The Society for Marine Mammalogy’s Board of Governors is excited to welcome Dr. Eduardo Secchi to the Board as the newly appointed chair of the SMM’s Conservation Committee. Dr. Secchi will be taking over from Dr. Barb Taylor who has overseen the SMM’s conservation actions since the committee’s creation.
Dr. Secchi has a long history in marine mammal science and conservation. He graduated in Oceanography at the Federal University of Rio Grande (FURG) in 1991. He did his Masters in Biological Oceanography (FURG, 1999) and PhD in Zoology (University of Otago, New Zealand, 2006). After completing his dissertation he became the Associate Professor in the Oceanography Institute at FURG to lead the Marine Megafauna Ecology and Conservation Laboratory with a primary focus on the ecology and conservation of marine mammals and turtles. Dr. Secchi is now the Dean of Research and Graduate Studies at FURG.
His commitment to marine mammal conservation goes beyond that of just working with students and collaborators. He is a member of the IUCN Cetacean Specialist Group/Species Survival Commission and acts as the advisor to the Brazilian Ministry of Environment and Ministry of External Affairs on International Commissions such as the International Whaling Commission (IWC), the Committee for Environmental Protection of the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (CEP/ATCM), and the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR).
Each candidate for the position provided a brief statement of their vison for the Conservation Committee and the SMM, more generally. Dr. Secchi’s hopes are that the SMM will continue on its path to become a global reference on the conservation of marine mammals and invest in the development and engagement of a new generation of scientists. The SMM’s efforts must turn towards actions to reverse declines observed in many species, especially in developing nations. He especially emphasized that, “… conservation must always take into account social vulnerability of the human communities sharing resources with marine mammals.”
As we welcome Dr. Secchi, we must simultaneously thank Dr. Taylor for her many years of work leading the Conservation Committee. She nurtured a nascent committee and built a team of engaged marine mammal conservation scientists to help advise the SMM on species in crises around the globe. There are few marine mammal conservation issues that Dr. Taylor has not been involved with in some capacity and she is committed to learn from each experience to build a stronger foundation for conservation in the future. This is exemplified in her recent efforts, with a team of collaborators, to help fight future cetacean extinctions through the use of ex situ options for cetacean conservation.
Few in our field have the breadth of marine mammal conservation experience as Dr. Taylor and we are thankful for her continued commitment to the SMM. While she is stepping down as chair of the committee, she will be remaining with the group and sharing her experience with the team and the SMM Board of Governors.
Thank you Barb and welcome and good luck Edu!
To contact the SMM Conservation committee please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click on the links below if you are interested in reading some of Dr. Secchi’s and collaborators’ more recent publications in Marine Mammal Science.