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Julia O'Hern

Julia O'Hern, Ph.D.

Associate Director, Entanglement Response & Prevention

Our work responding to entangled whales is absolutely critical, and it's going to take research, innovation and partnerships with the fishing community, eco-tourism, industry and agencies to solve the more complex problems that lead to entanglements in the first place.

Dr. Julia O’Hern joined The Marine Mammal Center in 2016 to pursue her passion for ocean science and conservation. In her role as Associate Director of Entanglement Response & Prevention, she is dedicated to large whale entanglement response and training, boating safety, and research contributions.

Previously, Julia served as the Operations Manager for the Center’s Monterey Bay office leading a team of more than 100 volunteers, interns and three staff. In addition to overseeing day-to-day operations, Julia supported the Center’s special rescue operations for entangled California sea lions as well as the West Coast Large Whale Disentanglement Network.

Prior to joining the Center's team, Julia worked as a seagoing oceanographer studying the habitat of cetaceans near the Galapagos Islands. Julia’s research utilized remote-sensing satellite data and non-invasive shipboard surveys to better understand the dynamic habitat of deepwater cetaceans. While finishing graduate school, she sailed on a wide variety of oceanographic research projects around the world and worked as a deckhand and diver before earning her 100-Ton Master Captain’s License.

Julia received her bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and her Master of Science and doctoral degrees from Texas A&M University. She is a NOAA-permitted Level 3 entanglement responder, a co-chair with the Monterey County Marine Protected Area Collaborative and a captain with local whale watching companies.

Residing in Monterey, California, Julia spends her free time sailing, scuba diving and hiking with her dog.


Areas of Expertise

  • Cetacean Behavior and Ecology
  • Oceanography
  • Wildlife Health and Welfare
  • Conservation
  • Marine Operation and Safety



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