White House Science Official to Direct Aquarium's Conservation Research Programs

May 12, 2014

Conservation & Science

In his new position, Kelly will act as the aquarium’s science advisor, and will manage, coordinate and strengthen the aquarium’s science programs and partnerships. These include conservation research focused on sea otters, great white sharks, Pacific bluefin tuna, and other iconic California Current species and ecosystems.

In his distinguished career, which began in the Monterey area, Kelly has served as deputy director of the Arctic division of the National Science Foundation, and as a research scientist at NOAA’s National Marine Mammal Laboratory. He has held leadership and faculty positions at the University of Alaska campuses, advised Alaska Native organizations on sea otter and harbor seal management, and spoken widely on climate change issues.

Kelly has developed and led multi-institutional collaborations within and outside of government to address critical environmental issues, including the impacts of global climate change on ecosystems and people. In Alaska, he worked extensively with indigenous peoples to understand the effects that environmental change is having on their communities and to bring that story to a wider audience.

He is a graduate in biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz, earned his master’s degree from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and his Ph.D. at Purdue University.

“We are fortunate to have someone of Brendan Kelly’s experience and stature as our chief scientist,” said Margaret Spring, vice president of conservation and science for the aquarium. “He will bring tremendous expertise, leadership, and strategic direction to programs and collaborations that are already contributing in significant ways to understanding and protecting some key ocean species and ecosystems.”

The nonprofit Monterey Bay Aquarium celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2014. Its mission is to inspire conservation of the oceans.

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The mission of the nonprofit Monterey Bay Aquarium is to inspire conservation of the ocean.