Principal Investigators

Ginny Eckert Dr. Ginny EckertGinny Eckert, Ph.D. (UAF-CFOS): Ginny is the Lead Principal Investigator for this project with overall administrative and supervisory responsibilities at UAF while co-advising Jared Weems. Ginny specializes in ecology, management and aquaculture of commercially important marine invertebrates, as well as sea otter related trophic dynamics in Southeast Alaska. She is also an Associate Director of Research with Alaska Sea Grant. Over her career, she has 20+ years of experience conducting marine research in the Pacific Northwest, Gulf of Alaska, and Bering Sea. She received her Ph.D. in Ecology from the University of California Santa Barbara.

Jared WeemsJared Weems, M.S. (UAF-CFOS): Jared is a Fisheries PhD Student and will serve as the lead field scientist for this project. He has 8 years of field experience in the Bering Sea, Aleutian Islands, and US Arctic waters on a variety of fishery and marine ecology projects. He has recently worked as a contractor with NOAA and ADF&G on Alaskan king crab and other fishery stock assessment surveys. This PIBKC project will be integrated with his ongoing northeastern Bering Sea and eastern Chukchi Sea seasonal larval crab research (focusing on blue king crab and community composition) to complete his dissertation work. With this graduate research, he hopes to inform management and policy decisions surrounding the future of the PIBKC stock, as well as, assess fisheries and climate-related changes in blue king crab abundance and distribution in relation to hypothesized expansion and contraction of marine species in the Pacific Arctic. He received his M.Sc. in Marine Biology from the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Chris Long - AOOS Cummiskey FilmWilliam Christopher Long, Ph.D. (NOAA-AFSC Kodiak): Chris is Principal Investigator for AFSC and will assist in field operations and data analysis. Dr. Long is a crab biologist with extensive experience in crab habitat research and predator-prey interactions. In particular he has led many surveys of juvenile red king crab habitat associations and has performed many in situ surveys for juvenile crab following large, experimental releases of hatchery-reared red king crab juveniles in the Kodiak area. Long also has published multiple results from laboratory experiments on competition and predation of juvenile king crab. He will be the PI for AFSC, will assist in field operations, and provide additional mentoring to Jared Weems. His past research in on the East Coast examined the effects of hypoxia on the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem, predator prey dynamics between crabs and bivalve prey, and the importance of near-shore habitat for blue crabs. He joined the National Marine Fisheries Service in 2009 and has been working out of the Kodiak Laboratory doing research on king and Tanner crabs in Alaska. His current research includes the effects of ocean acidification on all life history stages of king and Tanner crabs, the influence of habitat on crab predator-prey dynamics, and king crab stock enhancement. He received his doctorate in Marine Science from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, the College of William and Mary. (Photo by Marina Cummisky. Some text adapted from the NOAA Ocean Acidification Program)

Collaborating Scientists, Researchers, Partners, and Volunteers


Aleut Comm of St. Paul Tribal GovernmentPatrick Baker (Executive Director, Tribal Government of Saint Paul Island, Pribilof Aleut Community of Saint Paul Island)

LenaLena Block (2018 AAUS/OWUSS Mitchell Intern, University of Hawai’i Manoa): Lena is an early stage undergraduate from the University of Hawai’i, Manoa. She accepted the nation-wide, competitive internship in spring of 2018 and helped us on St. Paul Island in late May and early June of 2018. She did a great job, however she ultimately decided not to join us for the rest of the 2018 summer field season.

Aleut Comm of St. Paul Tribal GovernmentJustin Carr (CFO, Tribal Government of Saint Paul Island, Pribilof Aleut Community of Saint Paul Island)

Lauren DivineLauren Divine, Ph.D. (Co-Director, Ecosystem Conservation Office, Tribal Government of Saint Paul Island, Pribilof Aleut Community of Saint Paul Island): Lauren is Co-Director of ECO with Pamela Lestenkof in St. Paul and is currently our major collaborator on field operations, logistics, and community outreach on St. Paul. She originally hails from Georgia and recently received her doctorate degree in Marine Biology from UAF-SFOS in 2016 while investigating snow crab abundance, fecundity, trophic position, and their ecological role within the benthic communities in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas.

Andy DeitrickAndy Dietrick, B.S. (UAF Bristol Bay Campus): Andy is literally one of the best people in the world! An Engineer by trade, Andy currently works as Campus Liaison for Bristol Bay Campus in Unalaska and runs his own drone piloting and aerial mapping business, Aleutian Aerial LLC. Andy came to St. Paul with Missy in the summer of 2017 to conduct a Discover SCUBA course for the Tribe and community. He is not an AAUS diver (yet), but did take some great photos and video (otherwise known as “footy”) that he shared with Pribs Blues Muse.

