New faces at the Science Center

Julia McMahonJulia McMahon joined the PWSSC as a full-time research technician in February 2015 and is currently working on two research projects focused on over-wintering energetics of juvenile Pacific herring and hatchery-wild interactions among pink and chum salmon on spawning streams. She is a life-long Alaskan having grown up in Anchorage and has worked on several important marine biology projects throughout the state such as ADFG’s AWL and straying projects here in Prince William Sound and the Chukchi Sea Environmental Studies Program in the Arctic. She completed a BA in Biology at the University of Montana and studied Marine Biology at the University of Waikato in Hamilton, New Zealand and has also worked as a backcountry kayak guide in the Rocky Mountains. When Julia is not in lab, she is most definitely out-of-doors.

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Meadow Scott is a lifetime Alaskan and has been wandering the wilderness of Prince William Sound and the Copper River Delta for more than 10 years. She is a passionate and experienced wild food harvester, naturalist, gardener and wild plant geek, and has taught classes locally in all these subjects. Meadow is also a mother, and especially loves sharing the natural world with kids. Meadow began working for the Science Center’s Education Department in February 2015.

She runs the weekly lecture series, the ROV program, assists with Discovery Room, and leads wild plant walks as often as she can get away with it.

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Pete Rand is a research ecologist with experience working in a variety of freshwater, estuarine and marine environments. He holds a PhD in ecology, and has focused most of his career on studies of salmon biology and life history.  His work has helped advance conservation and fisheries management. He attended Colgate University, and received his graduate degrees from State University of New York, and was a postdoc at University of British Columbia.  He served on the faculty at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina, and was the Conservation Biologist at the Wild Salmon Center in Portland, Oregon before joining the staff at the Prince William Sound Science Center in the spring of 2015. In recent years Pete has been leading studies of salmonids endemic to Asia, including taimen and masu salmon, in Japan, Russia and China. He volunteers as the Chair of the IUCN Salmonid Specialist Group, a small, international group focused on advancing conservation and management, and increasing public awareness, of threatened fishes in the salmon family across the world. At PWSSC he is leading studies of interactions between wild and hatchery Pacific salmon and conducting acoustic surveys of Pacific herring.

irisbiophoto2Iris Rankin joined the PWSSC in July 2015 as the administrative assistant, with some forays into the field as a sampling technician. While her day-to-day work consists more of proofreading than scientific discovery, Iris’s love for the natural world runs deep. Besides having previous administrative and adventuring experience in her home state of Colorado, Iris spent two past summers in Ketchikan, AK, excitedly sharing information about the Tongass National Forest as a boat and hiking naturalist guide. When she’s not in the office, Iris can often be found hiking in the mountains with her dog or otherwise curled up at home with an engrossing book.

This summer we have had a big influx of seasonal staff.

Vivian Gonzalez interned for us from May through August, under the direction of Dr. Kristen Gorman. As part of her undergraduate studies at Bryan College, Vivian processed samples from the Herring Research and Monitoring Program. We wish her the best of luck as she heads back to school and awaits for the arrival of her baby girl!

The ocean test survey portion of the Hatchery Wild Salmon Project brought in two technicians to assist Dr. Pete Rand. Garrett Dunne and Sabrina Moffly have been busy processing salmon sampled with a test gillnet from nine different offshore fishing sites near the Hinchinbrook and Montague entrances to Prince William Sound.

Dr. Kristin Gorman is overseeing the field crews for the stream sampling portion of the HW Salmon Project.

• A field camp at Alice Cove (Simpson Bay) is host to a group of student technicians from Texas A&M led by Dr. Randall Davis. The TAMU crew is sampling one of six study streams involved in a genetic-based study of pink salmon survival.
• A four-member crew on board the Cathy G is sampling streams around Prince William Sound for 10 weeks, focusing on the pink and chum salmon hatchery interactions study.
• A five-member crew on board the Auklet is focused on sampling three study streams, also part of the genetic-based studies of pink salmon survival.
• A field camp in Paddy Bay (western PWS) includes a four-member crew who are intensively sampling two streams that are part of the genetic-based studies of Pink Salmon survival.
• A locally-based crew led by Rosemary McGuire is charged with sampling Hartney Creek and other streams within the eastern PWS from Hinchinbrook Island to Sheep Bay.