Michael was born on December 1, 1954 in New York. He attended the Univ. of
California @ Irvine. After 24 years of playing
Competitive tennis including 10 years on the men’s professional tour Michael
became deeply interested in the great outdoors.
Beginning in 1992 he started his work with the world’s great whales. He worked
for 5 years with the Group for Research and Education of Marine Mammals
(GREMM) based in Tadoussac, Quebec. He then moved on to work for 5 more
years with the Mingan Islands Cetacean Study (MICS) of Longue Pointe, Quebec.
In these years Michael compiled thousands of hours aboard research vessels
mostly studying the blue whale. Michael’s primary responsibility was to captain
the vessels, but he also did photo ID work, acoustical work with hydrophones,
took extensive notes and was a part of biopsy and satellite tagging work. With
MICS he began to also work the winter season when blue whales are in the Sea of
Cortez. Michael has logged over 5000 hours on various research vessels
earning his “degree” in the field. He now combines scientific research with
conservation, which he deeply believes is a critical relationship that is
necessary for the whale’s future survival. He also puts education and
tourism into the mix and is a true “natural history” expert on great whales.
Conservation is Michael’s strongest passion and in 2010 with partner Dr.
Gershon Cohen he formed the Great Whale Conservancy (GWC). The Earth
Island Institute based GWC is committed to the preservation of critical great
whale habitat focusing primarily on blue whales. In February of 2011 Michael
spearheaded an effort to successfully free an entangled humpback whale named
Valentina, in the Sea of Cortez . A video taken of this event has become a You
Tube hit with over 3 million viewers so far. Michael has recently made
appearances on Good Morning American and Inside Edition regarding this effort.
Michael has plied the waters of the Sea of Cortez For 15 of the past 16 winters
when the blue whales are present. He has acquired vast knowledge of many
parts of the natural world both at sea, in the mountains and on the islands in his
second home, Baja California. Through the GWC he has ongoing efforts to
both reduce the incidence of ship Strikes on great whales off the coast of
California and create a sanctuary for the blue whales in the Sea of Cortez.
Co Director Great Whale Conservancy