Paula Ayotte is acting as fish team lead during the NOWRAMP cruise. Paula has participated in 7 Reef Assessment and Monitoring Program (RAMP) cruises, doing fish surveys at over 40 Pacific islands as an employee of the Coral Reef Ecosystem Division (CRED) of the Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center and as a partner of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.
During RAMP cruises, the fish team dives at as many as 9 sites per day to assess fish diversity and abundance. Surveys take place at depths ranging from a few feet up 100 feet using two methods: stationary counts and belt transect surveys. Fish team members need to have in-depth knowledge of Hawaiian fish taxonomy as they count and size hundreds of swirling fish and classify them in one of the 200 or so species recorded by scientists.
Yumi Yasutake is a member of Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument education and outreach team, serving as the Program Coordinator for Mokupapapa Discovery Center, an educational facility in Hilo, Hawaii. Originally from Wailua, Kauai, Yumi is a lifelong fisherman, diver, and overall lover of the ocean. When he's not chasing fish, he's either bow hunting or working in his garden.
Kevin was born and raised in Pennsylvania and attended Edinboro University where he acquired his BS in Biology. After too much cold water diving he conducted coral reef research in Roatan, Honduras and San Salvador, Bahamas. Graduation he worked as a pre-college instructor at Wallop's Island Consortium in Virginia teaching coastal ecology to grade school and high school students. He moved to Hawaii to work as a fisheries observer on the Honolulu tuna and swordfish long line fishing fleet. He has been working with NOAA's Coral Reef Ecosystem Division (CRED) since 2005 when he started with the marine debris team removing derelict fishing gear in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. He has worked with CRED primarily as a Marine Ecosystems Research Specialist and acts as the permit coordinator for monitoring and mapping research the division conducts throughout the Pacific. While primarily a fish diver, he also assists with the divisions other research teams that are focused on coral reef ecosystems in the Line & Phoenix islands and throughout the Marianas and Hawaiian archipelagos.
Dr. Steven G. Smith is a research scientist hailing from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. He has expertise in population dynamics of marine fishes and invertebrates, fisheries assessment, and biostatistics. With his colleague Dr. Jerry Ault, Dr. Smith has been working for the past three years with the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument on the design and implementation of a Monument-wide statistical sampling survey to assess the populations of fishes, benthic invertebrates, and algae in shallow water coral reef habitats (less than 100 feet). He is very excited to participate in the field implementation of the statistical design as a fish survey diver, especially after spending most of his time working for the Monument analyzing data from past research cruises on while his computer in Miami, Florida.
I grew up down east (MA) where I learned to dive, became a captain, and sailed to Hawaii. Here I have found my educational and career pathways to the sea. My background is in Marine Science and Anthropology (UH Hilo) and the practical integration of social and ecological sciences. Currently I work with community-based marine monitoring programs in Puako, West Hawaii, with a special interest in Hawaiian perspectives and Local Ecological Knowledge. I aim to earn my Ph.D. in Zoology at UH Manoa studying the differential effects of removing Roi (an introduced grouper) on the present reef fish assemblage, as well as examine the fundamental vis-à-vis realized niche of Roi under varying levels of competition. Overall, my purpose is to work on, in, and for the ocean, realizing that our lives come from, depend on, and are blessed by water.
Scientist, Photographer, Diver
Originally from Minnesota, Krista attended UC Santa Barbara where she studied Biopsychology. After graduating in 1999, she became certified to dive and shortly thereafter went back to school at Brooks Institute of Photography to pursue a career in underwater photography. She has worked in CA, Oahu and Kona as a dive instructor and has developed her photography portfolio throughout the Pacific. For the past 2 years she has served as the Regional Coordinator for Reef Check Hawaii, a community-based coral reef monitoring and education organization.
Hailey was raised on Maui and graduated from the University of Hawaii Hilo with a B.A. in Marine Science in 2006. An avid diver since the age of twelve, she has always had a devout love of the ocean and fishes in particular. This is her first cruise to the North Western Hawaiian Islands and she couldn't be more excited. She is hoping to get some close encounters with her favorite animal, the tiger shark.
Scientist, Diver, Cultural Resources Researcher
I am a native of the Big Island and a student from the University of Hawai'i at Hilo. My research involvement on the current cruise includes data collection for the RAMP fish surveys, and opihi surveys. I am also working on a traditional ecological knowledge project to make environmental observations of the general behavior and abundance of important targeted resource species found within the monument and comparing these observations to those made in the main Hawiian islands.
Jason Helyer is a benthic researcher with NOAAs Coral Reef Ecosystem Division. After many summers swimming in the green waters of Long Island Sound, he is glad to be diving the pristine waters of the Monument. On this cruise he will be looking at corals... measuring their size and health to investigate coral population structure across the island chain.
