Superintendent: Pete DeCola
Pete DeCola started his tenure as superintendent in September 2018. He comes to the sanctuary after 26 years with the United States Coast Guard where he managed a wide variety of federal government programs. His service included several living marine resource enforcement assignments that involved partnering with local, state, federal, tribal, and international organizations. From 2009 to 2014, Pete served as a member of the Sanctuary Advisory Council and the New England Fishery Management Council. For four years after his retirement from the Coast Guard, he worked in the private sector for a marine environmental consulting firm. He received a master's degree in education from the University of Massachusetts and a master's degree in marine affairs from the University of Rhode Island. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.
Deputy Superintendent: Ben Haskell
Benjamin Haskell has been with NOAA since 1993 working to protect special ocean places such as Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and now Stellwagen Bank, where he currently serves as deputy superintendent. His responsibilities include facilities and vessel management, maritime heritage management, enforcement coordination, planning, diving, and sister sanctuary coordination. Prior to coming to the Stellwagen Bank sanctuary, he served as the science coordinator for Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary from 1995 to 2000. He played a pivotal role in the establishment of the Tortugas Ecological Reserve. Prior to his positions at NOAA, he worked at a variety of marine labs on the East Coast and co-authored a book on ecosystem health. He received his master's degree in marine and coastal policy from the University of Maryland in 1997 and a bachelor's degree from College of the Atlantic in 1984.
Marine Ecologist and Bioacoustician: Leila Hatch, Ph.D.
Dr. Leila Hatch is a marine ecologist at the sanctuary. Dr. Hatch studies the ways that animals use sound underwater and the impacts of noise produced by human activities on marine environments. She co-leads, along with NOAA Fisheries, NOAA's Ocean Noise Strategy initiative. Dr. Hatch began working at the sanctuary in 2006 after serving as a John A. Knauss legislative fellow with the U.S. House of Representatives' Resources Committee. She received a doctoral degree from Cornell University in evolutionary biology, where her research used molecular genetic and acoustic tools to identify population boundaries among Northern Hemisphere fin whales. Prior to her graduate work, Dr. Hatch participated in research programs off the coasts of Australia, Madagascar, Hawaii, California, and Massachusetts to study potential impacts from a variety of human activities (e.g., whale watching, vessel traffic, low-frequency active sonar, active acoustic research sources) on whale and dolphin populations.
Boat Captain: Amy Meloski
Amy Meloski is the captain for the Research Vessel Auk at the sanctuary. She graduated from University of Massachusetts Boston (UMass) with a bachelor's degree in earth and ocean sciences. During her time at UMass, she worked as a deckhand on commuter and research boats and knew she had found her career. Amy came to the sanctuary with six years of vessel experience, from deckhand on research boats to running ferries in Boston, and four years of field experience, including a winter on Nantucket and time at the Jones River in Kingston, working alongside biologists and ecologists.
Program Coordinator for Volunteers, Advisory Council, and Recreational Fishing: Anne-Marie Runfola
Anne-Marie Runfola is the program coordinator for volunteers, the Sanctuary Advisory Council, and recreational fishing for the sanctuary. She completed two assignments at NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, raising the visibility of the site at the national level. In her early career, Anne-Marie was an education manager for a Big Five accounting and business consulting firm. Since that time, Anne-Marie has remained focused on education, communications, and organizational management but has shifted her work to natural resources. Prior to joining Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, she served as education director for the Bronx River Alliance, then the deputy director of the organization and a manager with the City of New York Department of Parks & Recreation. Anne-Marie holds a bachelor's degree in corporate and organizational communications from Ithaca College, and a master's degree in human development from Columbia University Teachers College, where she focused on how people understand and reason about complex systems. A volunteer herself, Anne-Marie is the president of the Board of Directors for The 300 Committee Land Trust of Falmouth, Mass.
Research Marine Scientist: Tammy Silva, Ph.D.
Tammy is a research marine scientist at Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. She began working with the sanctuary in 2013 when she was awarded NOAA’s Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship. Tammy received her doctorate degree from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, School for Marine Science and Technology. During graduate school, she worked as a guest investigator at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and as a naturalist aboard commercial whale watching vessels. Currently, Tammy is investigating the co-occurrence of sand lance, a key forage fish species, and top predators to quantify the ecological importance of sand lance and their habitat.
Facilities and Vessel Operations Coordinator: David Slocum
Dave Slocum is the operations coordinator for Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary where he is responsible for vessel and facility operations. Dave holds a United States Coast Guard Master License and served as a captain of passenger vessels operating within the sanctuary on whale and bird watching excursions for 15 years. Over the past 30 years, in addition to his whale watch role, Dave has worked as a commercial lobsterman, a building construction foreman, a marine facilities manager, and a research vessel captain. He is responsible for running day-to-day operations of the vessels and the facility and ensuring the safety and security of the staff and facilities.
