About Us

The marine GIS group was developed at the New England Aquarium with the help of the Conservation Technology Support Program grant back in 1995. Since this time, we have been using GIS technology to support the conservation and research mission at the aquarium, "To Present, Promote, and Protect the World of Water." Please contact us with any questions or potential collaborations.

Meet the Group!

Brooke Wikgren Scott Kraus Michael Tlusty
Brooke Wikgren, M.En. Scott Kraus, Ph.D Michael Tlusty, Ph.D
Associate Scientist/GIS Specialist V.P. for Research Director of Research
bwikgren@neaq.org skraus@neaq.org mtlusty@neaq.org

Brooke's research interests focus on using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology to understand the various impacts of human activities on the marine environment and its inhabitants, with a particular focus on the North Atlantic right whale; analyze ocean use conflicts and ecosystem service tradeoffs informing coastal and marine spatial planning; model and map marine species distributions and habitats; track satellite tagged released animals' movements; facilitate geospatial components of the Phoenix Islands Marine Protected Area research; and support conservation initiatives. In addition to her research, she helps integrate GIS technologies in the Aquarium's summer camp program. Brooke also teaches Marine GIS for Boston University's Marine Program.

Dr. Kraus is interested in the biology and conservation problems facing North Atlantic right whales, and also conducts research on methods to reduce bycatch of marine mammals in fishing gear. His recent work on biological hotspots has been focused on trying to understand the connections between the physical oceanography, plankton, fish, and the aggregations of whales and dolphins that such locations attract. He has published over 70 scientific papers on cetacean biology and conservation, and is adjunct faculty at Univ. of Mass. at Boston and the University of Southern Maine. Kraus’ recent research is increasingly focused on conservation issues faced by endangered marine species and habitats, and the difficulties of identifying what animals need to survive in an increasingly urban ocean.

Michael's interests include aquaculture, and the integration of new technological advanced into current production scenarios, analysis of disease looking at changes in host susceptibility as a result of changes in the environment, the production of fish for the pet trade, and leveraging large companies to improve the ecological footprint of seafood production.

Amy Knowlton Monica Zani Moe Brown
Amy Knowlton, M.M.A. Monica Zani Moe Brown, Ph.D.
Research Scientist Research Scientist Senior Scientist
aknowlton@neaq.org mzani@neaq.org mbrown@neaq.org

Amy’s main interest is meshing science with policy to help develop effective protection measures for right whales. She has worked to this end on both the ship strike issue and the fishing gear entanglement problem by assessing the level of impact of these activities on right whales and helping to develop policy changes to mitigate these impacts. She is also interested in photo-identification and population monitoring efforts. In addition, Amy has also worked to develop education modules for maritime academies about right whales and ship strikes.

Monica first began working for the Aquarium back in 1993 as a naturalist leading science and whale watching trips. In 1999 she became a USCG licensed 100 ton, near coastal master and begin running whale watch boats commercially out of Boston. In 2000 she began her career in marine research and conservation when she joined the right whale research project at the aquarium. She has conducted both aerial and boat based field work along the east coast of the U.S. Canada and Iceland and also works on the North Atlantic Right Whale Catalog.

Moe's research interests includ ecology, conservation, and behavior of North Atlantic right whale through studies on population biology, distribution, and demographics. The integration of field data and DNA profiles of right whales. Conservation and management of North Atlantic right whales by working with industry and government to develop, implement, and monitor conservation measures to reduce the impact of ship strikes and fishing on their recovery.

Randi Rotjan Connie Merigo Kate McClellan
Randi Rotjan, Ph.D Connie Merigo Kate McClellan, MEM
Associate Scientist Stranding Program Manager Assistant Scientist
rrotjan@neaq.org cmerigo@neaq.org kmcclellan@neaq.org

Dr. Rotjan's research addresses the interface between ecology, symbiosis, and behavior to ultimately determine how organisms interact with their environments. Although she works on a wide variety of model organisms, Randi most often works on ecosystem engineers, which are organisms that have a disproportionate influence on their habitat (such as reef-building corals). Randi uses an integrative approach, combining exploratory observations with manipulative experiments to discover the patterns and uncover the mechanisms guiding ecosystem engineer performance. In addition, Dr. Rotjan also studies hermit crab shell choice behavior, the conservation ecology of tropical reef communities, trophic dynamics and corallivory, and the evolution and ecology of symbiosis in marine invertebrates. She provides updates on her research in the Phoenix Islands on the Phoenix Islands Expedition blog.

Connie is the Stranding Program Manager. Her interests include using satellite tag data from rescued, tagged, and released animals to gain information about their post-release behavior, survial, migration, and habitat use, as well as examining how the Aquarium's rehabilitation techniques affect the animals once released back into the wild.

Kate McClellan joined the New England Aquarium's Consortium for Wildlife Bycatch Reduction as an Assistant Scientist in 2010. Ms McClellan has worked in both marine policy, on coastal and marine spatial planning, and in marine science, on the effectiveness of marine reserves for protecting reef fish and coral, lemon shark and sea turtle ecology, and coral reef health. She has a master's degree in Coastal Environmental Management from Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment.