top of page

Senior Marine Mammal Biologist, HDR EOC

April 2009 - Dec 2020

  • Prepared marine mammal section for environmental impact statement for Safe Harbor LNG deepwater port project.

  • Worked on marine mammal take permit application (LOA) and Biological Assessment for the Cook Inlet beluga whale for the Knik Arm Bridge and Toll Authority’s (KABATA) proposed Knik Arm Crossing in upper Cook Inlet. Part of team to conduct acoustic monitoring of ambient noise in upper Cook Inlet for KABATA.

  • Conducted an assessment for ConocoPhillips Alaska, Inc. (CPAI) regarding the NMFS’ proposed designation of critical habitat for the beluga whale. The focus of the work was evaluation of NMFS’ habitat delineation; beluga occurrence in CPAI’s operating area within Cook Inlet; as well as CPAI’s current best management practices for the beluga whales. Similar work prepared for CPAI relative to proposed critical habitat designation for the polar bear on the North Slope.

Consultant, Ziphius EcoServices

December 2007 - March 2009

Senior Staff Consulting Professional with engineering-environmental Management, Inc. (e2M) – prepared marine mammal sections for environmental impact statement for Port Dolphin LNG deepwater port. Author's assistant to Dr. William E. Evans for his memoirs.

Senior Environmental Scientist, Geo-Marine, Inc., Plano, TX

August 2000 - December 2007

Served as lead marine protected species expert and as the senior marine mammal biologist for the company. She prepared marine resources assessments (MRAs) and NEPA and related documents (e.g., EIS, EA, BA, EFH Assessment, IHA/LOA) for protected and commercial marine resources in naval operating areas (OPAREAs). Tasks included reviewing and summarizing marine protected species survey and stranding data and literature to determine the occurrence patterns of these species in the area of interest. Information on the status, habitat preferences, distribution, behavior and life history, and acoustics and hearing information was provided for these species. MRAs essentially serve as descriptions of the affected environment, which are used by the Navy and their contractors for environmental planning purposes, as well as to address environmental stewardship goals. Served as co-project manager for three MRAs and three NEPA projects.

Marine Resources Assessments
Fish flock

Western North Atlantic

  • Northeast OPAREAs: Atlantic City, Narragansett Bay, and Boston 

  • Mouth of the Chesapeake and Lower Chesapeake Bay 

  • Virginia Capes (VACAPES) OPAREA

  • Cherry Point OPAREA

  • Cherry Point and Southern VACAPES Inshore and Estuarine Areas

  • Charleston and Jacksonville OPAREA

Shoreline from Above

North Pacific Ocean

  • Pacific Northwest and Gulf of Alaska OPAREAs

  • Southern California (SOCAL) OPAREA

  • Hawaiian Islands OPAREA

  • Japan and Okinawa Complexes OPAREA

  • Marianas OPAREA

improved data collection.

Sea Turtle

Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico

  • Southeastern Florida and the AUTEC-Andros Island OPAREA 

  • U.S. Naval Station Guantanamo Bay (GTMO) and Guantanamo OPAREA 

  • St. Croix Underwater Tracking Range and Puerto Rico Outer Range 

  • OPAREAs in Northern Gulf of Mexico

Aerial Photo of an Ocean


  • Mediterranean

Data Interpretation and Report Preparation
  • Mariana Islands Sea Turtle Cetacean Survey (MISTCS)

  • Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Density Estimation for the GOMEX OPAREAs/Testing and Training Areas 

  • Navy OPAREA Density Estimates (NODEs) for the Southeast Operational Region 

  • Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Density Estimation (NODEs) for the Northeast OPAREAs 

  • Vieques Island Baseline Survey, Naval Station (NAVSTA) Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico

  • Environmental Assessment to Conduct Explosive Charge Detonations Associated with Mine Warfare Training in the Panama City/Pensacola Naval Operating Areas

  • Environmental Assessment of Increased Explosive Charges Associated with Mine Warfare Training in the Corpus Christi Naval At-Sea Operating Areas (Corpus Christi OPAREAS)

  • Environmental Documentation for Installation and Use of the Fixed Naval Gunfire Scoring System (FNGSS)

  • Updated Integrated Natural Resource Management Plan, Naval Station Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico

  • Assessment for Virtual At-Sea Training/Integrated Maritime Portable Acoustic Scoring & Simulator (VAST/IMPASS) System

Biological Surveys
  • Vieques Island Baseline Surveys—Subtask: Seagrass Bed Damage Assessment, Vieques Island, Puerto Rico 

  • Essential Fish Habitat Assessment for Puerto Rico Ports Authority Mosquito Pier Ferry Terminal Facilities, Airport Pier and Rescue Boat Ramp, Isabel Segunda Ferry Terminal Demolition and New Pier Construction, Vieques Island, Puerto Rico 

  • Marine Habitat Mapping for Development of Geographic Mitigation Measures

  • Investment and Mitigation Analysis for Marine Species

Biologist, Minerals Management Service (MMS), New Orleans, LA

April 1995 - August 2000

Responsible for the preparation of NEPA documents in the areas of marine mammals, sea turtles, and seabirds relative to oil and gas exploration and development activities in the Gulf of Mexico. Provided support to the Environmental Studies Program with expert biological input toward planning, procurement, and management of MMS-funded environmental studies in the northern Gulf of Mexico (GulfCet I, GulfCet II). Facilitator and session chairperson at MMS professional meetings and workshops, including conception and coordination of a Marine Protected Species Workshop held in June 1999 by the agency. Received the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) Unsung Hero Award during the 150th anniversary celebration of the DOI in 1999 for her public outreach efforts about marine mammals. She was also selected to speak on behalf of all the awardees at this celebration in the presence of President Bill Clinton and Secretary Bruce Babbitt.

Coordinator of University Research, Texas A&M University, Galveston, TX

1994 - 1995

Responsible for research proposal routing and disseminating grant information to principal investigators. Worked with university professors to review their completed grant proposals (verifying accurate completion of requested items and reviewing numbers) before submitting to the university's research foundation.

Biologist, National Marine Fisheries Service

1990 - 1992

Contracted to determine the extent of the association of bottlenose dolphins with the shrimp fishery in Galveston Bay, by conducting behavioral observations and photo-identifying individual dolphins to determine usage of this food resource by individual dolphins and occupancy of the area by the dolphins.

Ancillary NMFS-SEFSC projects included assisting with live captures and radio-tracking of bottlenose dolphins in Matagorda Bay, TX. Served as a marine mammal observer during aerial surveys.

Additional Marine Mammal Experience

August 2022 - July 2023

Ms. Fertl has over 15 years of experience in marine mammal research, with both free-ranging and captive animals. She has been involved in shipboard and aerial surveys for cetaceans along the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic coastlines, as well as photo-identification surveys and live-captures of dolphins. She received the John G. Shedd Aquarium Outstanding Student Award at the 10th Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals in 1993 for an oral presentation on her graduate research. Ms. Fertl has published over 20 peer-reviewed articles on marine mammals.

Visual Observer. Shipboard and Aerial Surveys in Various Locales

1991 - 2000

  • Cetacean surveys piggybacked onto NMFS ichthyoplankton cruises

  • Ship-based cetacean surveys as part of GulfCet cruises funded by the MMS and U.S. Geological Survey

  • NMFS aerial survey to determine distribution and abundance of bottlenose dolphins in response to a die-off in Texas waters

  • New England Aquarium aerial survey to locate and report northern right whale sightings off northern Florida/southern Georgia for ship avoidance

  • Received UFWFS-approved training from Florida Marine Research Institute for spotting manatees and sea turtles during aerial surveys 

Miscellaneous Marine Mammal Projects

January 2025 - March 2028

Research Assistant. Long-term monitoring of bottlenose dolphins. Marine Mammal Research Program, Texas A&M University at Galveston and National Marine Fisheries Service. (January 1991-February 1996) 

Research Assistant. Live captures and radio-tracking of bottlenose dolphins in Matagorda Bay. Marine Mammal Research Program, Texas A&M University at Galveston and National Marine Fisheries Service (July 1992) 

Research Assistant. Atlantic spotted dolphins in the Bahamas. Oceanic Society Expeditions. (July 1992) 

Researcher/Instructor, School for Field Studies, Beverly, MA (July - Aug 1990): Biology and Behavior of Bottlenose Dolphins, Beaufort, NC: Photo-identification, behavioral data collection, and boat operation; lectures on science and marine mammal biology 

bottom of page