RON NAVEEN

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Ron is the founder and chief operating officer of the nonprofit science and education foundation Oceanites, Inc., and the principal investigator of the Antarctic Site Inventory project.

He is the lead author and photographer of: Wild Ice: Antarctic Journeys (1990), and the author of Antarctica: A Biology Reader (1992), Waiting To Fly: My Escapades with The Penguins Of Antarctica (1999), and The Oceanites Site Guide To The Antarctic Peninsula (2005, 2d edition).

Ron has been visiting Antarctica regularly since 1983, initially as an expedition leader and lecturer, more recently as a researcher. He has been a member of the US Delegation to Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meetings since 1992.

Prior to the full-fledging of his present career, Ron spent four years as the US government’s marine mammal attorney in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; edited Birding, the journal of the American Birding Association; and was a co-founder of International Student Research, an organization of educators and naturalists training aspiring student-scientists to work in various international and national locations.

HEATHER LYNCH

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Heather is an assistant research scientist working in Dr. William Fagan’s Conservation Biology Lab at the University of Maryland. Currently, Heather is spearheading a new collaboration between the Fagan Lab and Oceanites, Inc. to analyze the Antarctic Site Inventory database for changes in the populations of breeding birds along the Antarctic Peninsula. A specialist in spatial ecology, Heather is applying state-of-the-art statistical methods to track how spatial patterns in penguin population changes may be linked to underlying changes in climate, ice coverage, or food availability.

This is Heather’s third Antarctic season, having previously worked at the Oceanites/Antarctic Site Inventory team field camp at Petermann Island and on the National Geographic Endeavour.

Prior to working on penguins, Heather completed her Ph.D. in Biology at Harvard University. Her thesis research involved a spatial statistical analysis of insect outbreak/forest fire dynamics in Yellowstone National Park and the implications these interactions have for forest management.

JOHN CARLSON

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John is a senior researcher with Oceanites’ Antarctic Site Inventory project.
He was born and raised in northeastern Montana and has had a strong interest in wildlife — and birds in particular — for as long as he can remember.
John has conducted research on a wide variety of animal species from one end of the world to the other, including seabird research in the Antarctic, the Bering Sea, and northern Baffin Bay. He has been visiting the Antarctic for the past 12 years where he has shoveled snow as a General Assistant for the U.S. Antarctic Research Program and conducted research on Adélie Penguins as a graduate student.  In addition to being a research associate with Oceanites, he leads tours in southern Chile for Lindblad Expeditions.

Closer to home John has investigated a number of wildlife species including Harlequin Ducks, Black-footed Ferrets, Boreal Owls, Greater Sage-grouse, grassland birds, and bats. In addition, he has published a number of articles related to birds and birding.
John is the Wildlife Biologist with the Bureau of Land Management in Glasgow, Montana. He obtained his BA in Zoology from the University of Montana and MS in Zoology and Physiology from the University of Wyoming. He lives in Fort Peck, Montana with his very patient and understanding wife Laura, and sons Benton and Crean.

PAULA CASANOVAS

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Paula is a new PhD student in William Fagan’s Conservation Biology lab, at the University of Maryland, and she is also a new contributor of Oceanites and the Antarctic Site Inventory. This Antarctic season will be her first one.

She’s native of Argentina, and she had been living in the Argentinean Patagonia until she finished her Licentiate degree on Biology at the Universidad Nacional del Comahue. Most of Paula’s undergraduate research experience focused on Conservation Biology. These works included a combination of mathematical models with field research, and studies of regional ecology of high mountain environments. The main topic of her licentiate thesis was the biology of a high altitude frog species and its role as an indicator of the conservation status of the environment where it lives. Her work as research assistant was also linked with this study area.

During the last year, Paula has been working on a meta-database that includes a number of different databases of species biodiversity for the Antarctic Peninsula to answer questions regarding island biogeography. She wants to develop part of her dissertation around this topic, and she hopes to include her work with Oceanites and the Antarctic Site Inventory on her PhD research project.

ROSI DAGIT

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Rosi Dagit is a senior research associate with Oceanites and the Antarctic Site Inventory.

She has worked on the project since its inception in 1994, dividing time between National Geographic Endeavour and the Oceanites campsite on Petermann Island. This is her 14th season in Antarctica.

