Point Blue works closely with many professional research partners on various conservation projects. Learn more about these top scientists below.
David Ainley, PhD
Dr. Ainley initiated Point Blue's research in the Antarctic ecosystem in the early 1970s, and directed marine research for Point Blue for many years. One of the world's leading experts on seabirds, Dr. Ainley now works for H.T. Harvey & Associates and collaborates closely with Point Blue scientists on several Antarctic and California Current ecosystem research and conservation projects. View Dr. Ainley's curriculum vitae here. (David Ainley pictured left with Point Blue colleague Dr. Grant Ballard, Chief Science Officer, photo by Viola Toniolo)
Sarah Allen, PhD
Dr. Allen is the National Park Service Pacific West Region’s Ocean and Coastal Resources Program Lead and works closely with Point Blue's Marine scientists. She received our 2012 award for lifetime conservation achievement. She is lead author on a UC Press Field guide on Marine Mammals of the Pacific Coast and has published many articles with Point Blue biologists. Learn more about Sarah in this 2014 Bay Nature Magazine interview.
Frances Bidstrup began volunteering for Point Blue’s Snowy Plover Project as a researcher examining the plovers’ breeding success at Wilder State Beach in Santa Cruz County in 1979. From 1983-1989 she helped to expand the scope of the project by covering several additional sites in Monterey County, which included taking on the role of volunteer coordinator for a west coast winter plover survey project, which she has continued to the present. With great skill and charm, she has recruited and managed hundreds of volunteer observers who conduct regular winter Snowy Plover surveys at particular beaches. She has helped to manage the enormous data set that has amassed on the occurrence of non-breeding plovers at hundreds of locations. These data have informed land management decisions and helped to highlight the occurrence and importance of natural resources on the coast.
Jules G. Evens
Jules is the author of The Natural History of the Point Reyes Peninsula and Introduction to California Birdlife among many other published natural history articles. Jules leads Avocet Research Associates, an independent biological consulting firm based in Point Reyes Station established in 1984. He works closely with Point Blue's wetland ecologists. Read some of Jules' contributions to Bay Nature Magazine here.
Mark Herzog, PhD
Dr.Herzog contributed significantly to Point Blue's conservation work as Informatics Division co-director from 2007-2010 and the San Francisco Bay Program Director from 2004-2007. He is now a Quantitative Ecologist and Wildlife Biologist with USGS out of Davis, CA and still works closely with Point Blue staff. Read more about Mark here.
Ellen M. Hines, PhD
Dr. Hines leads the Marine and Coastal Conservation and Spatial Planning Lab at Romberg Tiburon Center for Environmental Studies and the Department of Geography and Environment at San Francisco State University. Her research addresses population and community ecology of threatened and endangered species as related to local conservation efforts and regional scale coastal and marine management science. She is particularly interested in using GIS (Geographic Information Systems) as a tool for marine conservation and works closely with Point Blue's marine scientists to mentor graduate students. Learn more about Ellen here and here.
Aaron Holmes, PhD
Dr. Holmes joined Point Blue in 1994 as a Palomarin intern biologist and student of Evergreen State University. He has headed up various programs and projects for nearly twenty years in Point Blue’s terrestrial ecology programs including being the lead scientist on extensive research on shrub-steppe habitat in California, Oregon, Nevada and Wyoming for over 15 years. Aaron was the lead author of the Sagebrush Bird Conservation Plan and has published extensively on this highly-threatened ecosystem. He recently completed his PhD at Oregon State University and founded Northwest Wildlife Science LLC, where he works closely with Point Blue’s Emerging Programs and Partnerships Group on research and policy issues related to shrub-steppe obligate birds, shrub-steppe enhancement, and grazing.
Steve N. G. Howell
Steve is a world renowned ornithologist and birding tour leader, and author of several books, including A Guide to the Birds of Mexico and Northern Central America, Hummingbirds of North America, Gulls of the Americas, and The Amazing World of Flyingfish. Steve works closely with many Point Blue scientists and has helped train hundreds of interns by providing lectures on bird identification, molt, taxonomy, and other subjects at the Palomarin Field Station.Learn more about Steve here.
David Hyrenbach, PhD
Dr. Hyrenbach leads the Pelagicos Lab at Hawaii Pacific University. His research interests are the oceanic habitats of far-ranging pelagic vertebrates (seabirds, turtles, cetaceans, tunas), and the physical mechanisms (upwelling, convergence) that define predictable areas of enhanced biological activity in pelagic systems. He has expertise in multi-variate statistics, spatial ecology, seabird ecology and the conservation of pelagic systems and works closely with Point Blue's marine scientists. Read more about David here.
John P. Kelly, PhD
Dr. Kelly is currently the Director of Conservation Science for Audubon Canyon Ranch and has authored or co-authored many conservation-related publications, including the 2011 State of the Birds San Francisco Bay and the Coastal California (BCR32) Waterbird Conservation Plan. His interests and expertise include coastal and estuarine bird ecology and local and regional conservation issues. Learn more about John here.
Borja Mila, PhD
Dr. Mila is a Ramon y Cajal Researcher in Madrid, Spain for the National Museum of Natural Sciences- Spanish National Research Council (MNCN-CSIC). His expertise and interests lie in the evolutionary processes that generate and maintain biodiversity. He works closely with Point Blue's Quantitative Ecologists. Learn more about Borja here.
Mark is a geography professor at Laney College, Oakland, and wildlife biologist specializing in seabird conservation via vertebrate predator control and artificial habitat creation. He is also a bird photographer and writer, whose book Isles of Amnesia is about island conservation in the American tropical Pacific (due out in 2015 from Univ. of Hawaii Press). Mark works closely with Point Blue on San Francisco Bay cormorant issues. Learn more about Mark here.
