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Chris Orphanides

Chris Orphanides

Marine Resources Management Specialist
Population & Ecosystems Monitoring & Analysis Division
Offshore Wind and Ecology
Protected Species Offshore Wind Lead
Office: (401) 782-3283 or (508) 495-2193
Email: chris.orphanides@noaa.gov

Chris Orphanides

Marine Resources Management Specialist


  • URI Graduate School of Oceanography, Ph.D., 2019
  • Duke University, MEM Coastal Environmental Management, 2001
  • Colby College, B.S. Environmental Studies & History, 1995


Chris is the Northeast Fisheries Science Center Wind Energy Team’s science lead for offshore wind energy development and protected species. He has been with the center’s Protected Species Branch since 2004, where he has conducted research on cetacean, pinniped, sea turtle, and seabird bycatch, habitat, and distribution to inform fisheries management. He has been particularly involved in harbor porpoise bycatch issues, serving as the lead science advisor to the Harbor Porpoise Take Reduction Team.

Recent Research

Recent research has focused on marine mammal foraging ecology in southern New England as it relates to oceanography and marine mammal distribution. Chris has led multiple research cruises exploring North Atlantic right whale habitat use off southern New England, employing a novel combination of oceanography and prey sampling tools as part of an ongoing research effort. Chris has also been part of national and regional climate efforts, including serving as one of a team of experts assessing marine mammal vulnerability to climate change.

He now supports the wind team by:

  • Providing expertise on protected species
  • Leading development of a protected species wind science framework that addresses potential cumulative and regional impacts
  • Conducting marine mammal habitat and foraging ecology research relevant to offshore wind development in southern New England