Rosi began her career in marine biology in 1976 after training dolphins and working on boats in the Florida Keys. Since then, she has worked on a variety of projects in wonderful parts of the world from the Galapagos to the Gulf of Saint Lawrence.

Rosi is a Senior Conservation Biologist and certified arborist for the Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains, and is currently conducting research on bats, frogs, steelhead trout, pond turtles and trees. She has written numerous scientific articles on these subjects, provides a regular column in the Topanga Messenger Newspaper on environmental issues, and is the author of GRANDMOTHER OAK (Roberts Rinehart Press, 1996), a children’s book about a tree growing in Topanga State Park.

Rosi lives in Topanga, CA. with her husband Chris Denny, and their son Sean.

STEVE FORREST

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Steve Forrest is a senior research scientist with Oceanites’ Antarctic Site Inventory, and has worked on the project since 1995.

Both a biologist and an attorney, Steve is a graduate of the School of Forestry, Oregon State University, holds an M.S. in Environmental Studies from the Yale University School of Forestry, and a J.D. from the University of Washington School of Law. A native of Wyoming, Steve lives in Bozeman, Montana.

Steve has had an active career in research biology since 1977, beginning as a researcher with the Pacific Northwest Forest Sciences Laboratory in Corvallis, Oregon. From 1982-1985, he led field studies of the highly endangered and presumed extinct black-footed ferret in Wyoming, one of the first comprehensive studies of the biology and conservation of this rare mammal. At present, he’s also employed as the Manager of Restoration Science with World Wildlife Fund’s Northern Great Plains Ecoregion program.

Steve has authored more than 30 scientific articles on black-footed ferrets and prairie dogs, including the book Prairie Night (Smithsonian Press, 1996), an account of the rediscovery and life history of the black-footed ferret. He has published articles on tourism and bird species occurrence and distribution in the Antarctic, and the winter physiology of pine martens in Wyoming. He was a founding board member of the Montana Outdoor Science School, and serves as member of the IUCN Bison Specialist Group and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Black-footed Ferret Recovery Implementation Team.

EVAN H. CAMPBELL GRANT

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Evan is one of the Oceanites-Antarctic Site Inventory researchers working this season on National Geographic Endeavour. This is Evan’s first season in Antarctica, though he spends plenty of time outdoors in the northern hemisphere, collecting field data on salamanders across the northeastern United States.

Evan works for the US Geological Survey at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Laurel, MD. He is also associated with the Conservation Biology Lab of William Fagan at the University of Maryland, which, in concert with Oceanites and the Antarctic Site Inventory, is analyzing the Antarctic Site Inventory database for changes in the populations of breeding birds along the Antarctic Peninsula.

In his doctoral research, he is investigating how salamander movement is related to the spatial layout of their habitat. Using ecological, theoretical and statistical tools, combined with a translocation experiment of a population of stream salamanders, Evan is investigating the factors important to stability of stream salamander populations. On a larger scale, he also examines the factors influencing the suitability of different landscapes for amphibian populations.

ELISE LARSEN

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Elise is a graduate student working toward her Ph.D. in Biology under Dr. William Fagan at the University of Maryland. Currently, Elise is developing her dissertation research project, related to avian responses to disturbance. Elise expects to apply her background in spatial ecology to better understand the spatial and temporal dynamics of avian populations in response to environmental change. She spent the past summer studying breeding birds at Mt. St. Helens. Elise is excited to contribute to the collaboration between Dr. Fagan’s Conservation Biology Lab, Oceanites, and the Antarctic Site Inventory. This will be Elise’s first Antarctic season.

Prior to joining the Fagan lab, Elise completed an M.S. in Biology at the College of William and Mary, where she researched avian diversity and community composition across a gradient of urban development. Previously, Elise has also coordinated a Monitoring System for pesticide poisonings of wild birds for American Bird Conservancy, and worked on the U.S.G.S. Contaminant Exposure and Effects – Terrestrial Vertebrates (CEE-TV) database.

MEGAN McOSKER

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Megan McOsker, is a senior research scientist with Oceanites’ Antarctic Site Inventory project, which gathers critical baseline data on the living creatures of the Antarctic Peninsula. 

