J Michael Williamson

J. Michael Williamson

Associate Professor – Marine Sciences

Principal Investigator – WhaleNet

(mwilliamson @ whalenet.org)

Michael founded WhaleNet in 1993 to excite students about math, science, the environment and technology (articles). His extensive involvement in marine science and education helped inspire this project. Williamson, an Associate Professor of Science at Wheelock College in Boston, Massachusetts 1988-2008, taught marine biology, oceanography, physical science, environmental science, and mathematics courses. He currently directs WhaleNet. He also teaches and advises on marine science education and whale research annually at St. Mary’s Anglican Girls School in Perth, Western Australia as a Scientist in Residence.

Williamson’s memberships have included the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council, the Education Advisory Committee for the Sustainable Seas Expedition (NOAA & National Geographic Society), the Society of Marine Mammology, theMarine Technology Society, the Massachusetts Marine Educators, and the National Science Teachers Association, and is the Associate Director of the Mingan Island Cetacean Study. He was also a pioneer in Massachusetts whale research as the former director of the Pelagic Systems Research/Massachusetts Whale Watch, which began studying cetaceans in Massachusetts Bay in 1976.

J. Michael Williamson is a member of Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society, a non-profit membership society of more than 60,000 scientists and engineers who were elected to the Society because of their research achievements or potential.

Articles:  http://whalenet.org/about/whalenet-articles-reviews/


Vice President, Mingan Island Cetacean Study – USA
Conducts research on distribution, identification, and behavior studies with blue, humpback, fin, and minke whales. MICS devised unique methods for Blue Whale identification, and data and research methods for aerial and shipboard survey of marine mammals in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and Gulf of California, Baja. MICS consulted for Hydro-Quebec and Parks Canada. [7/81 to Present]Education Advisory Committee, Sustainable Seas Expedition(NGS), Washington, DC Member of the Education Advisory Committee for the Sustainable Seas Expedition, National Geographic Society, to assume an overall educational program at the national level. [10/98 to present]

Advisory Council Board Member, NOAA Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, MA

Executive Committee, Massachusetts Bay Marine Studies Consortium, MA
Member of the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Bay Marine Studies Consortium which is comprised of 19 colleges and universities in the greater Boston area. [5/92 to 6/96]

Board of Directors, Atlantic Cetacean Research Center Gloucester, MA
Member of the Board of Directors for a whale research and education organization that focuses its research on the fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus) and runs educational field trips for students. [1993 to 1996]

Director & Founder, Marine Education & Research Group MA Research coordination with educational programs for research interns, graduate students, and junior and high school students (day camp in marine mammal ecology for students, grades 6 – 12). [1991 to 1995]

Director, Pelagic Systems Research/Mass. Whale Watch MA
Mass. Bay study of cetacean behavior, distribution, identification, and movement in relation to tidal currents and internal waves on Stellwagen Bank. [9/78 to 9/85]

Co-Principal Investigator, Earthwatch Newfoundland
Aerial and shipboard observation of cetacea to study their distribution and behavior, and to photo-identify the local populations of Trinity and Conception Bays. [1980]

C.E.T.A.P. Observer George’s Bank to Nova Scotia
Research Sector Coordinator – coordinated the research in two sectors, Jeffery’s Ledge and Stellwagen Bank, for the Minimum Right Whale Count conducted in May. Conducted a census of cetacea for a BLM grant under the administration of the Univ. of Rhode Island. [1979]

Observer, Mount Desert Rock Cetacean Study Maine
Research cetacea and pinnipeds, coordinated by Dr. Steve Katona, College of the Atlantic, Bar Harbor, Maine. [1978]

Participant, Northeast Stranding Network New England
Assist (voluntary) on marine mammal necropsies with the New England Aquarium.

Participant, Ocean Research and Education Society N. Atlantic
Whale research along the east coasts of Newfoundland and Labrador conducted aboard the Regina Maris with Dr. Kenneth Norris, UC Santa Cruz, and Dr. Kenneth Balcomb, Orca Survey. [1976]


SIGMA XI – The Scientific Research Society
SMM – Society of Marine Mammalogy
MTS – Marine Technology Society
MME – Massachusetts Marine Educators
MAMEA – Mid-Atlantic Marine Education Association
MBMSC – Massachusetts Bay Marine Studies Consortium
NABT – National Association of Biology Teachers
NMEA – National Marine Educators Association
NSTA – National Science Teachers Association
NAMMA – North Atlantic Marine Mammal Association


“Learning Strategies for Science Education Websites” Invited panelist 2000 and 1999
The workshop is presented by The University of Utah Science Learning Center, the U.S. Department of Energy, the Research Council, and the National Neurofibromatosis Foundation. The workshop organizers invite 34 panelists, who in their opinion, based on an “exhaustive search of the Internet”, are among the best developers of science education WWW sites in the country.”Internet-Based Nature Observation Projects/Initiatives” Invited Participant 2000
The workshop in Bonn, Germany selected developers of educational WWW pages and programs related to the work within the UN Convention on Biodiversity. Invitee from the United States.

United States Pavilion, World EXPO ’98 Invited exhibitor 1998
WhaleNet was selected to exhibit in the U.S. Pavilion at EXPO ’98, Lisbon, Portugal.

Educational Technology Awards
The awards and recognition that WhaleNet has received can be accessed through the following link: http://whale.wheelock.edu/whalenet-stuff/corp/awards.html


Williamson, J. Michael et al. WhaleNet Guide to Whales and Marine Mammals of the North Atlantic Ocean. CD-ROM 1997.Williamson, J. Michael, et al. WhaleNet – Interactive Education. Wheelock College, 1995.

Williamson, J. Michael & Heather Serrill. The World of Whales, Dolphins, and Porpoises, Interdisciplinary Curriculum Units for Pre-K through High School. Wheelock College, 1993.

