Orla O’Brien

Assistant Scientist
Spatial Ecology, Mapping, and Assessment (EcoMap)




M.S., Marine Biology, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, 2017

Sc.B., Marine Biology, Brown University, 2010


Orla O’Brien is an assistant scientist at the Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life. She works with the marine mammal survey team, conducting aerial surveys in wind energy development areas near Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. The team also conducts surveys to assess biodiversity in the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument. Her work includes aerial photography and photo-identification of North Atlantic right whales, as well as extensive post survey data analysis. Orla additionally helps to prepare reports to government funding agencies and work on publications. In 2013 as a research assistant, she developed a method of using the survey plane’s automated camera to take photogrammetric measurements of marine animals.

  1. Select Publications

    Crowe, L. M., O’Brien, O., Curtis, T. H., Leiter, S. M., Kenney, R. D., Duley, P. and Kraus, S. D. (2018), Characterization of large basking shark Cetorhinus maximus aggregations in the western North Atlantic Ocean. J Fish Biol. doi:10.1111/jfb.13592