Research Scientists

Christopher Chambers

NOAA/NMFS Northeast Fisheries Science Center, Howard Laboratory

Chris is a senior research biologist and leader of the Life History and Recruitment Group at the NOAA Fisheries, Northeast Fisheries Science Center’s Howard Laboratory in Highlands, New Jersey.  His research interests are directed towards the pattern, sources, and consequences of environmentally induced phenotypic variation in fishes.  He takes a three-pronged approach with specifics varying with the current knowledge on the focal topic and taxa.  First, patterns of variation are summarized from his group’s own field and experimental work, augmented by retrospective and comparative studies where appropriate.  Second, sources of variation are usually dealt with in an experimental laboratory context where environmental factors (e.g., temperature, CO2, dissolved oxygen, contaminants) as well as parental contribution to offspring trait variance are assessed in a systematic and statistically rigorous way.  Third, consequences of variation are addressed through experimental studies of selection, from field evidence of selective mortality, or from a modeling framework.  Most of these studies use the early life-stages of marine fishes as subjects because of the magnitude and potential high selective consequences of mortality.  His laboratory facilities at NOAA have the capability of spawning adults and culturing of eggs, larvae, and juveniles in numbers suited for most appropriate experimental designs.  In the ocean acidification context, Chris and his group are applying these experimental methodologies to address the biological responses of finfish, including flatfish and codfish, to elevated CO2 and environmental co-stressors.  Of special interest are responses of the vulnerable early life-stages of fish, how effects pertain to ecological important processes, and the potential of these species to adapt to current and future conditions of coastal and oceanic habitats.


Molly Timmers

NOAA Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research

Molly Timmers is a Marine Ecosystem Project Manager with the NOAA Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research at the University of Hawaii at Manoa and has over 15 years of experience assessing and monitoring coral reefs in the U.S. Pacific Islands. Her research focuses on the distribution and community composition of coral reef cryptofauna. In particular, she integrates genomic techniques with multivariate modeling to evaluate biodiversity across spatial, environmental, and oceanographic gradients. In addition, she is examining how temperature and acidification may impact recruitment, biomass, diversity, and community composition of cryptofauna under future climate scenarios. She earned her undergraduate degree from Hamilton College in Biology (1999), holds a MSc degree in Environmental Science from University of Hawaii at Hilo (2009) and is currently a PhD candidate in the Zoology Department at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.  

Rusty Brainard

Supervisory Oceanographer, NOAA's Coral Reef Ecosystem Program (CREP)

Dr. Rusty Brainard is a supervisory oceanographer and founding Chief since 2000 of NOAA’s Coral Reef Ecosystem Program (CREP), an interdisciplinary, ecosystem-based research program that conducts integrated ecosystem observations, long-term monitoring, and applied research of coral reefs to support ecosystem-based management and conservation across the U.S.-affiliated Pacific Islands. Under his leadership, CREP has been monitoring the distribution, abundance, diversity, and condition of fish, corals, other invertebrates, algae, and microbes in the context of their diverse benthic habitats, human pressures, and changing ocean conditions, including ocean acidification and warming. As part of the National Coral Reef Monitoring Program, Rusty and his team have been developing and implementing integrated and interdisciplinary approaches to understand and monitor the ecological impacts of ocean acidification on coral reefs of the U.S. and internationally. 

Jessica Cross

Research Oceanographer, NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL)

Dr. Jessica N. Cross is a research oceanographer with the NOAA in Seattle, WA. Her current research focuses oncarbon biogeochemistry and ocean acidification in Arctic regions, and especially along the Alaskan coast. The main goal is to better understand how acidification processes interact with natural biogeochemical cycles, and eventually to detect geochemical and biological impacts of acidification in marine systems. Dr. Cross conducts her research across a variety of platforms, including ship-based measurements, moorings, and mobile autonomous platforms like gliders and drones, through NOAA's Innovative Technology for Arctic Exploration Program.  She also broadly participates in the Arctic research community through the North American Carbon Program, the Ocean Carbon Biogeochemistry Program, the Pacific Arctic Group, and the Interagency Research Policy Committee collaboration teams. 

Image of Richard Feely

Richard Feely, Ph.D.

