Our Experts

Heather Pettis

Heather Pettis

Research Scientist
Kraus Marine Mammal Conservation Program, Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life


MA, Biology, Boston University, 2001
BS, Biology, Bates College, 1997


Heather Pettis’ primary research interests are using visual health assessments to examine trends in right whale health at both the individual and population levels and to investigate the impact of anthropogenic injuries on right whale health and survival over time. She played an integral role in the development of the visual health assessment technique for right whales and has advised researchers in the development of assessments for other cetacean species.

She serves as the executive administrator for the North Atlantic Right Whale Consortium, a collaborative data sharing group committed to long-term research and management efforts to provide management, academic, and conservation groups with the best scientific advice and recommendations on right whale conservation. She is also interested in photo-identification and population monitoring.


Featured Research

Visual health assessment of North Atlantic right whales (Eubalaena glacialis) using photographs

By Heather M. Pettis, Rosalind M. Rolland, Philip K. Hamilton, Solange Brault, Amy R. Knowlton, and Scott D. Kraus
Published January 2004

Body condition changes arising from natural factors and fishing gear entanglements in North Atlantic right whales Eubalaena glacialis

By Heather M. Pettis, Rosalind M. Rolland, Philip K. Hamilton, Amy R. Knowlton, Elizabeth A. Burgess, Scott D. Kraus
Published March 14, 2017 

Recent Publications


Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life

Through pioneering conservation research and strategic partnerships, our team of 40 scientists works to combat the unprecedented impacts on the ocean from climate change and other human activities.