule for Day 3 — Frank Parrish
8:40 AM
PIRO Overview of Marine Turtle Priorities — Ann Garrett
9:10 AM
Introduction to the Marine Turtle Biology and Assessment Program — T. Todd Jones
9:45 AM
Historical Overview of Core Marine Turtle Data Streams — George Balazs
10:20 AM Break
10:35 AM
Marine Turtle Strandings and Bycatch Research in the Pacific Island Region, 1982-2014 — Shandell Brunson
11:15 AM
Marine Turtle Assessment in the Nearshore Waters and Nesting Beaches of American Samoa, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas (CNMI) — T. Todd Jones
11:55 AM Public Question and Answer Period #1
12:25 PM Lunch
1:25 AM
An Overview of Marine Turtle Data Management — Shawn Murakawa
2:05 PM
Overview of Analytical Products: Biological Opinions, Status Reviews, Critical Habitat, and Basic Research — Summer Martin
2:50 PM
Summary — T. Todd Jones
3:20 PM Public Question and Answer Period #2 / Follow-up Questions from the Panel
3:50 PM Break and Public Exits
4:00 PM Closed Session / Drafting of Report by Panel
5:00 PM Adjourn for the Day
Day 4 - Thursday July 30 at NOAA Inouye Regional Center (IRC) on Ford Island
Time Topic
8:30 AM
Brief Review and Schedule for Day 4 — Frank Parrish
8:40 AM
PIRO Protected Species Bycatch Overview — Ann Garrett
9:10 AM
Developing Bycatch Reduction Technologies — John Wang
9:40 AM
Sample Designs and Bycatch Estimates — Marti McCracken
10:20 AM
Summary of All Protected Species Division Presentations — Frank Parrish
11:10 AM Break
11:20 AM Final Public Question and Answer Period
12:20 PM Lunch
1:50 PM Closed Session
2:50 PM Drafting of Report by Panel
5:00 PM Adjourn for the Day
Day 5 - Friday July 31 at NOAA Inouye Regional Center (IRC) on Ford Island
Time Topic
9:00 AM Closed Session for Panel to Finalize Report and Recommendations
12:00 PM Lunch - IRC Cafeteria
1:00 PM Closed Session for PIFSC Directors Office and Protected Species Division (PSD) Leadership to Receive Panel Report and Recommendations
2:00 PM Adjourn (and/or finalize reports)

Map of Location and Parking Area

 

NOAA offices on Pier 38 (at 1139 N. Nimitz Highway, suite #220, Honolulu, HI 96817). Parking area for program review attendees is highlighted in red on the map. Click here to reset map.

Speaker Bios

Jason Baker
Jason Baker is a Marine Biologist at NOAA's Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center. He earned a B.A. in Russian and Eastern European International Studies and a M.S. in Wildlife Sciences from the University of Washington, followed by a Ph.D. in Zoology from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. From 1984-1998, he worked at the National Marine Mammal Laboratory, primarily researching northern fur seals and Steller sea lions. In 1998, Jason joined the Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program. His current research centers on determining impediments to Hawaiian monk seal recovery and designing rigorous science-based interventions to improve population status. He is the author or co-author of over 40 peer-reviewed publications on a diverse range of topics including population dynamics, research techniques, population and foraging ecology, evidence-based conservation, climate change, behavior, physiology and health.
George Balazs
George Balazs is a Zoologist with the Marine Turtle Biology & Assessment Program. He saw his first sea turtle in 1964 while exploring the lagoon at Bora Bora, French Polynesia with his wife Linda. A few months later he tried to spear a small turtle for dinner while snorkeling near their home in the Paea district of Tahiti. He missed by only a few inches and the turtle swam away safely. In 1969 he watched commercial turtle hunters on Maui land their catch for nearby restaurants catering to Hawaiʻi's tourists. He wondered if there really were enough turtles to sustain the growing trade in turtle steak. After finishing graduate school he went to work in 1971 for the University of Hawaiʻi as a junior researcher in an aquaculture program that included rearing sea turtles. In 1973, his research interests turned to the conservation biology of wild sea turtles in Hawaiʻi and throughout the Pacific region. For the past 40 years he has pursued an array of studies to aid in understanding and restoring depleted stocks of sea turtles. He is grateful to NOAA Fisheries for supporting and encouraging his efforts for the past 30 years, including current collaborative research with scientists and local communities in Japan, Singapore, China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. "Successful sea turtle conservation programs that endure are best built with local communities as their foundation" is a guiding principle in George Balazs' professional and personal life.
Amanda Bradford
Amanda Bradford is a Research Ecologist with the Cetacean Research Program, where her work focuses on cetacean stock assessment in the Pacific Islands Region. Her core responsibilities include abundance estimation using line-transect and mark-recapture methods, and injury determination of cetaceans observed interacting in the Hawaiʻi and American Samoa longline fisheries and reported injured to NOAA Response Networks. She regularly participates in PIFSC ship and small boat cetacean surveys and routinely supports PIRO and NMFS efforts, such as the False Killer Whale Take Reduction Team and the Injury Determination Staff Working Group, respectively. Amanda has worked at the PIFSC since 2011. She received her B.S. in Marine Biology from Texas A&M University at Galveston and her M.S. and Ph.D. in Aquatic and Fishery Sciences from the University of Washington. Her graduate work focused on the population dynamics and demography of large whales, which involved international fieldwork and research collaboration, as well as conservation and management activities with the IWC and the IUCN.
Shandell Brunson
Shandell Brunson is the Sea Turtle Stranding Coordinator for the Pacific Islands Region with the Marine Turtle Biology & Assessment Program. Shandell first started volunteering at the Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center in 1996 to assist with sea turtle necropsies. Her work now focuses on the coordination of sea turtle strandings with other federal, state, and private entities throughout the Hawaiian Islands. In addition, Shandell conducts and coordinates necropsies on sea turtles for scientific data collection to be entered into Oracle Turtle Data Processing System.
Ned Cyr
Ned Cyr is the Director of the NOAA Fisheries Office of Science and Technology. He received his Ph.D. in Marine Science from the University of South Carolina 1991 and his B.S. from the University of Notre Dame in 1985. He joined NOAA in 1992. He has served as an International Affairs Specialist with NOAA's Office of International Affairs, a Fisheries Biologist with the NOAA Fisheries Office of Protected Resources, Head of the Ocean Science and Living Resources Program of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO and Chief of the Marine Ecosystems Division in the Office of Science and Technology. His interests include fisheries oceanography, the effects of climate change on marine ecosystems, ecosystem approaches to fisheries management, the design and implementation of large-scale marine ecological observing systems, and international ocean science.
Ann Garrett
Ann M. Garrett is the Assistant Regional Administrator for the Protected Resources Division, Pacific Islands Region, National Marine Fisheries Service. As the Division Chief, Ann oversees protected species management and conservation pursuant to the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the Marine Mammal Protection Act throughout Hawaii and the Pacific territories. Ann has worked on protected species conservation for 15 years, and has extensive experience supporting the conservation of listed species under NMFS' jurisdiction through the implementation of the ESA.
Marie Hill
Marie Hill joined the Cetacean Research Program (CRP) in 2006 after receiving her M.S. in Biological Oceanography from Florida State University. In addition to being the JIMAR Supervisor for the CRP, her primary responsibilities include leading small-boat surveys for cetaceans within the Marianas, overseeing the creation of individual photo-identification catalogs, managing survey, photo, satellite tag, and biopsy data and all CRP metadata, marine mammal observing during small-boat and shipboard surveys, and providing logistical support for all surveys.
