Zack Klyver,
Executive Director

Zack has participated in marine mammal eco-tourism and conservation from the Arctic to Antarctica, including guiding over 3,000 whale-watching tours on the Gulf of Maine. He co-founded and currently co-chairs the North Atlantic Whale Watch Naturalist Association. He has worked as a marine mammal lecturer and guide in Antarctica and founded his own company, FLUKES: Whale Tours, to take people to see whales worldwide.  He worked as a marine mammal observer in the Arctic, going from Nome into the Beaufort Sea, and provided a declaration in a lawsuit brought to protect ANWR against oil drilling. Zack is an advisor to Blue Green Futures, who are working with governments to develop natural capital markets and modeling the economic value of whales based on their ecosystem services. 

Zack coordinated proper whale surveys with the Canadian Whale Institute and New England Aquarium. He spent ten winter seasons as an endangered NA right whale and sea turtle observer in the southeast. Zack co-founded and served as the science director for a Maine-based venture business that worked on the conservation of the right whale for four years by testing ropeless lobster fishing gear systems and pioneered the use of the first global ropeless fishing in the gillnet fisheries. Zack has a background in business administration, has been part of several environmental startup companies, and has served on many non-profit boards and committees.  Zack serves on the NGO caucus for the Regional Wildlife Science Collaborative for Offshore Wind. Zack grew up as a young boy on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, and his dad’s family is from Baldwin, Long Island. Favorite childhood memories included regular visits to the blue whale exhibit in the American Museum of Natural History, Central Park Zoo, and the New York Aquarium. Zack is a College of the Atlantic graduate with a B.A. in Human Ecology.


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Celia Ackerman
Whale Watch Naturalist & Research Associate 

Celia previously worked as a marine mammal caretaker/trainer for the Wildlife Conservation Society at the New York Aquarium and the Central Park Zoo. She has extensive, firsthand knowledge in caring for numerous marine mammal species and polar birds. This has given her direct insight into species behavior and allowed her to develop keen observational skills and a hard work ethic. Celia has applied her knowledge and passion for wildlife and conservation through her work as a research associate for Gotham Whale. She works as a whale watch naturalist on the American Princess, where she educates the public and is especially concerned about marine litter and vessel strikes. While onboard, she collects and contributes data, sightings reports, and photographs of the whales to the Gotham Whale humpback whale catalog. Celia plays a vital, supportive role in our dedicated team's ongoing and timely research. She travels the world in search of marine mammals and whales.

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Kristi Ashley Collum
Lead Dolphin Whale Researcher

To track various [dolphin] characteristics, Kristi developed the first photo-identification catalog for the New York Bight. She has a Masters in Animal Behavior & Conservation from [Hunter College]. As a researcher, educator, and advocate, Kristi has represented Gotham Whale at international conferences and spearheaded summer program collaborations with the Rockaway Initiative for Sustainability and Equity. She is the Founding Director of the Northeast Chapter of the Society for Marine Mammalogy and a Trip Leader & Northeast Outreach Coordinator for National Geographic. Kristi also manages our Instagram. 

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Beth Anne Miller
Editor of The Gam, Gotham Whale’s Quarterly Newsletter

Beth has a B.S. in Biology from Southampton College of Long Island University and an M.A. in Literature from Queens College, CUNY. A lifelong fascination with the sea led her to participate in Southampton College’s “SEAmester” program, in which she sailed from the Caribbean up the Eastern Seaboard on a schooner, followed by an internship at Moss Landing Marine Lab in the Monterey Bay area of California. After several years working as a DNA Sequencing Technician at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, she changed course and entered the publishing industry, where she currently works. In June 2018, Beth was accepted to The Arctic Circle Art & Science Residency and spent over two weeks sailing along the western coast of Svalbard in the High Arctic on a three-masted barkentine. Beth is a published author with three novels inspired by her adventures at sea and on land. She is also an avid traveler, with many of her travels designed around whale watching. Beth lives on Long Island and is a frequent passenger on the American Princess.

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Artie Raslich
Photographer and Social Media 

Artie Raslich is a professional and award-winning photographer. In his day job he is a staff photographer for Nassau County, but when not at work, can be found onboard the American Princess, departing from  Sheepshead Bay, or in his own boat, Ship of Fools, photographing the humpback whales of New York. His photo of a breaching humpback whale with the New York skyline and empire state building in the background has been featured in the Guardian, NY Post, Sport Diver, and Getty. Artie has been an active member of Gotham Whale since it was first launched in 2011 and assisted in the creation of the NYC humpback whale catalog. Today he assists the organization as our official “photographer”, with social media management, and working to educate the recreational boating community about boater safety around whales. Artie has a special fondness for first responders, the military, and the coast guard and can often be found at events celebrating their courageous work. His excellent photography which includes whales, surfing, and concert photography, can be viewed on his website: 


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David Rosenthal
Research Biologist

David received his zoology degree from the University of Rhode Island, where he studied North Atlantic right whales and West Indian manatees of Belize at the Graduate School of Oceanography under Dr. Howard E. Winn. David worked four years in the Education Department at Mystic Marinelife Aquarium and later became an Animal Care Assistant at Miami Seaquarium, supervising the Florida manatee exhibit. David performed with Dr. Gregory D. Bossart, managing the Florida manatee and short-finned pilot whale rehabilitation programs. He was a Field Stranding Technician at the Brigantine Marine Mammal Stranding Center. He has worked for 24 years at NOAA Fisheries, collaborating with recreational and commercial fishers throughout the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico.

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Joan Smith
Data Coordinator

Joan Smith is the Data Coordinator for Gotham Whale. Joan is a retired New York City Department of Education social worker and has volunteered with several groups and organizations.  She is a scuba diver and Staten Island Sport Divers Club member. Joan compiles the data collected when a whale is sighted and updates our records on Happy Whale. 

looking for volunteers

Gotham Whale is always looking for volunteers that can help our organization thrive. We seek volunteers to assist us with membership, retail sales, managing our presence on LinkedIn, education, graphic design, and grant writing. Please get in touch with us at [email protected] if you are interested in joining the team!


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Danielle Brown

Danielle Brown
Director of Marine Mammal Research

Danielle is a Ph.D. candidate in the Ecology, Evolution & Natural Resources department at Rutgers University. She earned a Master's in Environmental Science and Policy from George Mason University. Danielle used data collected by Gotham Whale to complete her thesis on humpback whale occurrence and vessel risk in New York and New Jersey. Danielle has experience in humpback whale and bottlenose dolphin photo identification and has previously worked as a Field Stranding Technician at the Marine Mammal Stranding Center. Danielle is the director of Marine Mammal Research for Gotham Whale and curator of the NYC Humpback Whale catalog. She has been the lead author of several important scientific papers on humpback whales. She also assists in managing the NYCHWC; Danielle is the director of Marine Mammal Research for Gotham Whale and curator of the NYC Humpback Whale catalog. She has been the lead author of several important scientific papers on humpback whales.

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Paul Graham

Paul Graham was a lifelong friend of the founder of Gotham Whale, Paul Sieswerda, having first met him in 2nd grade. Sieswerda’s love of the ocean was shared with Graham, who became a certified SCUBA diver, and they traveled on many collecting trips and expeditions around the world. Graham has explored many marine environments, including the Bahamas, California, Mexico, Hawaii, Truk Lagoon, Tahiti, Indonesia, the Great Barrier Reef, the Red Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Galápagos Islands. Graham has enjoyed seeing whales and dolphins around the world as well. Graham is a Massachusetts native who was an All-American football player in college and went on to play for a short time in the NFL and Canadian Leagues. He had a long and illustrious career as an executive in marketing and product development for several large companies, including Polaroid. 

