Committee and Staff Biographies
Douglas Wartzok (Chair) is the vice-provost for academic affairs, dean of the University Graduate School, and professor of biology of Florida International University. Dr. Wartzok served as the associate vice-chancellor for research, dean of the graduate school, and professor of biology at the University of Missouri-St. Louis for 10 years. For the last 30 years, his research has focused on sensory systems of marine mammals and the development of new techniques to study the animals and their use of sensory systems in their natural environment. He and his colleagues have developed acoustic tracking systems for studying seals and radio and satellite tracking systems for studying whales. For 8 years, he edited Marine Mammal Science, he is now editor emeritus. Dr. Warzok served on the National Research Council panel that produced the report Ocean Noise and Marine Mammals (2003).
Jeanne Altmann is a professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton University, a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and a fellow of the Animal Behavior Society. Dr. Altmann pioneered the quantitative study of ecology, demography, and genetics of wild primates and standardized methods for observation of behavior. She carried out groundbreaking work on selection pressures on mothers and established the baseline against which primate life-history studies are compared. Dr. Altmann’s current research centers on the magnitude and sources of variability in primate life histories, parental care, and behavioral ontogeny. She is analyzing sources of variability in baboon
groups and examining patterns in baboon stability in groups and populations. Her major research interests include nonexperimental research design and analysis and behavioral aspects of conservation. Dr. Altmann has a BA in mathematics and a PhD in behavioral sciences.
Whitlow Au is the chief scientist of the Marine Mammal Research Program at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology. He performs research on auditory processes, signal processing, and echolocation primarily in dolphins and whales but also in other species. His research involves psychophysical testing, electrophysiological measurements, underwater acoustics measurements, computer modeling of auditory systems, and artificial neural network computations. Dr. Au is interested in the bioacoustics of marine organisms, from the detection and characterization of sounds to their social and ecologic implications. Dr. Au served as a reviewer on earlier National Research Council reports and is a member of the NRC’s Ocean Studies Board.
Katherine Ralls is a senior scientist at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Zoological Park. She has broad interests in behavioral ecology, genetics, and conservation of mammals, both terrestrial and marine. Her early research focused on mammalian scent marking, sexual dimorphism, the behavior of captive ungulates, and inbreeding depression in captive mammals and laid the foundations for the genetic and demographic management of captive populations. She is known for her research on endangered and threatened mammals in the western United States, particularly sea otters and kit foxes. Dr. Ralls is a fellow of the Animal Behavior Society and received the Merriam Award from the American Society of Mammalogists and the LaRoe Award from the Society of Conservation Biology. She has served on two previous National Research Council panels.
Anthony M. Starfield is a professor of ecology, evolution and behavior at the University of Minnesota. He obtained a BSc in applied mathematics in 1962 and a PhD in mining engineering in 1965 at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. As an applied mathematician, Dr. Starfield uses quantitative modeling as the bridge between science and management, with particular interest in conservation management. His projects have been as diverse as a population model of the Hawaiian monk seal and a model to explore the likely consequences of climate change for the Alaskan tundra. Dr. Starfield has taught workshops on modeling and decision analysis to
over 800 conservation scientists and resource managers around the world during the last 10 years. He chaired the annual review committee of the Earth Sciences Division of Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory in 1989 and 1995.
Peter L. Tyack earned his PhD in animal behavior from Rockefeller University in 1982. His research interests include social behavior and vocalizations of cetaceans, including vocal learning and mimicry in their natural communication systems and their responses to human noise. Dr.Tyack has been a senior scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution since 1999. He served on National Research Council panels that examined the effects of low-frequency sound on marine mammals in 1994 and 2000.
Jennifer Merrill is a senior program officer of the Ocean Studies Board (OSB), and has directed studies since 2001. She earned her PhD in marine and estuarine environmental science from the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Horn Point Laboratory. She directed the National Research Council studies that led to the reports on Marine Biotechnology in the Twenty-first Century: Problems, Promise, and Products (2002), Ocean Noise and Marine Mammals (2003), and Exploration of the Seas: Voyage into the Unknown (2003). In addition, she assisted with the report Oil in the Sea III (2003) and the Committee to Review Activities Authorized Under the Methane Hydrate Research and Development Act of 2000, and she serves as the OSB staff contact for the International Council of Scientific Union’s Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research.
Sarah Capote is a senior program assistant with the Ocean Studies Board. She earned her BA in history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2001. During her tenure with the board, Ms. Capote has worked on the following reports: Exploration of the Seas: Voyage into the Unknown (2003), Nonnative Oysters in the Chesapeake Bay (2004), Future Needs in Deep Submergence Science: Occupied and Unoccupied Vehicles in Basic Ocean Research (2004), the interim report Elements of a Science Plan for the North Pacific Research Board (2004), and A Vision for the International Polar Year 2007-2008 (2004).