Marine Mammal Commission: Who is Daryl Boness?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Daryl J. Boness, nominated on January 19, 2010, by President Barack Obama to be the next chairman of the Marine Mammal Commission, is a retired scientist who spent most of his career working at the National Zoo and studying seals, sea lions and walruses.

 
A resident of Hartford, Maine, Boness received his Bachelor of Arts in psychology and biology from Cornell College in 1972, his Master of Arts in human psychophysiology from Hollins College in 1973, and his PhD in animal behavior/behavioral ecology from Dalhousie University (in Canada) in 1979.
 
He began working at the National Zoo in 1978 as a curator of mammals (with a focus on seals and polar bears) and became a full-time research zoologist in 1985. As a curator he designed exhibits, managed a broad range of captive mammals, and supervised animal caretakers.
 
Boness’ research focused on the reproductive behavior of pinnipeds (seals, sea lions, and walruses), publishing more than 100 scientific papers, book chapters, and major reports. He has studied how ecological, phylogenetic, and social factors affect the reproductive strategies (mating behavior and parental care) of males and females.
 
In 1994, he became a member of the Marine Mammal Commission’s Committee of Scientific Advisors, for which he has served as chairman.
 
He eventually became head of research and the conservation biology department at the National Zoo, retiring as a senior scientist from the Smithsonian Institution.
 
In 2003, Boness left the National Zoo at a time when many of its top experts were leaving because of problems and efforts to revitalize the zoo. “It has been a fairly stressful and troubling time for the zoo for the last couple of years,” Boness told The Washington Post.
 
After retiring from the Smithsonian (while continuing his research associate status),
Boness accepted an appointment as a research professor with a joint appointment to the Department of Wildlife Ecology and the School of Marine Science at the University of Maine (Orono).
 
He has also served as an adjunct or research professor at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, Canada, American University in Washington, DC, and La Rochelle University in France.
 
His activities with other scientific organizations include serving as editor-in-chief of the scientific journal Marine Mammal Science; on a Negotiated Rulemaking Committee to revise the USDA/APHIS Marine Mammal Welfare Regulations; a NASA panel to investigate the possible effects of sonic booms on marine mammals; and review panels for the National Marine Fisheries Service, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the Office of Naval Research, and the Alaska Department of Fish & Game.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
 
Meet the Team: Daryl J. Boness (Antarctic Expedition)
Key Staffers Depart Zoo During Push for Reforms (by James V. Grimaldi, Washington Post)

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