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Brian Kennedy

Chief Scientist

Dr. Brian Kennedy is a deep-sea ecologist who has spent over a decade in ocean exploration. In addition to being the Chief Scientist at ODL Brian is also the External Science Advisor for NOAA’s Beyond the Blue Pacific Islands Exploration Campaign. His basic research focuses on understanding how environmental drivers influence deep sea organisms. As part of that work, he is always looking for ways to increase the pace and efficiency of ocean exploration through both the development of new technologies and the novel utilization of existing technologies in the deep sea. Brian earned his PhD in marine ecology from Boston University, and also holds a Master’s of Science in biology (BU) and a Bachelors of Science in marine biology (College of Charleston). He has published numerous peer reviewed articles and more than a dozen white papers and other publications relating to deep sea ecology, ocean exploration, and underwater technology development and utilization.

He has participated in more than 40 exploration expeditions and has led over a dozen–having spent more than 2 of the last 15 years at sea on research vessels. Brian is an expert in at sea operations using sonar, remote sensing, and remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) for ocean exploration projects. He has worked extensively internationally, leading projects in several countries including partnerships with foreign governments. He has been part of some of the first deep submergence exploration in North Sulawesi Indonesia, the waters around Wake Island, and both the Phoenix and Gilbert archipelagos.

Brian began his career in ocean exploration as a NOAA Commissioned officer on board the NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer. During his 6 years as a commissioned officer, Brian had various assignments ranging from ship officer to Deputy Program Manager of the Okeanos Explorer program. In 2016, Brian resigned his commission to start Deep Submergence Consulting which provides expedition and telepresence project management services to NOAA and several NGOs. During his time with NOAA and providing services as a contractor for NOAA Brian’s efforts received wide recognition, including 2 NOAA Corps Achievement Medals, led the team that won a Department of Commerce Bronze Medal for their work documenting the Japanese midget submarine that was sunk trying to sneak into Pearl Harbor as part of the 75th commemoration of the attack. He was also a principal member of a team that was awarded a Department of Commerce Gold Medal for their 3-year effort as part of the CAPSTONE Campaign to explore and document the United States’ deep water Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in the Pacific.

Brian’s research and advocacy efforts are deeply intertwined with marine conservation through MPAs. He works with several advocacy NGOs to work towards a better managed and projected deep sea. Much of his research has focused on data collected within MPAs and helping local governments and populations better understand what exists within the waters they have chosen to protect. He believes that science should be utilized to drive conservation and is actively engaged in helping to translate research into marine policy initiatives.

Brian Kennedy
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