Stacy Small-Lorenz, PhD
Dr. Small joined Point Blue as an intern biologist in what was then the Terrestrial Program in 1995. Soon after, she led Point Blue’s first projects on the Sacramento River investigating bird response to riparian restoration. She completed her dissertation on the same subject at the University of Missouri and is currently a senior Conservation Scientist with the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) in Washington DC. Her expertise and interests include response of wildlife to climate change and habitat restoration and conservation that includes the full life cycle of migratory birds. Learn more about Stacy here.
Annie Schmidt, PhD
Dr. Schmidt holds a PhD in Ecology from UC Davis. She has done extensive work with Brandt’s Cormorant and Cassin’s Auklet populations on the Farallon Islands and in the greater California Current ecosystem and is now embarking on research with penguins in Antarctica in collaboration with Point Blue scientists. Annie is also an excellent photographer. View her Farallon Photo a Day blog here.
Jane (Ricky) Warriner
Jane (Ricky) Warriner was a key member of the small group of Point Blue staff and volunteers who founded the Snowy Plover Research Project in 1977. Her experience, hard work, and commitment to the species’ well-being have continued to help guide the project’s direction to the present. In the early years, she and her late husband, John Warriner, led a group of volunteers at a salt panne near the Pajaro River mouth in north Monterey Bay, who patiently watched a small group of individually color-banded nesting plovers from dawn to dusk. This effort culminated in an award winning paper on the species’ unique serially polygamous breeding system, on which she is a co-author. That work evolved into a monitoring project of the breeding birds that, by 1984, had expanded to include the rest of Monterey Bay’s plover nesting habitat. Over the course of the following 31 years she has surveyed and monitored nesting and wintering plover on most beaches in the Monterey Bay area. She presently focuses her field efforts at one of Monterey Bay’s major breeding areas, Pajaro River spit, although most of her time is spent in the essential tasks of handling band combinations and tracking sighting data from Monterey Bay and beyond, two jobs that help hold together the complicated datasets on color-marked plovers managed at Point Blue and by our partners throughout the West. She provides Monterey Bay co-workers with band combinations, makes certain colors are not duplicated, and takes responsibility for data entry of thousands of sightings of plovers seen by the plover team and volunteer observers. To assist the plover team in their field work she prepares and provides summaries of the color combinations of chicks that have hatched and those that have been reported fledged throughout the Monterey Bay area. On top of all these contributions, she hosts the annual spring and fall inter-agency meetings for Recovery Unit 4, from Sonoma to Monterey County. Prior to her work with Snowy Plovers she was involved with Point Blue research since 1972, when as an original beached bird project volunteer she covered the beach at the Pajaro River mouth for beach-cast marine birds and mammals.
Sophie joined Point Blue as a Palomarin intern biologist in 1983 where she honed both her artistic and observational skills. She is now a world-renowned artist, scientist, and author of peer reviewed scientific papers, field guides and extraordinary natural history books describing and illustrating the work of Field Biologists for the next generation. Sophie has particular expertise in marine ecosystems and has done extensive field work in Antarctica and at sea in the California Current. Along with being a research associate with Point Blue, she is also a director of Oikonos: Ecosystem Knowledge and a part-time employee of NOAA’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center. Learn more about Sophie here.
John Wiens, PhD
Dr. Wiens is a leading ecologist whose research has focused on birds and insects in semiarid environments on several continents, emphasizing community ecology and spatial relationships. A pioneer in the field of landscape ecology. Past president of the International Association for Landscape Ecology. Serves on editorial boards of the journals Ecosystems and Landscape Ecology. His academic career, principally at three western universities, spanned several decades. In 2002−08, he was lead scientist for The Nature Conservancy with responsibilities for "promoting the infusion of science into conservation practice." He has published more than 200 papers and books including Issues and Perspectives in Landscape Ecology (2005) and Foundation Papers in Landscape Ecology (2007) John was the Chief Scientist at Point Blue from 2008-2013 and continues to consult and collaborate with Point Blue staff on various conservation projects.
David W. Winkler, PhD
Dr. Winkler is a professor and faculty curator of birds in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology. His involvement with our organization began in the late 1970’s as an intern on the Farallones. He co-led the team of a dozen undergrads that made the initial whole-ecosystem study of Mono Lake in 1976. He co-founded the Mono Lake Committee in 1978 with David Gaines, who developed the Committee to fight to reverse the lake’s declining water levels caused by diversion of tributary streams. In 1978 he was part of the Point Blue (then PRBO) team studying the nesting population of Snowy Plovers in the Mono Basin. From 1979 through 1982 he studied nesting California Gulls on the islands of Mono Lake, threatened by declining lake levels. This study evolved into a long-term monitoring project that continues to this day at Point Blue. Dr. Winkler advises and collaborates on Point Blue’s riparian and waterbird research and in a pan-American study of Tachycineta swallows called Golondrinas de las Americas. Learn more about Dr. Winkler here.
Steve Zack, PhD
Dr. Zack started collaborating with Point Blue in 1997 when he helped start the San Francisco Bay Tidal Marsh Program. He also collaborated on Bald Eagle studies around Lake Shasta and oak woodland and rangeland research in the Great Central Valley. He was the lead author on the Oak Woodland Bird Conservation Plan and served for 24 years as a Conservation Scientist for the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). He is currently the Bird Conservation Coordinator for the (WCS) and is leading efforts to build Great Plains and Arctic Alaska programs. He is a world-renowned conservation leader and author and collaborates with Point Blue on a variety of current projects. He publishes thought-provoking articles regularly in outlets such as the Huffington Post. Visit the Huffington Post to view some of his articles.