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From the Arctic to The White House to the Aquarium: Welcome Dr. Brendan Kelly!
Dr. Brendan P. Kelly is joining the Monterey Bay Aquarium team as director of conservation research and chief scientist after leaving his current position as assistant director for polar sciences in the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy.
As our chief scientist, Dr. Kelly will head up our science programs and partnerships, including conservation research initiatives focused on sea otters, great white sharks, Pacific bluefin tuna, and other iconic California Current species and ecosystems.
During his ringed seal research on the Arctic sea ice (pictured above), his Labrador retrievers weren’t just along for the ride. He’s trained them to locate the breathing holes and birth lairs maintained by the seals and hidden beneath the snow.
Dr. Kelly’s 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. His expertise includes leading multi-institutional collaborations within and outside of government to address key environmental issues—and especially the impacts of global climate change on ecosystems and people. In Alaska, he worked with the indigenous peoples to better understand the effects environmental change is having on their communities, and to bring that story to a wider audience.
Monterey and UCSC roots
Dr. Kelly’s career began in the Monterey region, where he graduated in biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz. He went on to earn his master’s degree from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and his Ph.D. at Purdue University.
We’re pleased he’ll be joining us and look forward to him taking our efforts to ensure a future with healthy oceans to a new level!