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Jenna Malek, Ph.D.

Marine Mammal Specialist
Protected Resources - Anchorage
Phone: (907) 271-1332
Email: jenna.malek@noaa.gov

Jenna Malek, Ph.D.

Marine Mammal Specialist

Jenna grew up in Connecticut but spent her summers on the coast of Maine where she fell in love with the ocean and pursued a B.S. in Marine Science at the University of Maine. After completing a senior capstone project evaluating the differences in feeding strategies between East and West coast humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliea) populations, she earned a M.S. in Marine, Estuarine, and Environmental Science at the University of Maryland, College Park in 2010 where she studied the effects of environmental gradients on parasite infections in the eastern oyster, Crassostrea virginica, in Chesapeake Bay. In December 2015, Jenna completed her PhD in Ecology from the University of Georgia (UGA). Her dissertation research focused on the effects air temperature and predators on parasite infection patterns and host immune response in oysters, and how such host-parasite interactions may be affected by changes in climate. After graduating, Jenna was a Knauss Marine Policy Fellow in 2016, working with the US Marine Mammal Commission (MMC). She had the opportunity to travel to Alaska for the first time as part of the MMC Alaska Communications Team. Her visits to Nome, Savoonga, and Anchorage helped her to understand the importance of marine mammals to Alaska Native culture. After serving as a Communications and Policy Specialist with the NOAA Marine Debris Program in 2017, Jenna returned to MMC with funding from the North Pacific Research Board and moved to Anchorage to conduct a one-year review of marine mammal co-management between Alaska Native Organizations (ANOs) and federal management agencies. This work helped her to build successful relationships around the state and has been instrumental to her transition to the Protected Resources Division in Anchorage where she continues to work with two ANOs on co-management, as well as consult with other federal agencies on actions that impact endangered marine mammals in Alaska. When not in the office, Jenna spends her time with her adventure-loving dog, Hunter.