Kim Holland, PhD
My interest is in the physiological ecology of marine organisms and in the interface between animal behavior and physiology. In researching these topics, I try to combine laboratory and fieldwork methods to address the questions at hand. Recently, this has taken the form of tracking the movements of pelagic and nearshore fishes and trying to relate their diel movements, home range sizes and swimming strategies to their foraging success and energy budgets. This research also has resource management ramifications. Originally trained as a chemosensory physiologist, I maintain an interest in this field.
Carl Meyer, PhD, FIBiol
My current research focuses on the ecology and management of sharks and reef fishes. I’m interested in the movement patterns, habitat use and trophic ecology of sharks and fishes, and the navigational abilities of sharks. My research addresses a variety of issues of management concern including impacts of shark ecotourism, shark predation on critically endangered species, effectiveness of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and impacts of human recreational activities in MPAs.
Melanie Hutchinson, PhD
Assistant Marine Researcher, JIMAR/PIFSC/NOAA
My overarching research interests are geared towards reducing the negative impacts of commercial fisheries on non-target and sensitive species. I work closely with commercial fisherman and industry personnel to come up with practical solutions to bycatch problems that can be implemented into current fishing practices. I am very interested in the physiology of capture stress and use a variety of physiological techniques to estimate post-release survival rates for sharks that are discarded in commercial fisheries. With this information we can advise fishers on how and/or when to release sharks to improve survival rates. I am also interested in the movement behavior and habitat use of pelagic shark species and use both satellite and acoustic telemetry technologies to investigate where they go and when. The movement data transmitted by the tags helps us devise strategies to reduce interaction rates between sharks and different fishing gears.
I graduated from the University of the Virgin Islands in 2018 having studied sea turtles (Chelonia mydasm, Eretmochelys imbricata), invasive seagrass (Halophila stipulacea), tiger sharks (Galeocerdo cuvier), nassau grouper (Epinephelus striatus) at Scripps, and exoplanets at NASA. I am a Ph.D. student under Dr. Carl Meyer studying reproductive ecology and mating behavior of sandbar sharks (Carcharhinus plumbeus). My research aims to identify critical habitats for sandbars and will be the first to use a novel combination of non-lethal visual tools, such as shark-borne cameras, ultrasonography, and BRUVS (Baited Remote Underwater Video Stations) to characterize shark reproductive ecology. My methodology and results have the potential to further our global knowledge of shark reproduction, mating behavior, and pupping, and facilitate future studies, conservation, and management for ecologically significant apex predators. In addition to research, through scientific communication, I aim to encourage women and minorities to consider careers in science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics (STEAM). In my spare time, I enjoy movie-going, relaxing with my cats, gardening, and scuba diving.
While I am widely interested in the biology and ecology of elasmobranchs and marine fishes, my current research uses a combination of passive and acoustic telemetry to characterize the movements and habitat use of giant trevally (“ulua”) across the Hawaiian Archipelago. In addition, I also use passive acoustic telemetry to determine the horizontal movements and habitat use patterns of vertically migrating bathyal sharks living around Hawaiian submarine canyons, particularly the awesome, slow-moving bluntnose sixgills known as the “wolves of the deepsea canyons”. I love to teach biology and ecology, participate in public outreach, and encourage the next generation to consider careers in STEM fields. While I’m incredibly grateful to be working on Oahu, I have strong southern roots in my hometown in rural Georgia.
Pursuing my MSc in Marine Biology with a thesis based on the natural ecology of shark species associated with North Shore ecotours. Working in HIMB Marine Safety Office as a graduate assistant, I study the proponents and oppositions to global shark ecotourism and I am interested in shark species of the Pacific for genetic drift, population dynamics and patterns of connectivity. Originally from the Bay Area in California I moved to O’ahu after high school to study Biological sciences at HPU. Outside of study hours I began to build experience and credentials working on and in the water as a local dive guide, boat captain, and lifeguard. I worked as a NAUI Divemaster in 2011 until I became a PADI Instructor. In 2015 I started working specifically with sharks, mostly C. galapagensis, C. plumbeus and G. cuvier. I continued diving on island and in 2016-2018 on repeated trips to Mexico to study C. carcharias and various other pelagic sharks in south Baja.
I earned my BSc from Hawai’i Pacific University in 2018 where my capstone research project focused on the movements of oceanic whitetip sharks around fish aggregating devices and was completed with the help of Dr. Melanie Hutchinson and the Shark Tagger team. As an undergraduate I worked with Dr. Jorge Fontes at the University of the Azores and learned about the use of minimally invasive biologging tools on blue sharks and mobula rays; I now use these methods for my thesis research under advisor Dr. Carl Meyer. My current research focuses on decoding scalloped hammerhead shark aggregation behavior around an oceanic island. I use an innovative dorsal fin clamp deployment method to deploy CATS camera accelerometer packages on free swimming scalloped hammerhead sharks at aggregation sites.
Jeff Muir, MSc
Fisheries Research Technician
My research currently focuses on observing tuna interactions with fish aggregating devices (FADs), how fish behave inside a fishing net and tracking large marine animals to document their survival after encountering the fishing process. The observations and data collected from these studies will aid in designing effective ways to avoid bycatch during the fishing process.