Marine Science Alumni
Amber Howell, (BA '10) After graduating, Amber went to work for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's Marine Mammal Pathobiology Laboratory. In the first year and a half after graduation, she completed over 500 manatee necropsies and was involved in the worst winter in Florida, which contributed greatly to a record number of 767 manatee deaths for 2010. As part of her job, she also rescues injured and sick manatees as well as recover manatee carcasses. Outside of her rescue and necropsy work, Amber determines the age on all manatee earbones and processes all manatee skeleton requests. She has completed a research project comparing the total body length of the manatee to the size of its vestigial pelvic bones to calculate an equation to be used in the field for badly decomposed carcasses that a total body length cannot be obtained. Amber plans to remain in this field in the future and to continue focusing on aging manatee earbones and completing research projects.
Louisa Ponnampalam, (BA '03) went on to finish her PhD at the University of London. Her research was carried out through the Biological Station in Millport, Scotland, with field work conducted in the Gulf of Oman. The title of Dr. Ponnampalam’s dissertation is: Ecological studies and conservation of small cetaceans in the Sultanate of Oman, with special reference to spinner dolphins, Stenella longirostris. Though her doctoral program was fully funded by a British Commonwealth Scholarship, Louisa credits much of her success to her training at UH Hilo, “I must say that Marine Science at UH Hilo provided me a strong foundation for my postgraduate studies, both in theory and practical....I've met numerous people who had studied marine science or zoology, and they are so amazed with all the stories I have to tell of my time as a marine science student at UH Hilo. UH Hilo played a big role in my development as a marine researcher. Mahalo!!”
Dr. Ponnampalam is a research fellow at the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and co-founder of The MareCet Research Organization, the country's first nonprofit dedicated to building capacity for the conservation of the dugong, a herbivorous marine mammal, in Malaysia.
Also see the UH Hilo alumni and friends site.