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Scientist in Residency Fellowship

The Sitka Sound Science Center, through funding from the National Science Foundation, has established a Scientist in Residency Fellowship (SIRF) at the Center in Sitka. For the past three years fellowships have been awarded to preeminent marine scientists from across the country. The SIRF program brings scientists to Sitka for one month sabbaticals to allow them time to work undisturbed by their usual daily routine. The program will also provide community engagement opportunities for scientists to share their research and to help improve ocean literacy in our community. We are pleased to announce this year’s group of impressive Fellows:


Current Scientist:

Michael Lannoo

Indiana University School of Medicine

Michael is a Professor of Anatomy and Cell Biology at the Indiana University School of Medicine, and is the Associate Director of Academics at the Iowa Lakeside Laboratory. He was born in Moline, Illinois and has a family: his wife Sue and their son Pete, who is an undergraduate at Cornell University. Mike has a B.S. degree in Biology and a M.S. degree in Animal Ecology from Iowa State University, and a Ph.D from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He has published over 130 scientific articles and seven books, including “Leopold’s Shack and Ricketts’s Lab: The Emergence of Environmentalism” through the University of California Press. In 2001, Mike received the Parker/Gentry Award for Excellence and Innovation in Conservation Biology from The Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, IL. This award honors “an outstanding individual, team or organization whose efforts are distinctive and courageous and have had a significant impact on preserving the world’s natural heritage, and whose actions and approaches can serve as a model to others” (learn more). Mike has field experience in both tropical (Jamaica, Venezuela) and polar (Antarctica) ecosystems, and well as in his native temperate ecosystems—the wetland and prairies of the Midwestern United States. He has field station experience not only at the Iowa Lakeside Lab (since 1977), but also at Woods Hole (1983), Scripps (1987–’88), and McMurdo (1997–’98). His current research interests center around the conservation biology of amphibians and the nervous and sensory systems of Bering Sea fishes. (October 2014)

Future Scientists:

Rob Harcourt

Macquarie University

Rob is the Director of the Marine Mammal Research Group, Department of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University. His research involves Animal Behaviour and Ecology.  His main interests revolve around the importance of individual variation in behavior to foraging, communication, mating tactics and life experience. Recently much of Rob’s research has focused on individual differences and evolutionary mechanisms, combining observation and experimental manipulation of behavior in the field with genetics. His second major thrust has been the use of technology to ‘open a window’ into the world of large marine predators. His team was the first to successfully deploy satellite transmitters on fur seals and wintering Adelie penguins. This research has helped transform our understanding of how warm-blooded animals cope with environmental extremes as they forage and breed in the marine environment. Dr. Harcourt is Lead of the Australian Animal Tagging and Monitoring System (AATAMS),  using satellite tags, dive recorders and acoustic transmitters to observe large marine life including fish, sharks, seals, dolphins, whales, penguins and seabirds. He is also very interested in detecting how these animals respond to changes in the marine environment. (April 2015) 

Past Scientists: 




For more information contact SIRF Director, Victoria O’Connell (