Thea Johanos

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Voices from the Science Centers


Voices from the Science Centers is an oral history initiative dedicated to documenting the institutional knowledge of fisheries scientists and administrators in the labs of NOAA’s Fisheries Science Centers.

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Biographical Sketch

Thea Johanos has been a research wildlife biologist with the Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program at the Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center (and its precursor, the Honolulu Lab) since 1982. She grew up in both Texas and Pennsylvania, and did her undergraduate and graduate work at Penn State University. After graduate school, she applied for work in Hawaii, as her family had just moved there. Her first job in Hawaii was with the US Forest Service working with Hawaiian honeycreepers and other forest birds. When the head of the newly established Hawaiian Monk Seal Research program was looking for field crew members, a contact in the bird community recommended Thea. The timing was right, since the bird program was being cut, so she switched to the monk seal program and has been with it ever since.

Interview contains discussions of: student research work in Wallops Island, Virginia, and Ossabaw Island, Georgia, animal behavior monk seal population assessment, field work, Northwestern Hawaiian islands, Critter cam.

Thea Johanos provides a rich description of her work with the endangered Hawaiian monk seal. She discusses her field work which she began in 1982. In addition, she describes how technology has changed in the field.

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