Ester Quintana


Ester Quintana has been studying the social behavior, acoustics, and ecology of marine mammals, especially of cetaceans and sirenians for over 15 years. She has worked with the North Atlantic right whale, humpback whales, bottlenose dolphins, spotted dolphins, and manatees. Until recently, she was the principal investigator of a research project on right whales in the offshore waters of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard – an area designated for offshore wind energy development, and of a project studying the marine megafauna of the Northeast Marine National Monument. Her international work includes a long-term study on the endangered population segment of humpback whales in the tropical breeding ground off the Pacific coast of Guatemala. In the same country, she has worked with the endangered population of local manatees. Her research served as the basis to establish a marine protected area in an area identified as a manatee calving ground.

Ester received a Licenciatura degree in Biology from the Universidad de San Carlos Guatemala, a Master’s degree in Zoology from the University of Florida, and a Doctoral degree in Biological Oceanography from the University of South Florida. She did her postdoctoral research at Mote Marine Laboratory where she conducted aerial surveys to study the Florida manatee populations, and together with the late Dr. John Reynolds, developed the Regional Management Plan for the West Indian manatee for the United Nations Environmental Program. She did a second postdoctoral work at the University of South Florida where she studied the effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on mesopelagic fishes.

Ester has taught at national and international academic institutions including the University of South Florida, New College of Florida, Johns Hopkins University-Center for Talented Youth, Boston University, Universidad del Valle, and Universidad de San Carlos in Guatemala.

Jennifer Bender