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Marine and Fisheries Ecologist Is New Kent Island Director

Story posted April 28, 2008

It is a new era for Bowdoin's Kent Island field research station. Beginning May 1, 2008, the Bowdoin Scientific Station (BSS) will welcome new director Damon P. Gannon, an expert in marine mammals and fisheries ecology.

Gannon takes over from Robert Mauck of Kenyon College, who succeeded longtime BSS director Bowdoin Biology Professor Nathaniel Wheelwright in 2004.

Damon Gannon
Damon Gannon

"I am extremely thrilled to be coming to Bowdoin," says Gannon, who will be leaving his post as staff scientist at Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, Florida. "The Bowdoin Scientific Station has such an illustrious history. It's a bit daunting to come in and take over the reigns," he adds, "but the outpouring of support and friendship from everyone at Bowdoin and at the station has been overwhelming."

Gannon is no stranger to the Bay of Fundy, where BSS is located. Previously, he conducted research at the Grand Manan Whale and Seabird Research Station on nearby Grand Manan Island. Much of his recent research has centered on marine bioacoustics—placing sound-detection devices in the ocean to track sound-emitting fish.

"Because of the tides in the Bay of Fundy, it's hard to get boats in and out of Kent Island," notes Gannon. "Remote technologies allow you to record the abundance and behavior of fish without having to be there. These are the kinds of things I'd like to exploit to help BSS have a presence out on the water."

"Damon is going to really broaden research opportunities on Kent Island," notes Wheelwright, Bowdoin's Bass Professor of Natural Sciences. "While the long-term work on Leach's storm-petrels and other bird populations on the island will continue, he will bring in a whole new suite of researchers and research questions, which will enrich the experience for Bowdoin students."

Among those researchers, says Dean for Academic Affairs Cristle Collins Judd, are fellow Bowdoin faculty members who have not traditionally been involved in research at BSS.

"Part of what Damon wants to do is to reach out to social science and humanities faculty to explore how their work might be connected to Kent Island," says Judd. "We have extraordinary strength in eco-science and eco-policy. Damon is interested in seeing how his colleagues' work on islands, or histories, or policies around natural resource usage, might be integrated into Kent Island research."

Gannon earned a B.A. in economics at Brandeis University, a M.A. in biology at Bridgewater State College, and a Ph.D. in ecology at Duke University. He has published extensively in scientific journals and presented his research at conferences internationally. His research on Atlantic croaker sound production was featured in National Geographic News.

Gannon will teach a fall 2008 course on the Ecology of the Bay of Fundy and Gulf of Maine.

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