Senior Scientist, NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL)

Dr. Richard A. Feely is a NOAA Senior Fellow at Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle, WA. He also holds an affiliate full professor faculty position at the University of Washington School of Oceanography. His major research areas are carbon cycling and ocean acidification processes in the oceans, making him one of the pioneers worldwide in ocean acidification research.

He is also a former member of the U.S. Science Steering Committees for the U.S. Carbon Cycle Science Program and the U.S. Carbon and Biochemistry Program. He is a member of the American Geophysical Union and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Dr. Feely has authored more than 210 referenced research publications. In 2007, Dr. Feely was elected to be a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union. He was awarded the Department of Commerce Gold Award in 2006 for his pioneering research on ocean acidification and in 2010 he received the Heinz Award.  He is also responsible for development and implementation of chemical oceanographic research studies for several of NOAA’s national research programs, including the NOAA Global Carbon Cycle Research Program, the NOAA Climate Observations Program, and the NOAA Ocean Acidification Program.


Paul McElhany, Ph.D.

OA Project Lead, NOAA Northwest Fisheries Science Center (NWFSC)

Dr. Paul McElhany has been research ecologist with the NOAA Northwest Fisheries Science Center since 1999. He currently leads the NWFSC ocean acidification research team. The research team uses laboratory species-exposure experiments, food web ecosystem modeling, and field work to understand the impact of ocean acidification along the Washington-Oregon coast. Dr. McElhany received his Ph.D. from Indiana University in 1997 followed by a post doc at the University of Oregon. Previously at NOAA, he focused on estimating extinction risk and developing recovery strategies for threatened salmon populations. He continues to have an interest in risk evaluation and recently participated in a review of several tropical coral species, particularly considering risks from ocean acidification.


Beth Phelan, Ph.D.

Fishery Biologist, NOAA Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC)

Dr. Phelan is the research coordinator for the Northeast Fisheries Science Center Ocean Acidification Program. She works from the Howard Marine Sciences Laboratory at Sandy Hook, New Jersey where she is the Behavioral Ecology Branch Chief and acting lab director. She has worked closely with the scientists within the Howard lab to establish a carbonate chemistry analytical laboratory and an ocean acidification flow through exposure system. Dr. Phelan received her Ph.D. from Rutgers University’s Department of Ecology and Evolution and her M.S. from the University of Maryland’s Marine, Estuarine and Environmental Sciences Program where her research was on estuarine fish and habitat.


Mike Sigler, Ph.D.

Program Leader, NOAA Alaska Fisheries Science Center (AFSC)

Dr. Mike Sigler is Program Leader of the Alaska Fisheries Science Center, Habitat and Ecological Process Research (HEPR) Program as well as Lead Principal Investigator of the Bering Sea Integrated Ecosystem Research Program funded by the North Pacific Research Board. As HEPR Program Leader, Mike leads Loss of Sea Ice, Ocean Acidification, and Essential Fish Habitat research at the Alaska Fisheries Science Center.

Previously Mike led Steller sea lion prey and predation studies, the Alaska sablefish stock assessment, and the Alaska sablefish longline survey. Mike has chaired stock assessment review panels for Alaska, New England, and West Coast fisheries, was an analyst for a National Research Council review of stock assessment methods, and has advised Azorean and New Zealand stock assessment scientists. He is an Affiliate Professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, where he has taught Population Dynamics. He has authored about 40 peer-reviewed publications and 30 technical reports spanning several fish, seabird and marine mammal species (e.g., Steller sea lion, Pacific sleeper shark, black-legged kittiwake). He has spent over 800 days at sea and has been chief scientist on over 30 research cruises in Alaska. Mike received his B.S. in 1979 and M.S. in 1982 from Cornell University and Ph.D. in 1993 from the University of Washington.


Rik Wanninkhof, Ph.D.