T. Todd Jones
T. Todd Jones is the Program Leader of the Marine Turtle Biology & Assessment Program within the Protected Species Division. He completed his B.Sc. (2000) and M.Sc. (2004) degrees at Florida Atlantic University in the Department of Biological Sciences and then moved to the Pacific Northwest where he received his Ph.D. (2009) in Zoology from the University of British Columbia. Todd also holds a graduate certificate in Quantitative Fisheries Science from the University of Florida's Institute for Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. He joined NOAA in 2009 and has served as a researcher for both the Fisheries Research and Monitoring Division focusing on marine turtle bycatch issues and the Protected Species Division studying a wide range of marine turtle related issues from marine turtle population ecology to biologging technologies. Todd has published over 35 journal articles and 4 book chapters on original marine turtle research; and, his work has earned him recognition as one of the Top 10 Brilliant Young Scientists by Popular Science Magazine.
Vikram Khurana
Vikram Khurana is a Data Management Specialist with the Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program (HMSRP). He received his M.S. in Management of Information Systems from Texas A&M University at College Station. He had worked at the PIFSC since 2002, first at the Fisheries Research and Monitoring Division and then at the Coral Reef Ecosystem Division and has been with Protected Species Division since 2010, working to improve HMSRP's data management systems. Prior to joining PIFSC, Vikram worked at Dell.
Charles Littnan
Charles Littnan is the Program Leader for the Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program. He has been working on monk seal ecology and recovery issues for over 12 years. His research interests primarily relate to diet and foraging behavior employing a variety of methods and technologies. He received his Ph.D. in Marine Ecology from Macquarie University in 2003 and his B.Sc. from Texas A&M University at Galveston in 1997. Charles serves on the IUCN Pinniped Specialist Group and on the board of the Society for Marine Mammalogy.
Summer Martin
Summer Martin is a National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow in the Marine Turtle Biology & Assessment Program within the Protected Species Division. She completed B.Sc. degrees in Management Science (Economics) and Ecology, Behavior & Evolution at the University of California, San Diego in 2003. After a year as a biologist at NOAA's Southwest Fisheries Science Center and 3+ years as a senior associate at a healthcare financial consulting firm in San Francisco, she returned to graduate school at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at U.C. San Diego. Summer was an interdisciplinary fellow at the Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation at Scripps, where she tied together her interests in natural and social sciences through a dissertation focused on ecosystem-based management applications to oceanic systems. Her research has included the use of large biological, fisheries, oceanographic, and economic datasets to estimate protected species bycatch, analyze oceanic ecosystem services, and develop quantitative models that use fisheries data as indicators of top predator (cetacean, seabird) densities in the eastern tropical Pacific. Summer complemented her dissertation research with hands-on field experiences, through which she worked in a field camp with the Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program and at sea with the PIFSC Cetacean Research Program and the Antarctic Marine Living Resources Program. She completed her Ph.D. in Biological Oceanography in 2014 and moved to Hawaiʻi to join the Marine Turtle Biology and Assessment Program as a NRC Postdoctoral Scholar. Summer's current research focuses on the assessment of marine turtle populations throughout the Pacific Islands.
Marti McCracken
Marti McCracken is a Mathematical Statistician with the Fisheries Biology and Stock Assessment Branch of the Fisheries Research and Monitoring Division. She has been with PIFSC for over 15 years. She previously worked as a Professor of Statistics and statistical researcher. She has a Ph.D. in statistics from Oregon State University and specializes in statistical ecology.
Shawn Murakawa
Shawn Murakawa is a Biological Science Technician with the Marine Turtle Biology & Assessment Program. She was born and raised on the island of Oahu and received her B.S. and M.S. in Animal Sciences from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. She has worked with the PIFSC since 1992. Some of her duties include: manager for the Oracle Turtle Data Processing System, PSD's PARR representative, coordinator for the SWPI Regional IACUC, PSD's representative for the Hawaiʻi Area National Preparedness for Response Exercise Program, and Chief Scientist for the Rose Atoll, American Samoa nesting fieldwork in 2014. Some of the highlights of her work include traveling to Mississippi to coordinate and respond to sea turtle strandings after the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, French Frigate Shoals, and American Samoa. Shawn's research interest is studying sea turtle growth rates using skeletochronology.
