Scholarly and Creative Interests

At COA Sean serves as part of the marine science faculty, and believes strongly in placing students in the field environment to provide the best possible experiential education. This includes numerous field trips on the ocean and visits to the Colleges offshore islands.

As a researcher, Sean is involved in several projects as a principal investigator. Studies include: photo-identification and biopsy of finback and humpback whales, working at sites that vary from the remote field site of Mount Desert Rock, located 25 miles offshore in the Gulf of Maine, to the Antarctic Peninsula; bioacoustic assessments of whale-shipstrike interactions; and examinations of baleen whale and pinniped foraging ecology using stable isotopes. He is also the director of the Marine Mammal Stranding Response Program at College of the Atlantic.

Much of Sean’s background is in the field of fishery-marine mammal interactions. He spent 10 years in Newfoundland as part of the Whale Disentanglement team, a group that releases large entangled whales from fishing gear. In Maine he is trained as part of a first response team that performs a similar function, coordinated by the Center for Coastal Studies, and regularly consults with the federal and state governments on disentanglement activities. He has worked on several projects that successfully designed alarms for fishing gear that reduce marine mammal entanglements. 

Community Engagement and Advocacy

Sean also serves on the Scientific Advisory Boards of both the American Cetacean Society and The Marine Environmental Research Institute.