Williamson, J. Michael. Marine Science Activities on A Budget, Wheelock College, Boston, 1992.

Williamson, J. Michael. How to Build an Inflatable Whale, Wheelock College, Boston, 1992.

PAPERS & PUBLICATIONS: Research, (partial listing)

Early,Greg, Robert Cooper, Scott Kraus, and Michael Williamson. “Determining Survival of Rehabilitated Seals Using Satellite Telemetry.” New England Aquarium, and Wheelock College, Boston, Massachusetts, 1999.Early,Greg, Robert Cooper, Scott Kraus, and Michael Williamson. “What Happens After Release?” (Movements and behavior of rehabilitated seals as determined by satellite linked time depth recorders). New England Aquarium, and Wheelock College, Boston, Massachusetts, 1999.

Fioravanti-Score, A. , Sarah V. Mitchell, and J. Michael Williamson . Use of Satellite Telemetry Technology to Enhance Research and Education in the Protection of Loggerhead Sea Turtles, 19th annual Symposium on Sea Turtle Biology and Conservation, 1999.

Williamson, J.M. WhaleNet – Interactive Education and Research Utilizing Advanced Technologies. Marine Technology Society Journal Vol 32(1):106-017, 1998.

Sears, R., J. Michael Williamson,and Frederick Wenzel. Photographic Identification of the Blue Whale (Balaenoptera musculus) in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Canada. Rep. Int. Whal. Comm (Special Issue 12), SC/A88/ID23, Cambridge, England, 1990.

Williamson, J. Michael & Richard Sears. CURRENT FINDINGS IN BLUE WHALE RESEARCH UTILIZING NEW RESEARCH TECHNIQUES, Presented 48th Annual Eastern New England Biological Conference, April, 1989.

Sears, R., F.W. Wenzel and J. Michael Williamson. THE BLUE WHALE: A CATALOGUE OF INDIVIDUALS FROM THE WESTERN NORTH ATLANTIC (GULF OF ST. LAWRENCE). Mingan Island Cetacean Study, St. Lambert, Quebec, 1987.

Williamson, J. Michael. “Marine Mammals in the Gulf,” NEXUS, QLF Atlantic Center for the Environment, Vol. 9, No. 2, Spring 1987.

Sears, Richard & J.M. Williamson. THE PHOTOGRAPHIC IDENTIFICATION OF INDIVIDUAL BLUE WHALES (Balaenoptera Musculus) IN THE SEA OF CORTES. Presented – Sixth Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals, 1985.

Williamson, J. Michael. “Humpback Whale Research in the Gulf of St. Lawrence,” J. OF THE AMERICAN CETACEAN SOCIETY, Vol. 19, No. 3, Fall 1985.

Williamson, J. Michael, F.Wenzel, R. Sears & J. Lemire. HUMPBACK WHALE RESEARCH IN THE GULF OF ST. LAWRENCE: RESIGHTINGS AND MOVEMENTS IN THE WESTERN NORTH ATLANTIC. Presented – North Atlantic Marine Mammal Assoc. Conference, 1984.

Sears, Richard, J.M. Williamson, F.W.Wenzel, M. Bezeau & J. Lemire. THE BLUE WHALE (B. MUSCULUS) IN THE GULF OF ST. LAWRENCE: AN UPDATE. Presented – Fifth Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals, 1983.

PUBLISHED REPORTS, (partial listing)

Berube M., R. Sears & J.M. Williamson. A STUDY OF THE DISTRIBUTION AND ABUNDANCE OF MARINE MAMMALS IN THE GULF OF ST. LAWRENCE: 1983 – 1988, Mingan Island Cetacean Study (MICS), Hamilton, MA and St. Lambert, Quebec. 1991.Sears, R., F.W. Wenzel, & J.M. Williamson. BEHAVIOR AND DISTRIBUTION OBSERVATIONS OF CETACEA ALONG THE QUEBEC NORTH SHORE (SEPT-ILES TO BLANC SABLON & THE MINGAN ISLANDS), Mingan Island Cetacean Study (MICS) Annual Report, Beverly, MA and Sept-Iles, Quebec. 1983.

Sears, R. & J.M. Williamson. A PRELIMINARY AERIAL SURVEY OF MARINE MAMMALS FOR THE GULF OF ST. LAWRENCE TO DETERMINE THEIR DISTRIBUTION AND RELATIVE ABUNDANCE, Parks Canada Contract #81-1272. Mingan Island Cetacean Study (MICS Project M06), Falmouth, MA and Sept-Iles, Quebec, 1982.


Sears, R., F.W. Wenzel & J.M. Williamson. AERIAL SURVEY OF MAMMALS ALONG THE QUEBEC LOWER NORTH SHORE AND ITS PRINCIPAL RIVER ESTUARIES. Mingan Island Cetacean Study (MICS). Hydro-Quebec Report. Meriden, CT and Sept-Iles, Quebec. 1982.

Sears, R., F.W. Wenzel & J.M. Williamson. BEHAVIOR AND DISTRIBUTION OBSERVATIONS OF CETACEA ALONG THE QUEBEC NORTH SHORE (SEPT-ILES TO BLANC SABLON & THE MINGAN ISLANDS). Mingan Island Cetacean Study (MICS) Annual Report. E. Falmouth, MA and Quebec City, Quebec. 1982.

Sears, R., F.W. Wenzel & J.M. Williamson. BEHAVIOR AND DISTRIBUTION OBSERVATIONS OF CETACEA ALONG THE QUEBEC NORTH SHORE (MINGAN ISLANDS). Mingan Island Cetacean Study (MICS) Annual Report. E. Falmouth, MA and Quebec City, Quebec. 1982.

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