The Northwest Atlantic Seal Research Consortium grew out of a series of workshops that included scientists, resource managers, and recreational fishermen to address issues and concerns related to increasing seal populations along the New England coast.
Recent increases in local seal abundance have led to concerns about fisheries and other interactions between human and seal populations. The urgency of documenting, understanding, and mitigating these interactions has become more apparent, as has the need to improve our understanding of the ecological role of seals in the northeast United States. This encompasses issues such as: how they live, where they go, what they eat, their health and illnesses, and interactions with the world—including humans—around them.
To improve our understanding of the ecological role of seals in the northeast U.S. This will be accomplished through coordinated research efforts, sharing of data, collaboration amongst all stakeholders, a concentrated effort to gain knowledge, and public outreach. The consortium will include scientists (NGOs, universities, state and federal government), fishing community (commercial and recreational), and anyone who shares an interest.
Working collaboratively to improve our understanding of the ecological role of seals in the Northwest Atlantic.
Andrea Bogomolniis a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Connecticut in the Department of Pathobiology and Veterinary Science and a research associate at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Her current research addresses disease in marine mammals and how environmental stressors may affect health. In her research, seals continuously have been found to be the ideal representative sentinel species for monitoring ocean and human health. In addition to disease related research, she is also involved in spearheading seal monitoring, counts and individual photo identification in seals in southern Maine/Northern New Hampshire and is dedicated to increasing communication and collaborations to address and answer questions involving seals in the northeast U.S.
Keith Matassa is coordinator of the University of New England Marine Animal Rehabilitation Center in Biddeford, Maine. His research interests are multifaceted, but center around new and emerging diseases that affect marine animals and humans including transmission of these diseases, immunology systems of marine mammals and antibiotic resistance. He is also involved in research into the disposal of marine mammals by composting and studies the breakdown of persistent and non-persistent contaminants and pharmaceuticals in the compost pile.
Greg Early has worked with marine mammal rescue, rehabilitation research and husbandry programs for over twenty five years and has organized meetings and conferences about pinniped/human interactions on the east and west coasts.
Owen C. Nichols is director of the Marine Fisheries Research program at the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies and a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Massachusetts. His primary research interests include fisheries oceanography, distributional ecology, and marine mammal/fishery interactions. Key elements of his work are direct involvement of fishermen in all aspects of research projects, and the application and deployment of advanced sensing and imaging technology.
Lisa Sette is part of the Marine Animal Entanglement Response Team at the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies (PCCS). She is also working on a seal project with PCCS investigating the movements and site fidelity of gray seals as well as the occurrence of entanglement using photo-identification. Currently, she is monitoring several haul-out locations around the Cape and Islands.
Stephanie Wood has worked on several pinniped studies in the northeast U.S. including seal captures and tagging, aerial survey work and food habits studies. She received a Ph.D. in Biology from the University of Massachusetts, Boston. Her dissertation research focused on the recovering gray seal population in the northeast U.S. She is currently a contract biologist for the Northeast Fisheries Science Center.
Rob DiGiovanni is the foundation director and senior biologist of the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation, in Riverhead, NY.