Episode 14 – Vaquita Rescue Mission

On this episode Bree Collins and Erin Sullivan speak with Dr. Andy Read and Dr. Randy Wells about their past, present, and future efforts to save the critically endangered vaquita.

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Episode Hosts

Antonio Garcia headshot

Erin Sullivan holds a master’s degree in environmental policy and natural resource management from the University of Denver and took Summer coursework at the Duke Marine Lab in 2020. She plans to apply for a Ph.D. in marine science and conservation.

Instagram: Erinsullivan405

Bree Collins


Andrew Read head shot

Andrew J. Read, Stephen A. Toth Distinguished Professor of Marine Biology in the Nicholas School of the Environment

Dr. Read’s research interests are in the conservation biology of long-lived marine vertebrates, particularly marine mammals, seabirds and sea turtles. Much of his current research documents the effects of human activities on populations of these species and attempts to find solutions to such conflicts. This work involves field work, experimentation and modeling. He is particularly interested in the development and application of new conservation tools.


Andrew Read head shot

Randall Wells, Ph.D.

Dr. Wells is employed by the Chicago Zoological Society and based at Mote Marine Laboratory as the Director of the Sarasota Dolphin Research Program, “the world’s longest-running study of a dolphin population.” This study, initiated at Mote in 1970 and continued through a partnership involving Mote, CZS, and collaborators from around the world, examines the biology, behavior, ecology, health, and human impacts on dolphin populations in Florida and elsewhere, and engages in conservation research training, education, and mitigation activities.

Series Host

Lisa Campbell head shot

Dr. Reny Tyson Moore host the Whale Pod series. She is a broadly trained interdisciplinary behavioral ecologist with expertise in marine mammal bioacoustics, photographic-identification, population biology, and bio-logging tools and techniques. She is currently a staff scientist with Chicago Zoological Society’s Sarasota Dolphin Research Program and a contractor for NOAA Fisheries Office of Protected Resources through Ocean Associates Inc. Reny received her PhD from Duke University in Marine Science and Conservation, where she used high-resolution acoustic and movement tags to study the fine-scale foraging behaviors of humpback whales along the Antarctic Western Peninsula. Before this, Reny obtained her BSc and MSc from Florida State University where she examined nonlinearites in cetacean vocalizations and determined the abundance and community structure of bottlenose dolphins in the Big Bend of Florida. She went on to apply her skills as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow and Scientific Committee of Antarctic Science Fellow at the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Science, based at the University of Tasmania in Hobart, Australia, and then as a postdoctoral scientist with the Chicago Zoological Society’s Sarasota Dolphin Research Program. Reny has published or been a co-author on many peer- reviewed scientific articles, technical reports, conference papers, children’s books, and conference and workshop presentations. She also serves as a mentor and teacher for undergraduate and graduate students at various institutions, including the Duke University Marine Lab.

Supplemental material for this episode