Oceanographer, NOAA Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteoroloigical Laboratory (AOML)

Rik Wanninkhof is an oceanographer at the Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory of NOAA in Miami FL, USA. He studies the oceanic inorganic carbon cycle with a focus on the anthropogenic perturbation thereof. He has done extensive research on the transfer of carbon dioxide across the air-water interface. His research portfolio is comprised of several sustained observations projects including:

a. Measurements of partial pressure of CO2 from ship of opportunity funded by the Climate Observation Division NOAA Climate Program Office. He leads the effort that involves PI’s from four different institutions and 14 ships of opportunity, making it the largest consolidated effort in the world. The focus is on characterization of surface water CO2 levels and sea-air CO2 fluxes.

b. GOSHIP repeat hydrography that detects changes in anthropogenic CO2 in the ocean and natural and climate induced variability on decadal time scales by repeat occupations of global ocean transects. The effort is funded by the Climate Observation Division NOAA Climate Program Office.

c. Coastal Ocean Acidification Monitoring of Gulf Coasts and East Coast. This new program utilizes moorings, ships of opportunity, and research cruises to characterize the ocean acidification trends along the East and Gulf Coast. The effort is sponsored by the NOAA Ocean Acidification Program. 


Simone Alin, Ph.D.

NOAA/PMEL Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory

Simone Alin is an oceanographer at Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL). Her research centers around the role of coastal oceans and freshwater ecosystems in the global carbon cycle, including ocean acidification (OA) in coastal ecosystems, interactions between OA and other natural or anthropogenic stressors (e.g., hypoxia, climate change), and air-sea CO2 exchange in coastal oceans. In addition, she is examining large-scale carbon cycle data synthesis, development of predictive models for hindcasting and forecasting OA conditions, underway pCO2 measurements, and methods for pH measurements.

She also holds an affiliate Associate Professor position in the Department of Oceanography at the University of Washington. Simone received a doctorate in Geosciences (Ecology & Evolutionary Biology minor) from University of Arizona in 2001 and an undergraduate degree in bioloical sciences from Stanford University in 1993.


Shallin Busch, Ph.D.

NOAA/NMFS Northwest Fisheries Science Center

Dr. Shallin Busch is an ecologist with NOAA’s Ocean Acidification Program and Northwest Fisheries Science Center (Seattle, Washington).  For the Ocean Acidification Program, Shallin staffs the Interagency Working Group on Ocean Acidification, coordinates the Program’s biological impacts research, and is the point person for the Program’s activities on the US West Coast.  Her research at the Northwest Fisheries Science Center (NWFSC) focuses on how ocean acidification may impact North Pacific ecosystems, and she uses laboratory experiments and ecosystem modeling as tools to develop understanding. In 2014, Shallin was stationed at NOAA’s headquarters, where, in addition to working for the Ocean Acidification Program, she worked for the National Marine Fisheries Service’s Office of Science and Technology and helped to draft the Fishery Service’s Climate Science Strategy. In 2012, she served on the Washington State Blue Ribbon Panel on Ocean Acidification. Shallin received an undergraduate degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Princeton University and a doctorate in Zoology from the University of Washington, and was a National Research Council postdoctoral fellow at the NWFSC.


Thomas Hurst, Ph.D.

NOAA/NMFS Alaska Fisheries Science Center

Thomas Hurst is a Research Fisheries Biologist with the NOAA-NMFS Alaska Fisheries Science Center in the Fisheries Behavioral Ecology Program located at Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, OR. He earned a B.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries Biology from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. Graduate studies (M.S. and Ph.D.) on the recruitment and ecology of overwintering Hudson River striped bass were done at Stony Brook University in New York under the direction of Dr. David Conover. Tom also holds an appointment as a Courtesy Assistant Professor in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife at Oregon State University.

Tom’s research blends field studies and laboratory experimentation to examine the ecology of early life stages of marine species and the constraints imposed on this ecology by the environment. Much of this work focuses on the pervasive influence of temperature variation on the physiology and ecology of fishes, including behavior, habitat selection, growth energetics, and larval ecology. New areas of research include the dispersal patterns of Pacific cod and the potential impacts of ocean acidification on fishes of the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska. His research is focused on species of commercial importance in Alaska: walleye pollock, Pacific cod, northern rock sole, and Pacific halibut.


Christopher Long, Ph.D.