Alex FilardoAlex Filardo, B.S. (UAF-CFOS): Alex was the 2017 PIBKC Project Dive Technician working May through August with Jared Weems and the dive team on St. Paul Island. He started with nearly 4 years of experience working and scuba diving with marine invertebrates, fishes, and marine reptiles while studying and working under faculty and graduate students at the University of California Santa Cruz. He also volunteered for the Hawaii Island Hawksbill Sea Turtle Conservation Project. Needless to say, though certainly necessary, the first field season could not have been completed with him and he was a great friend and community member. After his time spent with this project, Alex has moved on to Graduate School in Marine Sciences at Hawaii Pacific University.

Missy GoodMelissa Deiman Good, M.S. (UAF Sea Grant): Missy is the University of Alaska Fairbanks Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program (MAP) Agent for the Aleutian and Pribilof Islands based in Unalaska. She is a long time friend and colleague and diver for our project. We have also worked together in her Discover SCUBA camp in June 2017 and during Bering Sea Days on St. Paul for the last few years.

Pamela LestenkoffPamela Lestenkof, M.S. Candidate (Co-Director, Ecosystem Conservation Office, Tribal Government of Saint Paul Island, Pribilof Aleut Community of Saint Paul Island): Pamela was born and raised on St. Paul Island and began her career as a biologist working with the Pribilof Islands Stewardship Program in 2000. In 2002 Pamela received a Bachelor of Science Degree in fisheries from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and was a Master of Science Candidate in Zoology from 2004-2008 at the University of British Columbia where she conducted research using satellite telemetry to study the at-sea foraging behavior of northern fur seal females. She is now based on St. Paul Island where she is responsible for managing ECO’s Subsistence Resources and Environmental Management/Services Divisions and associated programs and projects. (taken from BeringWatch website)

Chris MillbernChris Millbern (2016 AAUS/OWUSS Society Fellow): Chris came to St. Paul with Ginny and I when this project was still just in its pilot phase. He was a welcome, enthusiastic diver with many talents and experiences that helped us develop the do’s and dont’s of our burgeoning field operations. Though we were interested in how many crazy places he had been diving and places still to go, we felt he really enjoyed his time on St. Paul. He contributed quite a bit in his limited time with us!

Veronica PadulaVeronica Padula, M.S. (STEM Education Coordinator, Ecosystem Conservation Office, Tribal Government of Saint Paul Island, Pribilof Aleut Community of Saint Paul Island): Veronica is a UAF-CFOS Ph.D. student and recent hire for the Tribe as Education Coordinator. She is a trained seabird biologist working on marine plastics pollution integration into seabirds and all trophic levels. She enjoys and values education with K-12 students and disseminating scientific information to the public.

Jenny MugShot Jenny Renee (UAF-CFOS): Jenny is the 2018 PIBKC Project Dive Technician working May through August with Jared Weems and the dive team on St. Paul Island. She is currently entering her Senior year at University of Washington in Seattle and majors in Oceanography and Environmental Studies. She has a diverse background of education and work history, lending well to our needs on St. Paul. She has been working through her Senior thesis and internship with our sister BKC project under the instruction of Drs. P.Sean McDonald and Kirsten Holsman. Her work on updating existing BKC school curriculum will be fully developed here on island and completed by May 2019.

Carl St JohnCarl St. John, B.S. (ADF&G Dive Technician): Carl was a collaborating Fish and Game diver that spent some time with us in 2017 as a reciprocity diver. He received his degree from Cornell and served ADFG in Juneau working with Marine Scientist Dr. Chris Siddon for the Commercial Fisheries Division. He worked with Golden King Crab projects in the Aleutians and diver surveys in Southeast Alaska. He currently is a fisheries Masters student in Los Angeles, CA.

TDX EmblemCharles Stepetin (TDX Corp of St. Paul, Lunax Captain): Charles, a US veteran, pulls weekend duties as Captain when and works for TDX out of the St. Paul Museaum during the week. He received his USCG Captain’s license in Winter 2016. He trains and serves for City Search and Rescue at Sea operations. He enjoys working with us and always tries to be as helpful. Otherwise, he enjoys time at home with his wife and young son.

Duck WernerRichard “Duck” Werner (Tribe of St. Paul, Lunax Captain): Duck was born and raised in St. Paul and currently works for the Tribe. With a ton of local sea experience, the Tribe helped him achieve his USCG Captain’s license in Winter 2016. He now helps chauffeur visiting scientists when available. He trains and serves for City Search and Rescue at Sea operations. He enjoys working with us on the boat, always interested and willing to give a helping hand. Otherwise, he enjoys being home and traveling with his wife and children.