Dr. Denise Herzing, Research Director/Founder:  Dr. Herzing received her B.S. in Marine Zoology from Oregon State University in 1979; her M.A. in Behavioral Biology from San Francisco State University in 1988; and her Ph.D. in Behavioral Biology and Environmental Studies from the Union Institute Graduate School in 1993. She began her unprecedented, long-term study of Atlantic spotted dolphins in 1985, and is the founder of The Wild Dolphin Project.  Dr. Herzing is the author of numerous articles and papers and is currently an Affiliate Assistant Professor of Biological and Psychological Sciences at Florida Atlantic University.  Most recently Dr. Herzing has been recognized by the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation as a 2008 Fellow.  Dr. Herzing is also a 2004 Fellow of the Explorers Club.

Boat Crew and Office Staff 

Marcia Spanick, Cook:  Back this trip season as our food provisioner for R/V Stenella, Marcia is a surfer, cook, and humanitarian. In her off season, Marcia works on local boats and runs a boat yard.

Melissa Williams, Administrative Assistant:  Melissa is the friendly voice on the phone when you call our field office.  She will gladly assist you with any information regarding the Wild Dolphin Project (i.e. trips, talks, general information, media relations, etc.).

Research Associates

Dr. Cindy R. Elliser, Research Associate: Dr. Cindy R. Elliser received her B.S. (2000) and M.S. (2003) in Biological Sciences from Florida Atlantic University (FAU) and received her Ph.D. in Integrative Biology from FAU in 2010. She was the Research Assistant for The Wild Dolphin Project from 2002-2010. Dr. Elliser has published her work in scientific journals and presented at international scientific conferences.  She teaches biology and related courses as an adjunct professor at local colleges/universities.  After moving to the Pacific Northwest in 2014, Dr. Elliser founded the non-profit research organization Pacific Mammal Research (PacMam, www.pacmam.org) where she is the Research Director, studying harbor porpoises and harbor seals.

Dr. Michelle Green, Research Associate:  Dr. Michelle Green graduated with a Ph.D. in integrative biology from Florida Atlantic University in May of 2008.  She has been spent past field seasons with WDP as both a graduate student and research assistant.   Dr. Green’s specialty is in genetics, researching genetic population structure and assigning paternity for our spotted dolphins.  Her current position is Visiting Research Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois where she studies population genetics, relatedness, and genomics of wildlife.

Dr. Fabienne Delfour, Research Associate:  Dr. Delfour has worked with the Wild Dolphin Project since 1998 and is a co-author and returning colleague with Dr. Herzing. Her speciality as a cognitive psychologist and animal behaviorist compliments our work at sea.

Graduate Students

Every year at least one graduate student serves as our Research Assistant on board trips. They are typically a Masters or PhD student in Biology with Dr. Herzing.

Masters Students, FAU:
Nathan Skrzypczak, Dept. of Biology
Cassandra Volker, Dept. of Biology
Alyson Myers, Dept. of Psychology
Sommer Kuhn, Dept. of Biology

Board of Directors

Don Mader, President
Axel Stepan, Vice President 
Denise Herzing, Ph.D.,  Treasurer 
Ivi Kimmel, Director
Farley Rentschler, Secretary
Chris Traughber, M.D., Chair
Drew Mayer, Director
Ruth Petzold, Director

Community Advisory Board

Barbara Birdsey
Tanya Burnett
C. Wolcott Henry
Theresa Carlsen
Susan Lovejoy
Bill O’Donnell
Zita Wright
Katie Deits

Scientific Advisory Board

Sir David Attenborough
Randall Brelsford, Ph.D.
Fabienne Delfour, Ph.D.
Christine Johnson, Ph.D.
Stan Kuczaj, Ph.D.
Marc Lammers, Ph.D.
Adam Pack, Ph.D.
Kenneth R. Pelletier, Ph.D., M.D. (hc)
Thomas I. White, Ph.D.

Emeritus Board

Anne Earhart, Ph.D. (hc)
Diane Ross
Linda Castell, DVM