WCS North America

Staff

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Merry Camhi
Director, New York Seascape
Dr. Merry Camhi is the Director of WCS’s New York Seascape, a joint program of the New York Aquarium and the Global Marine Program. Launched in July 2010 as the first WCS seascape in North America, this initiative seeks to raise public awareness and take action to conserve threatened marine wildlife in the New York Bight, through conservation research, citizen science and education, and advocacy to improve management policies. Current New York Seascape projects include acoustic and satellite tagging of sharks to better understand their movements and habitat needs in the Mid Atlantic and development of a management plan for American eel and alewife in the Bronx River. Merry has worked in marine conservation since receiving her Ph.D. in Ecology from Rutgers University, where she studied sea turtles in Costa Rica and Georgia. She then worked for ten years as a scientist and then assistant director of Audubon’s Living Oceans Program. Her efforts have focused on domestic and international conservation and management of large ocean fishes, and sharks in particular. She has been a member of the IUCN Shark Specialist Group since 1994, and previously served as Deputy Chair and co-editor of Shark News. In 2007, she was the Content Coordinator for the American Museum of Natural History’s exhibition Water: H20 = Life. Her most recent publications are a co-authored IUCN report The Conservation Status of Pelagic Sharks and Rays (2009), and the co-edited book Sharks of the Open Ocean (Wiley-Blackwell, 2008).
Mike McClintock
Director of Revenue Development
Mike McClintock is WCS Canada’s Director of Revenue Development. He has worked as senior fundraising executive and consultant with a variety of international, national, and local charitable organizations and institutions in areas such as conservation and the environment, education, medical research, health care, international aid and development, arts and culture and social justice. Mike has a BA in sociology and political science from McGill and an MA in political science from the University of Toronto.
Molly Cross
Climate Change Adaptation Coordinator
Molly Cross, Ph.D., is the Climate Change Adaptation Coordinator for the North America Program of the Wildlife Conservation Society. Her work focuses on bringing together science experts and conservation practitioners to translate broad-brush climate change adaptation strategies into on-the-ground conservation actions. Molly is helping to lead climate change planning efforts involving diverse stakeholders at several landscapes across North America, focused on a range of targets from individual species to more complex ecosystems. She recently co-edited the book Climate and Conservation: Landscape and Seascape Science, Planning and Action, and co-wrote a guidebook and associated training course on Scenario Planning as a tool for climate change adaptation. Molly has contributed to several national climate change efforts including the U.S. National Climate Assessment, the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies guidance on incorporating climate change into state wildlife action plans, and the Climate-Smart Conservation guide to climate adaptation. She is the Science Advisor to the WCS Climate Adaptation Fund, which supports applied projects demonstrating effective interventions for wildlife adaptation to climate change. Molly got her Ph.D. in Environmental Science, Policy and Management from the University of California, Berkeley, where she studied ecosystem responses to climate warming and plant diversity loss in the Colorado Rocky Mountains.
Morgan Martin
Post-Doctoral Fellow
Morgan Martin is a Postdoctoral Fellow with WCS Canada’s Western Arctic Program and the University of Victoria and studies the behavioural reactions of bowhead whales to ship traffic and underwater noise in the Arctic ocean. Morgan is passionate about marine mammal acoustic research and related conservation efforts. Prior to joining WCS Canada, she received a PhD in Zoology from the University of Pretoria in South Africa. She holds an MSc in Marine Science from the University of San Diego, California, and a BSc in Biology from the University of New Orleans, Louisiana. Morgan is a previous Fulbright Scholar and a National Geographic Emerging Explorer. She conducted her PhD research in Namibia, southern Africa, on the abundance and underwater acoustics of two species of wild African dolphins: Heaviside’s dolphins and dusky dolphins. Her PhD research is the first to show that a toothed whale (Heaviside’s dolphins) can produce two distinct types of echolocation clicks, which questions what we currently understand about how toothed whales produce biosonar.
Niki Diogou
Post-Doctoral Fellow
Niki is a Postdoctoral Fellow with WCS Canada’s Western Arctic Program and the University of Victoria assessing spatiotemporal patterns of bowhead presence and underwater noise in the Western Canadian Arctic. A bioacoustician and oceanographer, Niki completed her PhD at the University of the Aegean in Greece, in collaboration with the Oregon State University. She uses passive acoustic recordings to investigate marine mammal presence in remote and inaccessible locations and answer ecological questions. During her PhD, Niki focused on sperm whales in Alaska and eastern Mediterranean Sea, but her scientific interests expand to the acoustics of the entire marine ecosystem, including all vocal animals, geophysical and anthropogenic noise. Niki scientific writings encompass the quantification of cetacean temporal distribution and how it may be influenced by climate change and oceanographic shifts. Niki’s research is motivated by conservation efforts and the potential harassment caused to marine wildlife from manmade noise and global warming. Niki, served as the founder and Director of a popular science festival in Greece (Pint of Science Greece), and is an advocate of the importance of science communication. A large part of her early career involved working for the protection of the Mediterranean sea turtles, allowing her extensive collaboration with different stakeholders and contributing directly to the conservation efforts of the Mediterranean marine ecosystem. Her passion for the oceans and seas are major drivers for her science.
Piia Kortsalo
Geomatics Specialist
Piia Kortsalo is a Geomatics Specialist, providing GIS analysis and remote sensing support to the WCS Canada Northern Boreal Mountains and Arctic Beringia conservation programs in Whitehorse, Yukon. Piia has a Master's degree in Physical Geography from University of Oulu, Finland, where she used GIS methods to study the effects of boreal landscape structure on the distribution and breeding success of resident songbirds. While studying, she also taught basic and intermediate spatial analysis courses and supported other GIS projects at her university. Prior to joining WCS Canada in 2017, Piia worked as a Geospatial Analyst examining climate data and climate change scenarios for environmental projects in Alaska. Piia also volunteered for a conservation organization providing fieldwork support on a study investigating landscape use by gray wolves and snow leopards in Central Asia.
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Priscila Napoli
Fundraising Associate
As Fundraising Associate, Priscila supports WCS Canada’s fundraising team to maintain and improve donor stewardship. Priscila has over 10 years of experience in fundraising, grant management and project coordination, most of them working in conservation organizations in Brazil and in Canada. She holds a bachelor's degree in Social Communication and postgraduate degrees in Business Administration and in Sustainability Management, where she dedicated her research project to the theme of payment for environmental services and biodiversity conservation. Before joining WCS Canada as Fundraising Associate, Priscila worked in a number of organizations, including the University of Calgary's Faculty of Science, the Nature Conservancy of Canada, BirdLife/SAVE Brasil and Siemens Brasil.
Rebecca Bentzen
Arctic Beringia Avian Research Coordinator
Rebecca completed her Ph D in Biological Sciences at the University of Alaska (Fairbanks), working on King Eiders breeding in northern Alaska. After graduating, she continued research on northern breeding birds, investigating migratory pathways, habitat use, and population demographics resulting in multiple publications in leading journals. She is a life-long resident of the north having lived and worked in Alaska, the Canadian Arctic, and Scandinavia, and is interested in the critical conservation issues and research needs facing the Arctic, its people, habitats, and wildlife.
Renee Seidler
Pronghorn Field Leader
Renee is originally from the Pacific Northwest. She received her B.S. in Molecular and Microbiology from Arizona State University and her Masters degree in Wildlife Biology from Utah State University. She began working with WCS in 2003 and helped to launch the Wildlife and Energy Development project in the Upper Green River Basin in 2005. She has conducted behavioral and ecological research on coyotes, wolves, moose, pronghorn, small mammals, and birds in Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, and Panama. She is composing manuscripts from her thesis work on coyote predation management and was awarded the Richard Denny Best Speaker Award by the Colorado Chapter of The Wildlife Society for presentation of this work. Renee's area of expertise is in field design and research.
Riley Pollom
BC KBA Regional Coordinator
Riley is the BC Key Biodiversity Areas Regional Coordinator, and supports the work of the Canada KBA Coalition on the Pacific coast. Originally from the prairies, Riley has worked on species and ecosystem conservation across Canada and internationally. He has bachelors degrees in Ecology and Geography from the University of Calgary and a MSc in Biology from Memorial University of Newfoundland. He has worked in terrestrial, freshwater, and marine systems on a variety of taxa, including sharks and rays, seahorses, pipefishes and seadragons, large cats, small mammals, prairie grasses, herbaceous plants, and mosses. This work has involved a diversity of stakeholders, including governments, NGOs, consultants, landowners, and the zoo and aquarium community. Riley has co-authored or facilitated over 600 species assessments for the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, and is a certified Red List Trainer. His Red List work has included organizing international multistakeholder workshops in Brazil, Canada, Colombia, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and USA.
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