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Dr. Adam A. Pack

Dr. Adam Pack with underwater video camera on Maui in 2016
Dr. Adam Pack with underwater video camera on Maui in 2016
Dr. Adam Pack prepares to measure a female humpback whale using videogrammetry in waters off Maui
Dr. Adam Pack prepares to measure a female humpback whale using videogrammetry in waters off Maui

Aloha! I am Dr. Adam A. Pack, a Full Professor at University of Hawai╩╗i at Hilo (UH Hilo) with a joint appointment in the Departments of Psychology and Biology. I am the current chair of the Psychology Department, a cooperating faculty member of UH HiloÔÇÖs Master of Science Degree Program in Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science, and the co-creator of the UH Hilo LOHE Bioacoustics Laboratory. Also, I am the former chair of the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council, an associate editor of the journal Marine Mammal Science, and co-founder and current president and director of The Dolphin Institute, a not-for-profit Hawai╩╗i-based organization dedicated to dolphins and whales through education, research and conservation.

Research Focuses

My research program focuses on scientific studies of marine mammal behavioral ecology and cognition. For more than 30 years, I have been conducting research on dolphin sensory perception, cognition and communication abilities as well as humpback whale social organization and habitat use, migratory and residency patterns, social behavior and communication systems in the Hawaiian breeding grounds and Alaska feeding grounds. I have also studied learning and memory in California sea lions and habitat use in Hawaiian spinner dolphins. During summer months, I work collaboratively with Dr. Denise Herzing of the Wild Dolphin Project to study Atlantic spotted dolphins and bottlenose dolphins in the Bahamas. Over the course of my research career, I have published over 60 papers, book chapters and reports and given over 80 presentations and invited addresses. My findings have been featured in newspapers such as the New York Times, in magazines such as the Economist and National Wildlife and in television documentaries such as National Geographic’s Humpbacks: Inside the Pod and PBS’s Dolphins with Robin Williams. My current research uses suction cup acoustic tags to address questions about humpback whale communication, tail fluke identification photographs and GIS to investigate humpback whale habitat use, and a videogrammetric technique to understand the role of individual body size in the social organization of humpback whales.

Course Offerings

At UH Hilo, I teach undergraduate students at all levels and work with graduate students in UH HiloÔÇÖs TCBES program. I am also an affiliate faculty at UH Manoa and work with graduate students there in the Psychology and Biology Departments. My undergraduate course offerings at UH Hilo currently include:

  • Statistical Techniques (PSY┬á213)
  • Learning and Motivation (PSY┬á314)
  • Animal Cognition: Comparative Perspectives (PSY┬á436)
  • Marine Mammal Behavior (PSY┬á437)
  • Child Cognition (PSY┬á438)

Pack Marine Mammal Laboratory

In 2008, I established the University of Hawai╩╗i Pack Marine Mammal Laboratory. The Laboratory focuses on studies of the behavior and biology of marine mammals including those present in Hawaiian waters. Both graduate and undergraduate students participate in data collection and analysis.

Please contact me for more information. Visit the Pack Marine Mammal Lab site.