Northwest Fisheries Science Center

Meet the AUV Team

M. Elizabeth Clarke

Research Fisheries Biologist, Northwest Fisheries Science Center

image of Elizabeth Clarke Elizabeth Clarke is a research fisheries biologist at NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center. Dr. Clarke leads the AUV research at the Northwest Center. Her interests are in fisheries and fisheries-oceanography, particularly in understanding the environmental factors that affect fish populations. She is currently focusing her research on developing Autonomous Underwater Vehicles as routine tools for monitoring fish and their environment. She also is actively involved in using this technology to understand and map deep water corals and sponges. Elizabeth joined NOAA Fisheries in 1998 in the Office of Science and Technology where she focused on developing new science quality assurance and fisheries oceanography programs. Before joining NOAA Fisheries, she was on the faculty of the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science at the University of Miami. During sabbatical leave from the University, she was the associate director of the Ocean Studies Board of the National Research Council (NRC), National Academy of Sciences where she was also the study director for several congressionally mandated NRC studies including the Review of the Northeast Groundfish Stock Assessment. Elizabeth has a Ph.D. from UCSD Scripps Institution of Oceanography, an M.S. in fisheries biology from the University of Alaska and a B.S. in biological science from the University of California, Irvine.

Erica Fruh

Research Fisheries Biologist, Fishery Resource Analysis and Monitoring Division, Northwest Fisheries Science Center

image of Erica FruhErica Fruh began working for the Fishery Resource Analysis and Monitoring Division of the Northwest Fisheries Science Center in 2001 as a member of the survey team. She spends the majority of the field season aboard chartered commercial fishing vessels conducting surveys of the groundfish resources on the West Coast as a field party chief. Erica researches the distribution of marine debris in the waters of the West Coast and life history characteristics of West Coast groundfish. Erica is also a member of the Division team developing AUV (Autonomous Underwater Vehicle) technology for monitoring groundfish in rocky habitats on the West Coast. She earned her B.S. in Marine Biology from Auburn University, and her M.S. in Marine Resource Management from Oregon State University.

Curt Whitmire

Information Technology Specialist, Fishery Resource Analysis and Monitoring Division, Northwest Fisheries Science Center

image of Curt WhitmireCurt Whitmire received a B.S. in Biology from Arizona State University in 1997 and a M.S. in Marine Resource Management from Oregon State University in 2003. Shortly after completing graduate school, Curt joined the Fishery Resource Analysis and Monitoring Division of NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center. Curt provides technical support for programs in FRAM, conducting spatial analyses of various data associated with west coast groundfish surveys and assessments. Recently, Curt joined the Center’s Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) team that is developing survey methods for habitats not accessible to traditional sampling gears. Curt also maintains a database on occurrences of deep-sea corals and other biogenic structure-forming invertebrates off the west coast of the U.S. In 2007, he co-authored the West Coast chapter of NOAA’s first status report on deep-sea coral ecosystems.

Jeff Anderson

Marine Ecosystem Research Specialist, Coral Reef Ecosystem Division, Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center

image of Jeff AndersonJeff Anderson is a Marine Ecosystem Research Specialist with NOAA Fisheries’ Coral Reef Ecosystem Division (CRED) where he is a member of the Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) team and conducts benthic habitat surveys collecting coral reef ecosystem data for long-term monitoring and research. Prior to joining CRED, he worked on NOAA’s Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary’s Damage Assessment and Resource Protection (DARP) team stationed in Key Largo, FL. In that role, Jeff specialized in conducting benthic habitat surveys to document injuries to natural resources and to collect data for the long-term monitoring of vessel grounding restoration sites. Additionally, Jeff helped the Sanctuary maintain a network of 35 subsurface water temperature monitoring devices.

In addition to his work with NOAA, Jeff, a lifelong naturalist, is a freelance underwater photographer and has lived, worked, and dove throughout the southern Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea region. Highlighting nature’s stirring beauty, his text and photographs have been featured in national and international SCUBA diving magazines and ad campaigns. Jeff shares his passion for the outdoors with others, narrating his experiences in multimedia presentations to photography, nature, and SCUBA diving clubs. With over 19 years of active SCUBA diving experience, he has been instructing others about the beauty of the underwater realm and led several dive charters. Jeff has volunteered repeatedly with the Cayman Islands’ and State of Florida’s Departments of Environment to assist their marine turtle migration studies as well as monitoring active marine turtle nesting beaches.

Jeff has been a NOAA Working Diver since 2008, NOAA Scientific Diver since 2000, and a PADI Master SCUBA Diver Trainer since 1997.

Jeremy C. Taylor

AUV Project Manager, Coral Reef Ecosystem Division, Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center

image of Jeremy C. TaylorJeremy C. Taylor is the Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) project manager for the Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center (PIFSC), Coral Reef Ecosystem Division (CRED). For the past year and a half CRED has been working with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and Northwest Fisheries Science Center towards developing a working AUV program for monitoring coral reef system in Hawaii and ground fish in the northwest US and northern California. His studies at Cornell University in the fields of marine science and computer science have lead him to five years as survey technician for the NOAA fleet and now to the emerging technology of AUVs.

Learn more about the Coral Reef Ecosystem Division of the Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center by visiting: