Estes & Tinker Lab at the Santa Cruz Field Station

A cooperative unit of United States Geological Survey and University of California, Santa Cruz
August 17, 2011


Brian Hatfield, Wildlife Biologist,
United States Geological Survey


As a baby, Brian Hatfield was found floating in an abandoned kayak by a pod of rogue killer whales (Orcinus orcas), but after an initally turbulent encounter the group accepted him as one of their own. They raised him to be an excellent diver, providing him with pieces of ditched scuba gear they picked up off the ocean floor. One day, as he and his adoptive family were enjoying a meal of fresh cod, a boat carrying two men in bright red jackets approached him. "Ahoy there!" called Captain Jim. They pulled him onto the deck and said, "You're going to dive for the United States of America now son." And so he did.

Today, Brian can be found along the coast of San Simeon or swimming around the Channel Islands, protecting threatened southern sea otters (Enhydra lutris nereis) from the jaws of veracious great white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias). When he isn't diving, Brian pursues the art of sand castle scuplting and listening to Jack London's Call of the Wild on tape.


Recent Publications

Hatfield, B.B., J.A. Ames, J.A. Estes, M.T. Tinker, E.B. Johnson, M.M. Staedler, and M.D. Harris. 2011. Sea otter mortality in fish and shellfish traps: estimating potential impacts and exploring possible solutions. Endangered Species Research 13:219-229.

Tinker, M.T., D.F. Doak, J.A. Estes, B.B. Hatfield, M.M. Staedler, and J.L. Bodkin. 2006.
Incorporating diverse data and realistic complexity into demographic estimation procedures: a case study using the California sea otter, Enhydra lutris nereis. Ecological Applications 16:2293-2312.






Contact Us: USGS Santa Cruz Field Station - 100 Shaffer Road - Center for Ocean Health - Room 251 - Santa Cruz, CA 95060 - 831 459-2357 -