Education and Outreach Coordinator: Anne Smrcina
Anne Smrcina has been the education and outreach coordinator at the sanctuary since 1994, and also coordinates press, social media, and exhibits. She produces the annual newsletter, was creative director on the traveling exhibit “Animals Without Passports,” and has developed a wide range of outreach and educational products. Anne received her bachelor's degree in biology from Cornell University, a master's degree in science journalism from Boston University and a M.A. in education from the University of Massachusetts. She was a public information officer at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution during the Titanic expeditions in 1985 and 1986. She organized the first seven years of CoastSweep, working for the Massachusetts Coastal Zone Management Office before moving to the sanctuary. Her interest in art was a driver in the growth of the annual Marine Art Contest for K-12 students with the Massachusetts Marine Educators. She was awarded the National Marine Sanctuaries annual Sea to Shining Sea Award for educational program excellence in 2018.
Program Support Assistant: Elizabeth (Bibi) Stokes
Elizabeth “Bibi” Stokes has worked as a program support assistant in the administrative office of the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary since May 2006. She assists sanctuary staff members in a wide variety of administrative and program support functions. Before coming on board at the sanctuary, Bibi worked on the editorial staff of the American Meteorological Society in Boston and in prior years for the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution as an Administrative Assistant in the Department of Physical Oceanography.
Marine Ecologist and Permit Coordinator: Alice Stratton
Alice Stratton is a marine ecologist for the sanctuary and works primarily on science policy, regulatory analysis, and management planning. As part of her role, she serves as the sanctuary's permit coordinator and assists with contingency planning responsibilities. Alice coordinated the development and publication of the SBNMS 2020 Condition Report, and is now coordinating the management plan review. Alice also provides support to the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS) / Eastern Region on new site designations and regional collaborations. Alice has worked at SBNMS since 2011; prior to that, she worked with ONMS on coral reef restoration policy and planning. Alice has a bachelor's degree in environmental science from Wesleyan University and a master's degree in marine, estuarine, and environmental science from the University of Maryland.
Geographer and GIS Analyst: Mike Thompson
Mike Thompson has been a geographer for Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary since 2006, serving as a Geographic Information Systems analyst as well as supporting sanctuary research and management. His duties now include spatial analyses, database management, IT support, research, field work, and outreach. Mike received his bachelor's degree in geography from Bridgewater State College. Before coming to the sanctuary, he worked at Perot Systems Government Services, an environmental consulting firm, working on multiple geospatial projects with the EPA, USDA, NAVY and NOAA. In 2001, Mike began working with the sanctuary during the Management Plan Review process and became interested in supporting the sanctuary mission. Mike is a Scituate native and grew up on the beach and around boats, even working as sternman on gillnet boats through college. He now enjoys spending time researching and protecting the same waters.
Marine Ecologist and Research Coordinator: Dave Wiley, Ph.D.
Dr. Dave Wiley is the research coordinator for NOAA's Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. His research focuses on the ecology of large whales, seabirds, and forage fish. He has over 50 publications on these topics and has been featured on the cover of journals as diverse as Conservation Biology and Behaviour. His many awards include a Gulf of Maine Visionary Award, the International Society for Marine Mammalogy's award for Excellence in Scientific Communication, NOAA's Employee of the Year (Science), the US Department of Commerce's Gold Medal for Scientific Leadership and a NEXTGOV BOLD Award for technical innovation in government service. He is a recipient of an Ian Axford/Fulbright Fellowship in Public Policy and is adjunct faculty in the School of Science and Mathematics at the University of Massachusetts - Boston and the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife at Oregon State University. His research has been highlighted on BBC, Discovery Channel, National Geographic Channel, and PBS documentaries and featured in National Public Radio segments, Ocean Geographic, the New York Times and numerous other media outlets. Dr. Wiley has mentored a wide range of students that are becoming the next generation of conservation biologists.
NOAA Special Agent: Timothy Wilmarth
Special Agent Tim Wilmarth of the NOAA Office of Law Enforcement (OLE) has served as the liaison officer to the sanctuary since 2012. In addition to his regular duties as a special agent in the Northeast, he works with partners from the Massachusetts Environmental Police, U.S. Coast Guard, OLE, and the sanctuary to maintain lines of communication and facilitate focused patrols and investigations. He is also the vessel operations coordinator for OLE's Northeast Division and maintains the patrol vessel docked at sanctuary headquarters. Special Agent Wilmarth holds a bachelor's degree in history from the University of Maine 1997. He began his law enforcement career with the U.S. Border Patrol in 1998 and later worked for the National Park Service in 2004 before he came aboard with NOAA in 2011. Additionally, he served in the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve and is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Special Agent Wilmarth enjoys working in the maritime environment and playing a role in the protection and conservation of marine life.