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Catherine McClave

Catherine is the president and owner of The Fish Doctor Inc. and the former Curator of Aquatic Health Science of the New York Aquarium. Kate has worked with Gotham’s founder Paul Sieswerda on marine mammal science and research for over 35 years. As the Curator of Aquatic Health at the New York Aquarium, she led the health and water quality programs for the aquarium’s collections and contributed expertise to marine mammal stranding events both locally and globally. Kate continues to do conservation biology work with endangered species for zoological society’s in the US and internationally. Kate holds a Bs in Marine Biology from Roger Williams University and a CFP from the American Fisheries Society. Kate joined Gotham Whale’s board in 2016. She is passionate about the ocean and its inhabitants and hoping to make a difference for the marine mammals of Gotham.

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Paul Sieswerda

Paul, or PJ to many, is the son of the founder of Gotham Whale and is a manager at a large professional electrical contracting company. PJ has a lifetime of experience in exploring the ocean, as much of his younger life included being brought along on diving and tropical fish-collecting trips worldwide.  Collecting trips brought him to Micronesia, Guam, the Caribbean, and the Red Sea. More recently, he had the opportunity to cage dive at Guadalupe Island, Mexico, with a team filming Great White Sharks. PJ has visited monasteries in Greece, the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, the lost city of Petra in Jordan, and Benin, Africa – all of which led him to develop a deep affinity for connecting with people, cultures, and art worldwide. The idea of thinking globally and acting locally is a philosophy he holds dear.PJ’s passion for Gotham Whale centers on producing live, film, and multi-media events. He was the producer behind a series of theatre showings of Ocean Angels, a Ran-Levy-Yamamori film that featured his dad’s work with Gotham Whale. He is deeply committed to bringing in and promoting artists, musicians, comedians, and performers to celebrate ocean conservation and education. He sees his role as inspiring individuals and getting the choir to sing louder.  PJ has worked with many non-profits and community-based organizations and is a founding member of Friends of Oak Grove, a group committed to greening Malden, Massachusetts, reducing crime, and connecting residents for support. Through the friend's group, he managed many programs and events and launched an initiative that resulted in a successful 3 million dollar grant that enlarged and renovated the local park.


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Paul Solano

Paul Solano is an active fund-raising and development advisor in the greater Boston region with over 36 years of non-profit experience working with academia, healthcare institutions, and conservation groups. He has served as a board member for more than ten non-profit organizations, where he has led several highly successful capital campaigns. He has sometimes worked in a paid capacity as a development professional and campaign chair. Paul also functions as a general manager for a famous and historic restaurant in the greater Boston area. He founded a consulting firm, PS, and ALL Marketing Group. He hosts his podcast called "Paul Ponders" (, inspiring listeners through interviews with local business leaders, sports stars, writers, and entrepreneurs who have made the world a better place. 




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Paul Sieswerda

After retiring in 2009 from a long career as a Curator of fishes and mammals at both the New England and NY Aquariums, Paul L. Sieswerda was drawn to studying the humpback whales that were showing up in the waters around NY City to feed on Menhaden. “The whales came to me. “ he says. Sieswerda developed a 501c3 organization, Gotham Whale, to study, educate about, and advocate for the marine mammals around NYC. That has now expanded to the whales in NJ/NY in the waters of the NY Bight. Gotham Whale maintains a database of marine mammal sightings from their observations that started aboard the American Princess, and today includes seven whale watch companies and many citizen science contributions. Gotham Whale keeps The NYC Humpback Whale Catalog which identifies individual whales from photographs of their flukes. Gotham Whale tracks the species, location, and behavior to gain insight into the whales as they come closer and closer to the Big City. Paul was a fan of and fell in love with the oceans through watching Jacques Cousteau and became a diver at a young age. He made many friends around the world in making collecting trips for the aquariums exhibits from the arctic, to the Caribbean to Africa. He is the author of a book titled Stranded, a fiction novel about a whale research organization and whale strandings and co-authored a children's book titled Big Whale, Big City.