Senior Director, Wildlife Biologist
Sea Otter Savvy
Since 2001, Gena has worked as a sea otter biologist, studying sea otters in such wide ranging locations as the Aleutian Islands, Russia’s Commander Islands, San Nicolas Island off the coast of Southern California, and along the Central California coast. She studied zoology and marine biology at Oregon State University in Corvallis, and obtained her master’s degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California Santa Cruz under Dr. James Estes. After years of studying sea otters in the wild, Gena has learned much about their unique biology and behavior, and witnessed first-hand the chronic nature of disturbance to sea otters by human recreation activities. In early 2014, together with members of the Southern Sea Otter Research Alliance, she first began to pursue the idea of organizing a program specifically dedicated to alleviating this chronic disturbance through education. Gena now coordinates the Sea Otter Savvy program and reaches out to the central coast communities of Monterey, San Luis Obispo, and Santa Cruz counties and is a Research Affiliate at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories.
Listen to an interview with Gena on the Projects for Wildlife Podcast:
Sea Otter Consultant
For 20 years Andrew Johnson managed the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s pioneering work with California’s threatened sea otter population, including rescue and care efforts for stranded animals, field research programs, and collaborations in the overall sea otter recovery plan managed by federal wildlife officials. Andrew has worked with more than 30 marine mammal species and has maintained direct or peripheral responsibility for the care of more than 2,000 marine mammals in exhibit and performance settings, critical care and rehabilitation settings, and research settings. He has served as a consultant on aquatic mammal management and exhibit design in the United States, Canada, South America, Asia, Iceland and the United Kingdom.
Nippon Foundation Nexus Ocean Project, University of Washington
Kate Crosman is a Research Scientist at the Nippon Foundation Ocean Nexus Project at the University of Washington. Her passion for understanding the conditions that facilitate sustainable human interaction with the natural world springs from decades spent living in areas of outstanding natural beauty, including the Monterey Bay area, where she participated in Southern sea otter field research coordinated by Gena Bentall and the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Kate holds a BA in Political Science from Davidson College, an MS in Natural Resources and Environment from the University of Michigan, an MS in Public Policy and Management from the University of Washington, and a PhD in Public Policy and Management from the University of Washington. Kate’s research focuses on how stakeholders – particularly users of marine and coastal resources – experience, understand and respond to interventions by governance actors including government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and others.
Harry the Beagle
Sea Otter Savvy Ambassador
Harry the beagle has 8 years of sea otter research experience and has spent many hours in the field studying sea otters (and ground squirrels). He now monitors disturbance and works as an ambassador for Sea Otter Savvy and sea otter biologists. He is a beloved member of our citizen science team!