MEET THE TEAM

Dr. Howard Rosenbaum

Dr. Howard Rosenbaum is a Senior Conservation Scientist and Director of the Wildlife Conservation Society's (WCS) Ocean Giants Program, which aims to secure the future of whales, dolphins, and other marine species. He is a Senior Scientist at the American Museum of Natural History, core faculty member at Columbia University E3B Department, a member of the IUCN Cetacean Specialist Group and Important Marine Mammal Areas Task Force, and the International Whaling Commission’s Scientific Committee. Rosenbaum has led marine mammal conservation projects around the world, including the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic Oceans and the Arctic. For more than 30 years, Dr. Rosenbaum's innovative science has helped protect marine species from current and emerging threats in their most important habitats. Rosenbaum is also a member of New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s (NYSERDA) Environmental Technical Working Group and on the Specialist Committee for Best Management Practices related to Offshore Wind Development. Rosenbaum has been a subject matter expert for two past BOEM workshops related to marine mammals and Offshore Wind Development, and recently served on IUCN’s panel on Mitigating Biodiversity Impacts to Wind Energy Development. He has authored 95 peer-reviewed publications, co-edited a book on genomics, and his work has been featured widely in many popular media outlets. In the New York Bight, Rosenbaum leads WCS’s efforts for research and conservation of marine mammals, which includes a collaborative effort to use state-of-the-art near real-time acoustic monitoring and other technologies to study whales and ocean noise. Rosenbaum earned his PhD from Yale University.

 

Dr. Melinda Rekdahl

Dr. Melinda (Mindi) Rekdahl is an Associate Marine Conservation Scientist with the Ocean Giants Program at WCS. Her research interests include bioacoustics, behavioral ecology and marine conservation. More specifically, she is interested in how the acoustic (including biological and anthropogenic noise) and physical environment influence marine mammal behavior and distribution, and how this information can be used to inform conservation and management decisions. Melinda completed her PhD at the University of Queensland and has over 17 years of experience managing and working on marine mammal research and conservation projects in a number of locations around the world including Africa, Australia, Antarctica and now in New York. She has extensive experience coordinating and implementing marine mammal field research projects and is proficient at the use of bioacoustics software packages, detection and localization of cetacean vocalizations from large datasets and ambient noise analyses. She has worked on a range of marine mammal species and has extensive experience deploying PAM equipment, Digital Acoustic Tags (Dtags), collection of biopsy samples, photo identification and all aspects of data collection during aerial and vessel-based surveys. She has over 25 peer-reviewed publications, conference presentations and technical reports. Melinda is an invited member of IUCN SSC Sirenia Specialist Group and a Research Associate at the Centre for Environmental Sustainability in the Earth Institute at Columbia University. She is also a member of NYSERDA’s Marine Mammal Specialist Committee for Best Management Practices and the Marine Mammal Cumulative Impacts Working Group. Melinda has co-supervised a number of graduate and undergraduate Columbia University students.

 

Dr. Anita Murray
Dr. Anita Murray is a Postdoctoral Fellow with the Ocean Giants Program at WCS. She manages the analysis of archived acoustic recordings from the WCS, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), and Equinor passive acoustic monitoring (PAM) program in the Equinor Wind Lease 0512 area. Anita is also a member of NYSERDA’s Marine Mammal Specialist Committee for Best Management Practices and their State of the Science Marine Mammal Cumulative Impacts Working Group. She has over 15 years of experience in bioacoustic (the study of animal sounds) and marine mammal research. Her main research interests include cetacean bioacoustics, animal communication, the evolutionary forces that shape acoustic signal design in cetacean communication, and the impacts of anthropogenic (or man-made) noise on cetacean communication and behavior. She has extensive experience coordinating PAM programs that involve the deployment of acoustic recorders to study baleen whales and anthropogenic noise. She is proficient in computer programming in MATLAB and R for signal processing, detection, classification, ambient noise analyses, statistical modelling, and artificial neural networks. Anita completed her M.A. in Conservation Biology at Columbia University in the City of New York and her PhD at The University of Queensland. Before joining WCS she was a postdoctoral researcher at the Centre for Marine Science & Technology at Curtin University where her work focused on soundscape and ambient noise analyses of baleen whale habitats along the Western Australia coast and she developed a spectrogram cross-correlation detector for Omura’s whale song. She has authored or co-authored over 20 peer-reviewed journal articles, conference presentations, and technical reports. 

Emily Chou

Emily Chou is a Research Assistant with the Ocean Giants Program at WCS. She works on analyzing archived acoustic recordings from the WCS, WHOI, and Equinor PAM program in the Equinor Wind Lease 0512 area, modelling and analyzing habitat use and species distributions off the NYB and Africa, and has led and contributed to various peer-reviewed publications, conference presentations, and policy efforts on anthropogenic underwater noise, critical habitats, and offshore wind. Emily’s main research interests include quantitative and spatially-explicit analyses, especially factors that affect the distribution and habitat use of marine mammals in relation to climate change and human impacts. She is particularly interested in how this work can be used for effective conservation and management efforts, and bridging science and policy. She is also a member of NYSERDA’s Marine Mammal Cumulative Impacts Working Group. Emily completed her M.A. in Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology at Columbia University in the City of New York, modelling the distribution of breeding humpback whale habitats and overlap with cumulative anthropogenic impacts off of Western and Middle Africa.

 

Carissa King

Carissa King is a Research Assistant with the Ocean Giants Program at WCS. She works on analyzing archived acoustic recordings from the WCS, WHOI, and Equinor PAM program in the Equinor Wind Lease 0512 area, habitat use and behavior of cetaceans in the NYB, and managing the WCS humpback whale catalog. Carissa’s main research interests include bioacoustics and marine mammal behavioral ecology. She is particularly interested in how anthropogenic activity and sound influence marine mammal behavior. Carissa completed her M.S. in Biology at the University of North Florida assessing bottlenose dolphin habitat use patterns and the soundscape of the St. Johns River in Jacksonville, FL.




Sarah Trabue

Sarah is a Research Assistant with the Ocean Giants Program at WCS. She works on analyzing archived acoustic recordings from the WCS, WHOI and Equinor PAM program in the Equinor Wind Lease 0512 area, habitat use and behavior of cetaceans in the NYB, population health of small cetaceans in the NYB, and managing the WCS bottlenose dolphin catalog. Her main research interests include using photo-identification to investigate population dynamics in cetaceans and using bioacoustics to understand cetacean distribution and behavior in relation to the surrounding environment. Sarah completed her M.A. in Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology at Columbia University in the City of New York, assessing environmental influences on foraging activity and population health in bottlenose dolphins in the NYB.