Science Advisors

MacGillivray Freeman Films could not make good, educational films without the help of scientists who carefully check our work. They review script drafts and video cuts of the film while we're editing. They also meet with us early in the film's development to help us discover what interesting topics, people, and places we might want to feature in our film. So to them, we say THANK YOU, and to you, our audience, know that the film and material we release is both accurate and current with modern scientific thought and research.

Dr. Kathleen Dudzinski

Dr. Alejandro Acevedo

Dr. Bernd Würsig

Visit Texas A&M University in Galveston, home to Professor Würsig and graduate school for both Kathleen and Alejandro. - http://www.tamug.edu


Dr. Randall Wells -- Science Advisor for Dolphins

Randy Wells is Director of Mote Marine Laboratory's Center for Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Research in Sarasota, Florida and a Conservation Biologist with The Chicago Zoological Society. Wells has more than twenty-five years experience working with marine mammals, including bottlenose, spinner and spotted dolphins, as well as gray, bowhead, blue and humpback whales. He directs research on the 100 or so resident bottlenose dolphins in Sarasota Bay, which is the longest-running, most-comprehensive research on any dolphins in the world. Wells has worked with the program since 1970 when he became a teen volunteer at the lab. Today, he recognizes each member of the dolphin community by its markings, and since bottlenose dolphins may live 50 years or more, he has watched some of the bay's residents mature from young teen to great grandma. Wells and his science team identify and name each new member of the dolphin community. They also track their kinship ties through observation and DNA analysis, and in recent years have closely monitored the effects of water pollution and even sound pollution from the heavy boat traffic in the bay. Many other studies on dolphin communication and their social structure involve collaborations with scientists from all over the world.

Wells adds, "Dolphins have had to face enormous changes in their lives as humans make ever-increasing use of, and alterations to their habitat. The role of our long-term research program is to better understand the needs of the dolphins. Our goal is to promote the coexistence of dolphins and humans in the coastal environment, by providing the public and wildlife management agencies with the information they need for the animals' conservation."

Education:

1987 - Postdoctoral Fellow, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, MA.

1986 - Ph.D. (Biology), University of California, Santa Cruz.

1978 - M.Sc. (Zoology), University of Florida, Gainesville.

1975 - B.A. (Zoology), University of South Florida, Tampa.

Learn more about Mote Marine Laboratory at http://www.mote.org/


Dr. Peter Tyack -- Science Advisor for Dolphins

Peter Tyack is a Senior Scientist in the Biology Department at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. He is interested in social behavior and acoustic communication in whales and dolphins, and has conducted research on bottlenose dolphins, sperm whales, humpback whales, gray whales, right whales and bowhead whales. He has focused on developing new techniques to monitor vocal and social behavior of marine mammals. These include methods to tag whales, to locate their calls and for video monitoring of behavior.

Tyack's research has focused on how these animals use sound for critical activities. This made him sensitive to the possibility that human-made sounds might pose a risk to marine mammal populations by disrupting critical behaviors. He has been involved in the design, planning and field work for a series of experiments investigating the possible impact on marine mammals of a low frequency sonar, called SURTASS LFA, developed by the U.S. Navy. He is also studying risk factors for vessel collision in northern right whales, working to understand why northern right whales sometimes do not respond to oncoming vessels.

When did Tyack first become interested in whales and dolphins? He said, "My mother remembers that I was very excited one day when I was five. We had just read the book The Whales Go By. I had read fairy tales about things that were imaginary and everyday stories about normal life, but this was the first time I had learned from a book about something that was a real part of our world, but that was totally outside of my personal experience. She thinks that experience started my interest in marine mammals."

Education:

1982 - Ph.D. (Animal Behavior), Rockefeller University.

1976 - A.B. (Biology), Harvard University.

Discover Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute at http://www.whoi.edu/