Our Research Team

Greg Kaufman

Chief Scientist and Founder of Pacific Whale Foundation

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.

Cristina Paola Castro A., Ph.D.

Research Director, Ecuador Research Program

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.

Stephanie Stack, M.Sc.

Senior Research Biologist, Hawaii and Australia Research Programs

Stephanie Currie

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 and Labrador. Her research interests are marine mammal behavior and ecology, and conservation of poorly studied species. 

Stephanie has previously studied behavior of harp and harbor seals in eastern Canada, traveled to Belize, Central America to study habitat use of Antillean manatee and bottlenose dolphin populations, and worked with South African communities on the sustainable use of ocean resources and the need for marine conservation. Her expertise lies in processing geographic data from a variety of species for integration into distribution maps, with a goal of understanding the complexities of our marine ecosystems. She joined Pacific Whale Foundation in February 2013.

Jens Currie, M.Sc.

Senior Research Analyst, Hawaii and Australia Research Programs

Jens Currie

Jens is a marine biologist from Nova Scotia, Canada, with a strong passion for analytic problem solving in the fields of physical oceanography, biology, and ecology. He has completed a Bachelor of Science (Honors) and Master of Science 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 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. He joined Pacific Whale Foundation in February 2013. 

Jessica McCordic, M.Sc.

Research Assistant, Hawaii and Australia Programs 

Jessica McCordicJessica has developed her passion for marine ecology and marine mammalogy throughout her academic career.  She holds a Master of Science in Biology from Syracuse University, and her graduate experience allowed her to delve into the field of marine mammal bioacoustics as she analyzed the stereotyped upcalls of North Atlantic right whales to determine individuality.

While completing her Bachelor of Arts in Human Ecology at College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine, she assisted in several field research projects with Allied Whale, a non-profit marine mammal research group.  There she became involved with the North Atlantic Humpback Whale Catalog, as well as the North Atlantic Finback Whale Catalog. She joined the Pacific Whale Foundation research team in September 2015.

Jenny Roberts 

Marine Naturalist

Jenny Roberts is a marine biologist from River Vale, New Jersey. She started working as a Marine Naturalist for Pacific Whale Foundation after graduating with her Masters in Professional Science degree in Marine Affairs and Policy/Marine Conservation from the University of Miami. With a history in cetacean research throughout her academic career, Jenny decided to become more involved in PWF’s mission to protect the oceans through science and advocacy by volunteering for the research department. she has been updating the Bottlenose Dolphin and Hawaiian Spinner Dolphin photo-ID catalogs, as well as sorting through the North Pacific Humpback Whale catalog searching for fluke matches. In 2017 Jenny was hired under an educational NOAA grant to raise awareness on conservation and marine debris issues, particularly Maui's tobacco-free parks and beaches legislation.

Elizabeth Speith

Paniaka Wetland Restoration Coordinator

Elizabeth Speith is a biologist hailing originally from the Commonwealth of Kentucky with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental and Forest Biology from SUNY-Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, NY. She has a special passion for protecting unique and imperiled biodiversity and engaging community through volunteerism and citizen science. She has spent the past 15 years working with groups throughout Hawaii on terrestrial invasive species issues as an advocate for the early detection and rapid response of invasive species. She is working to restore Paniaka wetland in Makena back to a refugia for endangered water birds, bats, plants, and insects with the help of volunteers and the local community. 

David Holmes

Research Volunteer

Dave started as a research volunteer in November 2011 and is primarily involved in quality control of the South Pacific Humpback Whale catalog. He was born in Abilene, Kansas and holds a BS from Kansas State University. He served in US Army tours in South Korea and Germany, and his work experience includes the Defense Intelligence Agency in the Pentagon and the White Sands Missile Range. Dave retired in 2011 and moved to Maui.  His pastimes include hiking, scenic photography, whalewatching, seashell collecting, and reading.

Lorraine Holmes

Research Volunteer

Lorraine is originally from Hyde Park, NY, and prior to retiring worked as an Administrative Assistant and as an Equine Veterinarian Technician.  Lorraine started volunteering in the research department in November 2011, setting up a library of references. She also volunteers at the Maui Humane Society and enjoys collecting and identifying seashells, partaking in the various activities offered by Kaunoa Senior Center, and trying to make the most of all that Maui has to offer.

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Learn more about how to apply for a Pacific Whale Foundation Research Internship.


Research team members