Kyle Van Houtan, Director of Science

Areas of Expertise:  Marine Biodiversity Conservation, seabird science

Kyle S. Van Houtan oversees the Aquarium’s science and conservation research programs, including those devoted to bluefin tuna, white sharks, sea otters and other species.

Kyle’s research and teaching have focused on multi-faceted approaches to marine biodiversity conservation, and his work spans a range of topics—from animal behavior, foraging ecology and physiology, to fisheries stock assessments, climate change and ecosystem-based management.

His research also explores global change, biodiversity conservation, processes arising from climate, long-term ecological monitoring and ethics.

He came to the Aquarium in 2016 after six years in the director’s office at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center in Hawaii, where he led several initiatives in global change and protected species. His latest research paper detailed the use of bomb radiocarbon from Pacific nuclear tests to aid in the conservation of critically endangered hawksbill sea turtles.

A passionate science and conservation communicator, stories about his research studies have been featured on National Public Radio, in the New York Times, Nature, Science, National Geographic, WIRED, Smithsonian and other outlets.

Kyle is a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers from President Obama for his pioneering research into how climate influences sea turtle populations.

He earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Virginia, a master of science from Stanford University and his Ph.D. from Duke University, where he serves as an adjunct associate professor in the Nicholas School of the Environment.

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