Erin Oleson
Erin Oleson is the Program Leader for the Cetacean Research Program. Her primary research focuses on the use of passive acoustic technologies for enhancing cetacean stock assessment. Erin is also actively involved in providing science support to the False Killer Whale Take-Reduction Team, leading Biological Review Teams, and participating in most Program research projects. Erin has been at PIFSC since 2008. She received her B.S in Biology from the University of California San Diego in 1999 and her Ph.D. in Oceanography from Scripps Institution of Oceanography in 2005. Erin received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) in 2010 for her contributions toward advancing acoustic assessment of cetaceans.
Frank Parrish
Frank Parrish is the Director of the Protected Species Division. He has been at the Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center since 1986 and began leading the Division in 2009. He is responsible for overseeing programs that conduct population assessments, ecological studies, and health and disease monitoring for monk seals, cetaceans and sea turtles in the U.S. Pacific Islands. Historically his research emphasis is habitat ecology and he has published on coral reef fish, subphotic fish, sharks, lobster, deep sea and mesophotic corals and the foraging of the endangered Hawaiian monk seal. He has extensive field experience at sea and in remote camps working with scuba, remote operated cameras, manned submersibles, and animal borne instrumentation. He currently serves as a Center's representative for development of advanced sampling technology. Frank has been in Hawaiʻi since high school and he obtained his bachelors, masters and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Hawaiʻi.
Stacie Robinson
Stacie Robinson is a Research Ecologist for the Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program. Her responsibilities include coordinating science activities within the program and with collaborators in other divisions or institutions. She conducts or facilitates research in a variety of areas related to monk seal ecology and conservation including animal movement, behavioral ecology, disease/epidemiology, and fisheries and human interaction. Before joining the monk seal team in 2014, Stacie worked on diverse taxa, topics, and locations, receiving her B.S. (2000) in Wildlife and Fisheries Biology from Louisiana State University, M.S. (2007) in Environmental Sciences from University of Idaho, and Ph.D. (2012) from University of Wisconsin.
Michael Seki
Michael Seki is the Science and Research Director of the Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center where he provides the science direction and oversight of research activities that support stewardship of living marine resources in the vast expanse of the Pacific Islands Region. Since joining NOAA Fisheries in 1980, he has conducted extensive fisheries, oceanographic, and ecosystem research on many marine species in the Pacific region. He has authored or co-authored over 40 scientific papers and has participated on over 20 domestic and international research surveys, serving as the Chief Scientist on 14 of them. Prior to becoming Director, he served as Deputy Director for the Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center; a position he had held since the Science Center was established in April 2003. In that position, he had the overarching responsibility and oversight of all Science Center operations. Born and raised in Hawaiʻi, he received his B.S. in biology from the University of Oregon (Eugene), his M.S. in oceanography from the University of Hawaiʻi (Mānoa), and his Ph.D. in marine environment and resources from Hokkaido University (Graduate School of Fisheries Science in Hakodate).
John Wang
John H. Wang is a Research Ecologist with the International Fisheries Program in the Fisheries Research and Monitoring Division of NOAA - PIFSC. His research interests are focused on the neuroethology of marine animals. He has examined the neurophysiological basis of orientation and navigation as well as utilized the sensory physiology and behavior of marine animals to develop bycatch reduction technologies for a variety of fisheries. John has helped strategized and operationalize regional, national, and international bycatch reduction research needs. His work involves international partnerships throughout Latin America, South America, East Asia, and Southeast Asia. John has collaborated and worked closely with small-scale fishing communities, fishermen, scientists, fisheries managers, and conservation NGOs in many of these countries. He has examined the use of circle hooks for longline fisheries, net illumination for gillnet fisheries, and escape devices for coastal pound nets. John has also has examined how the electrosensory systems of sharks and auditory systems of sea turtles could be exploited to reduce their fisheries interactions. In addition, John is examining how low cost electronic monitoring systems could be used in small- scale fisheries to help understand interaction rates with protected species. John received his B.Sci. in Biology from Duke University and his Ph.D. in Neuroethology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.