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Dave Packer

Dave Packer

Marine Ecologist
Ecosystems and Aquaculture
Habitat Ecology Branch
habitat ecology
Office: (732) 872-3044
Email: dave.packer@noaa.gov

Dave Packer

Marine Ecologist


  • M.S. Oceanography, marine ecology; University of Maine, Orono, ME 1988
  • B.S. Zoology, vertebrate biology; Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 1981

Professional History

  • 1991-present: Ecologist, NOAA/NMFS/NEFSC James J. Howard Marine Sciences Laboratory, Highlands, NJ
  • 1989-1990: Intern, EPA Chesapeake Bay Program, Annapolis, MD
  • 1985-1988: Research Assistant, University of Maine Darling Marine Center, Walpole, ME
  • 1981-1985: Research Assistant, Marine Systems Laboratory, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC

Dave has been involved in many diverse projects including research on living marine resource habitats/ecology, synthesizing science information for use in formulating policy and resource management issues and decisions, and developing Agency national/regional policies and guidances. He has been particularly involved in the Agency's Essential Fish Habitat initiative, the Northeast Regional Deep-Sea Coral and Sponge Initiative, and regularly collaborates with the Northeast Regional Office, NMFS Office of Habitat Conservation, and the two regional Fishery Management Councils.

He is the current lead or co-lead on NEFSC deep-sea coral research activities, including deep-sea coral habitat suitability modeling and groundtruthing of potential NE deep-sea coral areas, and field surveys of Gulf of Maine coral habitats. He synthesizes and publishes information and research on NE deep-sea corals, including the NE regional assessment chapter for “The State of Deep Coral Ecosystems of the United States,” a publication of the NMFS Office of Habitat Conservation.

Dave is also an NEFSC representative to the NEFMC’s Habitat Planning Development Team (PDT) and MAFMC’s Deep-sea Coral Fishery Management Action Team (FMAT). For the PDT, he is responsible for EFH related activities and deep coral issues. For the FMAT, he is responsible for providing advice on deep-sea corals and deep-sea coral management alternatives. He is also on the MAFMC's EFH Review FMAT.

Dave has been the team leader/coordinator on the NEFSC's Essential Fish Habitat initiative and EFH species source documents, synthesizing and publishing information on life history/habitat requirements of all New England and Mid-Atlantic federally managed species. The source documents are the basis for designating EFH by the two regional FMCs.

He also previously researched and produced the NMFS National Guidance on Gravel Extraction in anadromous fish habitat, was the principal Investigator on a project that assessed restored salt marshes in the Arthur Kill, NY/NJ, and led studies on the sedimentology of New York Bight and quantified anthropogenic impacts on the sedimentary environment.