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:

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) 

Future Scientists:

Past Scientists: 




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