Pete DeCola

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.

Ben Haskell

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.

Caitlin Fitzmaurice

Volunteer Program Coordinator: Caitlin Fitzmaurice

Caitlin is the volunteer program coordinator and leads the S4 (Stellwagen Sanctuary Seabird Stewards) program. Caitlin started working with the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary in 2011 as a high school student volunteer. Since starting at the sanctuary, she has worked on data organization, education and outreach programs, and assisted onboard research cruises. Caitlin has a bachelor's degree in environmental science from the University of Massachusetts Boston. As an undergraduate student, she volunteered with the Ocean Mammal Institute in Maui where she catalogued humpback whale behavior and vessel interactions. Caitlin is currently in a master's program at UMass Boston, working on photo-identification of gray and harbor seals.

Leila Hatch

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.

Amy Meloski

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.

Tammy Silva

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.

Elizabeth (Bibi) Stokes

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.

Alice Stratton

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.

Mike Thompson

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.

Samantha Tolken

Resource Management Specialist: Samantha Tolken

Sam is a resource management specialist at Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. Her duties include policy review and development, assisting in the implementation of management programs, and assessing the impacts of activities to SBNMS. Sam previously worked at National Marine Fisheries Service as a Fishery Management Specialist with Sustainable Fisheries and as an Investigative Support Technician with the Office of Law Enforcement. She also has work experience as a fisheries and protected species observer in New England and Alaska, and as a biological field technician on oil spill response teams in the Gulf of Mexico. Sam received a bachelor's degree in marine biology from Roger Williams University and a master's degree in business administration and environmental policy from University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

Dave Wiley, Ph.D.

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.

Liam Waters

Research Technician: Liam Waters

Liam Waters first got introduced to the Sanctuary in 2011 when the Stellwagen Sanctuary Seabird Stewards (S4) program was just starting. At the time he was too young to legally volunteer his time at sea, but that didn't stop him from attending the meetings and trainings in the early days of the program. This kicked off a lifelong love of seabirds, and 12 years later he has been on more of the S4 trips than not. With a M.S. in Geographic Information Science and Technology, and a B. S. in Wildlife Conservation Ecology (both from the University of Massachusetts Amherst) and four years of ecological field work across the US under his belt, he is now at the sanctuary as the Research Technician, working on research about everything from plankton to whales, sharks, and shearwaters.

Timothy Wilmarth

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.

Laura Howes

Outreach Specialist: Laura Howes

Laura has been enveloped within the sanctuary since 2011, where she has spent thousands of hours out on Stellwagen Bank as a whale watch naturalist and field researcher. For over ten years, she volunteered and supported SBNMS work as a behavioral sequencer and whale identification expert on whale tagging cruises, sand lance surveys, and biopsy studies. She served on the Sanctuary Advisory Council, which included chairing a Small Boat Interactions with Whales working group and helping to expand outreach events to support SBNMS management goals. Laura received her B.A. in Human Ecology in 2009 at College of the Atlantic, where she concentrated in Marine Science and Conservation, specifically looking at the intersection of fishing gear and whales. After working a few seasons in Maine as a marine mammal research assistant aboard a local whale watch, she moved to Massachusetts to work in both the non-profit and private sectors directing a whale watch research and education program out of Boston. She has field experience in Sri Lanka, Antarctica, the San Juan Islands, and Sarasota Bay, which has helped her shaped her perspective in tackling local conservation problems. She is also finishing up her Master’s in Biology at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Her graduate work entails testing whale auto-detection methods to help reduce ship strikes. As a human ecologist, one of the things Laura cares most about is the balance of protecting the environment while incorporating humans’ part in that environment. She brings that view in her role as Outreach Specialist, SAC Advisory Council Coordinator, and supporting the sanctuary research program.

Mike Bailey

Project Manager: Mike Bailey

Mike Bailey began as a project manager for Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary in late 2023 after more than 20 years in the United States Navy’s Special Operations. He launched into the Navy with a commission at the University of California, Berkeley. His operational and staff adventures spanned the Southern California, mid-Atlantic, and Florida panhandle coasts, as well as two tours in Southern Japan. He succeeded as an explosive ordnance disposal officer due to a deep desire to protect valuable resources, which brought him to NOAA through a Department of Defense transition internship. At Stellwagen, he manages various projects supporting the mission and functions of the sanctuary and its staff. Specific duties include the Stellwagen Mapping Initiative, headquarters facilities upgrades, marine debris removal projects, and support to vessel operations as an experienced waterman and diver. He is an Operation Iraqi Freedom combat veteran. Mike earned a master’s of business administration from the Naval Postgraduate School, as well as top-level DOD project management certifications.