She has been working in the Antarctic Peninsula since 1992, is grateful for the opportunity to have spent so much time in this incredible part of the world, and truly enjoys sharing her knowledge with fellow expedition guests and adventurers.
After graduating from College of the Atlantic, Megan spent several years in the field as a naturalist on expedition ships and a researcher on whale and seabird research projects. In addition to the Antarctic, her work has taken her to the Arctic, Amazon, Indonesia, Siberia, and the coastal waters of the United States and Canada. 

Megan’s relationship with penguins began as an undergraduate when she spent a season with the Magellanic penguins of Punta Tombo, Argentina. It deepened considerably during her years of full time work on expedition ships.

In 1998 she and her husband, expedition leader Matt Drennan, decided to have chicks of their own — two girls, and she is currently working towards her masters degree in teaching at the University of Maine. 

AILEEN MILLER

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Aileen is a research scientist with Oceanites’ Antarctic Site Inventory project, working this season on the National Geographic Explorer. This is her sixth year working in the Antarctic and her second with Oceanites.

Aileen first worked for Oceanites at their field camp at Petermann Island studying the population and breeding patterns of Adèlie and gentoo penguins. She has also worked at a remote field camp in the South Shetland Islands studying penguins and seals, and she has worked on research vessels studying Antarctic krill and other zooplankton.

Aileen’s research focus is on the foraging ecology of penguins, looking at what they eat and how and where they find it. She is a biologist with the Antarctic group of the National Marine Fisheries Service contributing to research on how fishing and climate change may affect penguins.

Aileen is a native of Portland, Oregon and a graduate of Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. Before beginning work in the Antarctic, she studied seabirds off the coast of California and in Alaska. She is generally fanatic about birds and about spending time outdoors.

THOMAS MUELLER

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Thomas had his first experience with penguins analyzing data sets that Oceanites researchers had collected across the entire Antarctic Peninsula for the Antarctic Site Inventory. The previous two seasons, he worked both at the Oceanites field camp at Petermann Island, as well as on board NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC ENDEAVOUR.

He is associated with the Conservation Biology Lab of William Fagan at the University of Maryland, which, in concert with Oceanites and the Antarctic Site Inventory, is analyzing the Antarctic Site Inventory database for changes in the populations of breeding birds along the Antarctic Peninsula.

His doctoral work at the University of Maryland examines the long distance movements of gazelles in the Eastern Steppes of Mongolia, linking data of biomass productivity from satellite images with GPS locations of animal migrations. Thomas’s graduate work involves a close association with the Smithsonian Institiution’s National Zoo.

For his Masters degree he studied habitat requirements of common ravens in eastern Poland and has published several papers on ecology and conservation biology. He also has worked on several field projects in Myanmar such as tracking movements of Asian elephants and detecting deforestation from satellites.

MIKE POLITO

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Mike is a research scientist with Oceanites’ Antarctic Site Inventory project working this season on the National Geographic Endeavour. This is his fourth season working with Oceanites and his eighth season in the Antarctic.

Mike is a Ph.D. student at the University Of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) and is working in collaboration with Oceanites to examine the diets and foraging habitat of Antarctic penguins using stable isotope analysis. By using the principle of “you are what you eat” Mike’s research estimates penguin diets by studying the isotopic composition of tissues such as eggshells and feathers.

Mike is native of Cleveland, Ohio and received his B.S. in Marine Biology at UNCW. Before working in the Antarctic, Mike studied marine birds at remote field camps along the coast of California and Alaska for both nonprofit and governmental agencies. Mike now resides in Wilmington, NC where he spends his free time fishing, birding and playing pub trivia.

MELISSA RIDER

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Melissa is one of the Oceanites-Antarctic Site Inventory researchers working this season on National Geographic Endeavour. She has been supporting polar research funded by the United States Antarctic Program since 1994.

She has worked in a variety of field settings on the Antarctic continent as well as spending several seasons at McMurdo and South Pole Stations.

A biologist by training, she is very pleased to be a part of the Oceanites research project on Petermann Island, where she has served as the Field Camp Manager for four seasons.

When not in the Antarctic, Melissa resides in Colorado where she works for Raytheon Polar Services, the support contractor for the National Science Foundation’s Antarctic research program.

Melissa enjoys remote environments. She has worked as an outdoor educator and often spends free time hiking and climbing in wilderness areas around the world.

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