Elizabeth was born and raised in Connecticut and attended the University of Vermont where she received a BS in Wildlife Biology. After graduation she traveled in Central America for a year where she volunteered as a diver for a coral reef research project in Honduras, and started her career as a marine biologist. She moved to Kauai in 1997 where she worked at the Hanalei Wildlife refuge. She then spent a few years on Maui working as a dive instructor on a charter sailboat before moving to Oahu. She has worked with NOAA since 2001 when she joined the initial large scale marine debris clean up in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, lead by NMFS Coral Reef Ecosystem Division (CRED). She worked for CRED for 7 years as a Coral Reef Ecosystems Specialist participating in monitoring cruises around the Pacific. She has been with Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument since 2007 as the Research Specialist.
Scientist, Coral Surveys
Rodney Withall works as a biologist within NOAA's Coral Reef Ecosystem Division in Honolulu. Originally from Ontario, Canada, Rodney began scuba diving 15-years ago in the frigid Great Lakes and somehow was inspired to become a marine biologist. He has a BS in marine biology from the University of British Columbia and an MS in biology from the University of New Brunswick where his main research interests were in the biodiversity and molecular systematics of marine macroalgae. He has previously worked at developing DNA-based detection methods for harmful algal blooms and as a dive instructor on Australia's Great Barrier Reef. Having recently expanded his interest to algal-coral interactions and coral ecology, Rodney is aboard coral diversity and size structure surveys. This is his first trip to the Northwest Hawaiian Islands.
Traditional Ecological Knowledge Team
Angela Hi'ilei Kawelo is a lawai'a (fisherwoman) born into a fishing family of Kahalu'u, O'ahu. Hi'ilei has learned and continues to learn the fishing practices of her family from her father. Of the practices taught to her, are that of 'okilo he'e (octopus spotting), lu'u kai (spear fishing), gathering limu (seaweed) and other small invertebrates, net fishing and trap fishing. Hi'ilei is the Executive Director of Paepae o He'eia a non-profit that cares for He'eia Fishpond on the island of O'ahu. This cruise is Hi'ilei's second cruise, the purpose of which is to continue her Traditional Ecological Knowledge project called the Cultural Health Index or Cultural Reef Assessment Model.
Traditional Ecological Knowledge Team
Galbraith "Gabby" Lohiauipo Kawelo is a lawai'a (fisherman), born and raised in Kahalu'u, O'ahu along the shores of Kane'ohe Bay. The calm waters of Kane'ohe Bay allow for many different styles of fishing to be employed. Fishing in the Bay is seasonal. Different species of i'a (fish and invertebrates) and limu (seaweed) are gathered at different times of the year. Gabby is an opportunistic fisherman, season, dictates what is caught. Gabby is a spear fisherman, a net fisherman, a trap fisherman and an 'okilo he'e (ocotpus spotter). Gabby is joining his daughter on this cruise, continuing a Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) project in Paphanaumokuakea.
Graduated from the University of Connecticut in 1997 with a BS. I moved to Hawaii in 1998, graduated with my Ph.D. in Botany in 2006, and have worked at Hawaii Institute for Marine Biology ever since. My primary research focus is on population genetics, evolution, and fisheries management. I specialize in marine invertebrates, such as the Hawaiian limpets (opihi). In my spare time I'm an avid triathlete.
Matt was born and raised on the island of Oahu, but currently works on Maui as a Ranger for DLNR in Ahihi-Kinau Natural Area Reserve, Marine Protected Area in Makena. He attended school at Beloit College and Cornell University majoring in Natural Resource Management.
Kate Cullison leads the intrepid algae team, which is collecting data and samples throughout the monument to determine the species composition and biogeographic distribution of crustose coralline algae in the Hawaiian archipelago. Kate received her biology degree from the University of Maryland while working for the Smithsonian Institution's Marine Systems Lab. She returned to Hawaii in 2005 to study marine algae with the UH botany department under Dr. Isabella Abbott and Celia Smith. She is interested in studying the threats to coastal marine environments, specifically invasive species, pollution, and habitat degradation. This is her third year of research in the Monument aboard the Hi'ialakai.
John works for the Marine Option Program at the University of Hawaii at Hilo and the Marine Science Department as staff support and coordinates scientific diving at UHH. Born and raised in Hawaii, sailing around Ni'ihau as a young kid was the farthest North he has gone in the Hawaiian Islands and he is most excited to be a part of this research trip! Recruited due to his excellent skills with underwater photography and his steadiness as a diver in unpredictable situations, John will be a critical member of the coralline algae team. John's goals on this trip, besides providing research and dive support, is to bring back a sense of some of the research work to share with the students.
Daniel is a GIS Developer for Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument. He received a B.A. in History of Science from the University of Chicago, undertook graduate studies in Anthropology from the University of Virginia, and completed a M.S. in Geographic Information Science from the University of Texas.
NOAA Corps Officer
LTJG Sarah A.T. Harris is a NOAA Corps Officer on assignment to the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument as the Vessel Operations Coordinator. She manages the Monuments three small boats and ensures that the boats as well as all operators are in compliance with the NOAA Small Boat Program. Due to a shortage of coxswains she will be driving the Monuments 19' safe boat, R/V Kaku during the RAMP cruise.