Charles Littnan, a longtime marine biologist, will serve as the new science and research director.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Monday that Charles Littnan will serve as the new science and research director at its Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center.

Charles Littnan, based in Honolulu, is the new head of NOAA’s Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center. (Courtesy: NOAA/2023)

The marine biologist has 20 years of experience in marine mammal and sea turtle science and research, a release says. Littnan will take the reins from Mike Seki, who retired in December.

“We look forward to the opportunities ahead as Charles takes on the leadership of the Pacific Islands Science Center and its mission to conduct the research and monitoring programs that support the domestic and international conservation and management of living marine resources across the Pacific Islands,” said Cisco Werner, chief science adviser for NOAA Fisheries, in the release.

The center focuses on the waters surrounding American Samoa, Guam, Hawaii, the Northern Mariana Islands, and other U.S. Pacific Islands, the release says, and also conducts research in the high seas of the central and western Pacific.

Hawaiian monk seals, green sea turtles, spinner dolphins, false killer whales, humpback whales and Pacific corals are among the protected species that the center researches.

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