Dr. Paul Nachtigall will be stepping down after five years of guiding the SMM Ethics Committee. His legacy of commitment to the SMM is worth mentioning again. He presented his doctoral work at Ken Norris’ meeting in Santa Cruz in 1975, setting in motion his strong involvement at the founding meeting in San Francisco in 1981. He has been to all but one biennial meeting and led our Society as President. In Paul’s own words, “SMM has been my home scientific society though I have been active in others. I am retired now, 75 years old, and have been Ethics Chair for over six years. I have recently worked with an outstanding group of people on the Ethics committee and with three dedicated and wonderful boards.” Paul has given much to the Society over these many decades and for that, we should all be grateful.
At the same time as announcing Paul’s departure we solicited expressions of interest from any member interested in taking over the role of Ethics Committee Chair. Thank you to those of you who reached out with interest. It was a small but esteemed group of colleagues willing to take on this important responsibility. After discussion and deliberation we selected Dr. Karen Stockin for the position. Many of you are familiar with Karen, but if you are not, she has extensive experience in marine mammal science, ethics and welfare. Karen is based at New Zealand’s Massey University where she is the leader of the Cetacean Ecology Research Group. Her research sits at the nexus of marine biology, behavioural ecology, vet pathology and animal welfare science with a particular focus on anthropogenic impacts which affect individuals as well as populations. These impacts include toxicology, vessel impacts (direct/indirect) and human-wildlife interactions. She is currently a Rutherford Discovery Fellow, which is supporting her exciting work assessing how AI and Animal Welfare Science can increase the effectiveness of human intervention efforts during mass stranding events. Her other experience includes serving as the inaugural Strandings Coordinator (2018-2020) for the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and she is currently a specialist on the IWC Strandings Initiative Expert Panel. We are very excited to welcome her to the Board of Governors and see where she leads the Society on the many complex ethics and welfare discussions and issues within our field.
Welcome Karen and mahalo and aloha Paul.