Lisa Ballance

Dr. Lisa T. Ballance is the Director of Oregon State University’s Marine Mammal Institute, Endowed Chair of Marine Mammal Research, and Professor of Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Sciences. She has studied the ecology and conservation biology of whales, dolphins, and porpoises (and seabirds) for over 30 years around the world, including the tropical Pacific and Indian Oceans, Antarctica, the Bering Sea, Cambodia’s Mekong River, and Mexico’s Gulf of California and San Ignacio Lagoon! 

Prior to joining OSU’s Marine Mammal Institute, Dr. Ballance was a scientist with NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), where she directed NOAA’s Marine Mammal and Turtle Research Division in La Jolla, CA, providing scientific leadership and oversight of a division consisting of 70 scientists with a $9M annual budget, and was Chief Scientist of NOAA’s Eastern Tropical Pacific Dolphin and Ecosystem Assessment Surveys, which provided the scientific basis for the “Dolphin Safe” label found on tuna cans in supermarkets all over this country. 

Dr. Ballance holds a PhD in marine ecology, an MS in marine science, and a BS in biology. She has published more than 100 peer-reviewed papers, working papers, and technical reports; given invited scientific presentations at scientific conferences, universities, public lectures, and congressional briefings; been awarded research funding from a wide variety of sources including National Science Foundation, US Navy, and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management; and is recipient of the Department of Commerce Bronze and Silver Medals, NOAA Fisheries’ Supervisor of the Year, and cover feature of the Association for Women in Science.

Eric Horvath

Eric Horvath holds a degree in zoology from Oregon State University and has written scientific research papers on birds and mammals. Eric has conducted ornithological research in Oregon, Arizona, Mexico, and Panama. He has guided natural history/birding tours since 1990 throughout the USA, Africa, and South America. He has been the trip naturalist on the OSU Marine Mammal Institute Baja Gray Whale Expedition for three years. Eric’s interests also include photography, botany, and geology.

Claire Smith

Claire Smith will be taking care of logistics and the day-to-day needs for our group. This will be her fourth expedition to Laguna San Ignacio with the Marine Mammal Institute. She has worked with husband Eric Horvath for 30 years, developing travel itineraries and ensuring that trips go smoothly and all guests have a truly rewarding experience.