Lisa T. Ballance has been the Director of the Marine Mammal and Turtle Division at the Southwest Fisheries Science Center, NOAA Fisheries Service, since November of 2007. In this role, she is responsible for setting the research priorities in accordance with division mandates for seven science programs and some 80 individuals, and for day-to-day management of division resources.
Lisa has been with NOAA Fisheries Service since 1988, when she joined the agency as a Graduate Research Associate working on her Ph.D. Her research focused on community and physiological ecology of seabirds associated with yellowfin tuna and spotted and spinner dolphin schools in the eastern tropical Pacific. She obtained her doctoral degree from the University of California Los Angeles in 1993, and accepted a post-doctoral position the same year with the National Research Council, The National Academies, conducting research on comparative cetacean ecology in the eastern tropical Pacific and tropical Indian oceans. She became a marine ecologist with the Southwest Fisheries Science Center in 1996, Chief Scientist of the Eastern Tropical Pacific Cetacean and Ecosystem Research Cruises in 1999, and Leader of the Ecosystem Studies Program in 2001. In addition to her doctorate, she holds a Master of Science degree from Moss Landing Marine Laboratories (1987) and a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of California San Diego (1981). Her research has always included a strong ecological component and is heavily focused on cetaceans and seabird ecology in oceanic systems, ecological trends in space and time (at interannual to regime-shift scales), and ecosystem-based approaches to management.
Lisa is an Adjunct Professor at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography,Research Adviser with the National Academies, and Affiliate Professor at the University of San Diego. She is an editorial board member of Marine Ornithology, Past Chair of the Pacific Seabird Group, and recipient of the Department of Commerce Silver and Bronze Medals and NOAA Fisheries Supervisor of the Year awards. Her research has been supported by grants from NOAA, the National Science Foundation, National Geographic Society, World Wildlife Fund, and International Fund for Animal Welfare.