2017-2018 Scientist in Residency Fellows

Alek Petty

NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center; University of Maryland

Dr. Petty is a sea ice scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and the University of Maryland. He is a British citizen, but moved to the US in January of 2014. Alek completed his Masters in Physics at Bristol University in 2010, and his PhD in Climate Science at University College London in 2014. He uses satellite and airborne sea ice observations, together with climate model simulations and a variety of data analysis tools, to better understand Arctic and Antarctic sea ice variability and their impacts on the global climate system. A new research focus for Alek has been sea ice forecasting, including seasonal predictions of the summer Arctic and Alaskan sea ice conditions. His work has been featured in several NASA features on Arctic sea ice. He was selected as an International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) Early Career Fellow in 2016 and is organizing a discussion group at the upcoming POLAR2018 workshop in Davos, Switzerland on the impact of extreme events in the Arctic. Alek has been lucky enough to visit the polar regions on several occasions, including two research expeditions around the Beaufort Gyre, north of Alaska, and two NASA airborne campaigns over Greenland and Antarctica. He mainly spent this time pointing and taking photographs. In his spare time, Alek likes to watch and play football (the British kind), listen to music and, more recently, struggle to catch fish in the rivers of Virginia. Learn more about Alek's research activities here, or follow him on Twitter!. Skaggs Fellow - October 2017.

Alek's activities in Sitka

  • Raven Radio Morning interview
  • Natural History Seminar at UAS - “Rapid declines in Arctic sea ice cover: what does this mean for Alaska?”
  • Blatchley Middle School - "Using satellite data to model sea ice and predict future scenarios"
  • Sitka High School and Mount Edgecumbe High School "Satellite technology"


Kate Stafford

University of Washington School of Oceanography

Dr Kate Stafford is a Principal Oceanographer at the Applied Physics Lab and affiliate Associate Professor in the School of Oceanography at the University of Washington in Seattle.  Kate has BAs in French Literature and Biology from the University of California at Santa Cruz and degrees in Wildlife Science (MS) and Oceanography (PhD) from Oregon State University. She is one of the founding members of the Scholarly Union for Bio-Physical Arctic Research and co-chair of the Southern Ocean Research Partnership Blue and Fin Whale Acoustics project. Before going to graduate school, she lived as a Fulbright scholar for a year in Paris studying Medieval French Literature. Kate's research focuses on using passive acoustic monitoring to examine migratory movements, geographic variation and physical drivers of marine mammals, particularly large whales. She has worked all over the world from the tropics to the poles, and is fortunate enough to have seen (and recorded) blue whales in every ocean in which they occur.  Kate’s current research focuses on the changing acoustic environment of the Arctic and how changes, from sea ice declines to increasing industrial human use, may be influencing subarctic and Arctic marine mammals. Kate is an Air Force brat who was born in Tachikawa, Japan, and hasn’t stopped traveling since. November, 2017

Kate's activities in Sitka


Andrew Von Duyke

North Slope Borough, Department of Wildlife Management

Andy is a wildlife biologist at the North Slope Borough Department of Wildlife Management in Barrow, Alaska. His Bachelor’s degree is from Purdue University, where he studied mechanical design & biology. Early on, Andy designed everything from medical products to toys, and he has 15 patents. Jumping at a chance to winter-over at Palmer Station, Antarctica, Andy wore many hats (e.g., carpenter, electrician, welder); but found marine science the most gratifying. After his time on the ice, Andy earned a Master’s in conservation biology from the University of Minnesota. He has worked with wolves, moose, waterbirds, and shorebirds; has taught several college courses; and mentors wildlife biology undergrads. Currently, Andy leads ice-seal and polar bear research at the NSB-DWM. His research investigates the spatial ecology of ringed-, spotted-, and bearded-seals. He also studies non-invasive genetic sampling methods for polar bears and seals; and is deeply involved in polar bear policy. Andy is a member of the ESA Polar Bear Recovery Team, the Scientific Working Group of the US-Russia Bilateral Commission, and the Polar Bear Technical Committee. He was also a US delegate to the Polar Bear Range States and US-Russia Bilateral meetings. In his free time, Andy plays guitar, dogsleds, and enjoys outdoors. January, 2018

Andrew's activities in Sitka

Raven Radio Morning Interview

Natural History Seminar Summary

Sitka High School "designing and testing non-invasive genetic samples for small mammals"

William Gilly

Hopkins Marine Station, Stanford University

William F. Gilly received a BSE (Electrical Engineering, 1972) from Princeton and a Ph.D. (Physiology and Biophysics, 1978) from Washington University. He had additional training at Yale University, University of Pennsylvania and the Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole. He has contributed to our basic understanding of electrical excitability in nerve and muscle cells in a wide range of organisms ranging from brittle-stars to mammals. Much of this work employed the giant axon system of the squid as an experimental model system for molecular and biophysical approaches.  Professor Gilly's current research program on squid concentrates on the behavior,  physiology and ecology of Dosidicus gigas, the jumbo or Humboldt squid. Fieldwork in the Gulf of California and off Monterey Bay employs electronic tagging and acoustic methods in order to track vertical and horizontal movements and to estimate biomass. In 2004, he served as Director and Chief Scientist of the Sea of Cortez Expedition and Education Project, an 8-week journey throughout Mexico's Sea of Cortez that retraced the legendary 1940 trip made by writer John Steinbeck and marine biologist Ed Ricketts. Gilly currently runs an engaging outreach program called Squids-4-kids that brings jumbo squid to primary school students. Find out more about his lab's research here.

(Fall 2018)