NOAA/NMFS Alaska Fisheries Science Center, Kodiak Laboratory

Dr. William Christopher Long, pictured explaining the intricacies of benthic ecology to his daughter, worked in Chesapeake Bay for seven years, where he earned his doctorate in Marine Science from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, the College of William and Mary, and completed a post-doctoral fellowship from the Smithsonian Institute. His research in the east examined the effects of hypoxia on the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem, predator prey dynamics between crabs and bivalve prey, and the importance of near-shore habitat for blue crabs. He joined the National Marine Fisheries Service in 2009 and has been working out of the Kodiak Laboratory doing research on king and Tanner crabs in Alaska. His current research includes the effects of ocean acidification on all life history stages of king and Tanner crabs, the influence of habitat on crab predator-prey dynamics, and king crab stock enhancement.


Derek Manzello, Ph.D.

NOAA Atlantic Oceanographic and Atmospheric Marine Laboratory

Derek Manzello is the lead PI of the Coral Reef Monitoring Network in the Atlantic. His research explores how climate change and ocean acidification will, and, already are, affecting the construction (coral growth, calcification) and breakdown (bioerosion, dissolution) of coral reefs, as well as the associated ramifications this has for ecosystem function (e.g., biodiversity). He utilizes a unique interdisciplinary approach that incorporates aspects of biology, chemistry, and geology within an ecological framework.

He is currently overseeing and maintaining: 1) in situ climate and ocean acidification requirements of the NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program’s (CRCP) National Coral Reef Monitoring Plan, and 2) CRCP’s Atlantic Ocean Acidification Test-Bed, both of which are within the Atlantic basin. Coincident with these efforts, he is measuring how multiple species of coral calcify, as well as how rates of bioerosion vary across natural COgradients on US coral reefs. This involves experimental work to understand how important coral reef species affect seawater carbonate chemistry and their response to high CO2.


Shannon Meseck, Ph.D.

NOAA/NMFS Northeast Fisheries Science Center

Shannon Meseck is a research chemist at the Northeast Fisheries Science Center.  She earned her undergraduate degree from SUNY Plattsburgh (1993) in Chemistry and Environmental Science and holds a Ph.D. in Oceanography from Old Dominion University (2002).  Her research focuses on how variations in chemical variables (e.g. carbon dioxide) in the environment influence growth of different phytoplankton species and the consequences this has on the food web.  

Lisa Milke, Ph.D.

NOAA Northeast Fisheries Science Center, Milford Laboratory

Lisa Milke is a Research Fishery Biologist and the Acting Chief of the Culture Systems and Habitat Evaluation Branch at the Northeast Fisheries Science Center, Milford Laboratory. After completing her undergraduate studies in biology and environmental science, she earned a M.S. in oceanography from the University of Connecticut in 2001 and a Ph.D. in biology from Dalhousie University in 2006. Her research focuses on the feeding, nutrition, and physiology of bivalves; particularly within the areas of aquaculture and ocean acidification. She conducts research on a variety of bivalve species such as: the surf clam, Spisula solidissima, the bay scallop, Argopecten irradians, and the sea scallop, Placopecten magellanicus. Of particular interest are the physiological responses of an organism (i.e. growth, survival, energetic stores, respiration rate) to environmental stressors (i.e. ocean acidification, food availability, temperature) and how this might ultimately impact recruitment to the fishery


Adrienne Sutton, Ph.D.

NOAA Joint Institute for the Study of Atmosphere and Ocean, University of Washington

Adrienne Sutton is a Research Scientist with the NOAA Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean at the University of Washington. Her research focuses on advancing our scientific understanding of the ocean carbon cycle and the impact of rising atmospheric carbon dioxide on marine ecosystems. In particular, she maintains ocean time series observations that document the natural variability of seawater chemistry and the evolving state of ocean acidification. Adrienne also has an interest in science communication and policy, and regularly participates in venues that connect to both. After receiving her Ph.D. from the University of Maryland, she worked at NOAA headquarters in Washington, D.C. engaging the U.S. congress on issues concerning oceans and climate. As a scientist, she now strives to effectively communicate ocean acidification research in a way that contributes to an informed society equipped to face the challenges associated with global change.


NOTE: this is not a complete list of the research scientists involved with OAP research. Biographies of, and contact information for additional researchers are being added to the page as the information becomes available. Please email with any further questions or if you would like to submit your biography and photo.