Dr. Eric VanderWerf
Director of Science
Eric VanderWerf earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University in 1988 and Master of Science degree from the University of Florida in 1992. In 1999, he completed a Ph.D. at the University of Hawaii, where his research focused on plumage variation and effects of habitat disturbance and diseases on population biology of the Hawaii Elepaio.
He has worked on a variety of conservation and ornithological projects in Hawaii and throughout the Pacific since 1991 during stints with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Hawaii Division of Forestry and Wildlife. He has continued and expanded upon that work since founding Pacific Rim Conservation in 2007.
Eric has authored over 100 scientific papers, book chapters, government documents, and technical reports, serves as the leader of the Hawaiian Forest Bird Recovery Team for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, on the Endangered Species Recovery Committee for State of Hawaii, as an associate editor for the Condor, and as an associate editor of the Birds of North America.
Eric was also one of the 2011 recipients of the US Fish and Wildlife Service Endangered Species Recovery Champion Awards for his work on the Nihoa Millerbird Translocation.
Dr. Lindsay Young
Vice President and Executive Director
Lindsay Young earned a Bachelor of Science from the University of British Columbia and a Master of Science from the University of Hawaii. In 2009, she completed her Ph.D. at the University of Hawaii where her dissertation research focused on the population genetics, at sea foraging ecology, and conservation needs of Laysan Albatross.
Lindsay has worked on numerous conservation projects in Hawaii and the Pacific region over the last twelve years and was the project coordinator for the Kaena Point Ecosystem Restoration Project which installed the first predator proof fence in the U.S. at Kaena Point on Oahu. She is currently focused on conducting translocation of Hawaiian Petrels and Newell’s Shearwaters at Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge into Kauai’s first predator proof fence.
Lindsay has authored several dozen scientific papers, served as the treasurer for the Pacific Seabird Group, the chair of the North Pacific Albatross Working Group, is the former North Pacific correspondent for ACAP (Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels), and as a reviewer for multiple refereed journals. Lindsay was one of the 2011 recipients of the US Fish and Wildlife Service Endangered Species Recovery Champion Awards for her work on the Nihoa Millerbird Translocation, and in 2016 she was awarded a special achievement award from the Pacific Seabird Group for her work with Hawaiian seabirds. She currently serves as an affiliate graduate faculty member at the University of Hawaii Natural Resources and Environmental Management Department and as secretary of The Wildlife Society Hawaii Chapter.
Robby Kohley earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Walla Walla College in 2000. He has extensive experience in avian ecology and aviculture in particular. Robby was the Research Coordinator and Facility Manager for the San Diego Zoo’s Hawai’i Endangered Bird Conservation Program at the Keauhou Bird Conservation Center from 2007-2009, and also has worked for State of Hawaii on the Maui and Kauai Forest Bird Recovery Projects, for the American Bird Conservancy on translocation of the Millerbird from Nihoa to Laysan, for the Institute for Wildlife Studies, and for the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge as a seabird monitoring crew leader on Buldir Island. He joined Pacific Rim Conservation in 2015 to oversee all aspects of PRC’s aviculture and captive reating program. Robby assists with several projects, but his primary responsibilities are overseeing the care, feeding, and release of translocated Albatross, Petrel and Shearwater chicks.
Megan Dalton is from Salt Lake City, Utah, and earned her Bachelor of Science degree at Westminster College. She worked as an avian field biologist for several years in Hawai`i, on the mainland and most recently in the Marianas, primarily with endangered bird species. She has been involved in Albatross counting on Midway, Millerbird monitoring on Laysan and Megapode monitoring in the Marianas. Her favorite place in the world is the remote Northwestern Hawaiian Islands where seabirds abound. Megan has been with PRC since 2016 and is a biologist on both the Albatross translocation project at James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge and the Newell’s Shearwater and Hawaiian Petrel projects at Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge on Kauai.
Erika Dittmar earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Ferris State University in 2008 and a Master of Science degree from University of Illinois in 2012. She has extensive experience in avian ecology with a focus on endangered species management. Erika has worked on various projects across the US assisting with management of endangered songbirds, woodpeckers, hawks, sea lions, salmon, trout, turtles, butterflies, and grasshoppers. She also has extensive experience with restoration of numerous native plant species and research focused on migratory bird habitat conservation. She joined Pacific Rim Conservation in 2018. Erika assists with several projects, but her primary responsibilities are monitoring Oahu ‘Elepaio, Laysan Albatross, and surveying for Hawaiian Petrel and Newall’s Shearwater.
Leilani earned her Bachelors of Science degree in Marine Biology from Brigham Young University – Hawaii in 2016. With a focus in animal care and rehabilitation, Leilani has worked at the Monterey Bay Aquarium with their Sea Otter Research and Conservation team, at the Alaska SeaLife Center assisting in researching and rehabilitating marine mammals and as a Research Assistant with One Ocean Diving studying shark communication and behavior. In 2016 Leilani began as a volunteer with our Laysan Albatross relocation project and is very excited to join the PRC team. In her free time Leilani runs Kaikoa Conservation, a non-profit research and conservation organization but you will also find her freediving, SCUBA diving, running or designing art for various conservation organizations. If you would like to set up a school tour to the albatross translocation site, Leilani can be contacted below.
Avian Care Specialist
Rachel has had a passion for animals that led to Southeastern Oklahoma State University, where she graduated in 2011 with a degree in Wildlife Biology. While there, she focused on conservation, techniques, ornithology and mammals. After graduation, she lived in Germany for four years where she worked for the Army and traveled Europe. In 2016, she volunteered with our Laysan Albatross relocation project, and we were thrilled to hire her full time for the 2017 season. Rachel is a “Wheels for Wildlife” volunteer for the Hawaii Wildlife Center and assists in transferring sick and injured animals to the center to receive care. When she’s not working, her hobbies include traveling, woodworking, snorkeling and birdwatching. .
Avian Care Specialist
Marilou Knight, making Kauai her home since 2006, fell in love with seabirds upon meeting her first Laysan Albatross. She started monitoring and caring for seabirds as a volunteer at Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge in that same year. In 2010, Marilou began working for Save Our Shearwaters as a field tech where she continued to develop her rehabilitation and health evaluation skills. Marilou joined Pacific Rim Conservation in 2015 with the Hawaiian Petrel and Newell’s Shearwater translocation project at Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge.