Jessie Hoffman

Jessie Hoffman


Ph.D. Student


Kailua, HI



Hawaii Pacific University
M.S. Marine Science



Entanglement blows: Quantifying the physiological impacts of entanglement on humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) in the North Pacific through Unoccupied Aerial Systems (UAS)




Originally from Iowa, Jessie fell in love with the ocean and marine mammals at a young age. To fulfill her dreams of saving the ocean, one marine mammal at a time, Jessie completed her B.A. at Simpson College, majoring in Environmental Science, and then her M.S. at Hawaii Pacific University in Marine Science. Throughout her education, she conducted her own research and interned around the world; studying sea snails, water quality, reef fish behavior, Mediterranean monk seals, spinner dolphins, and (her favorite) humpback whales. Jessie is also an Oceanography & Marine Biology lecturer for the University of Hawaii, using place-based education strategies and focusing on mālama ʻaina (caring for the land/ocean). Her research involves understanding anthropogenic (human) impacts on the health of humpback whales.



Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary



  • Marine mammal behavior
  • Field ecology
  • Population health


Research Overview

Jessie's research focuses on quantifying the physiological effects of entanglements on humpback whales. This project will utilize minimally invasive techniques (Unoccupied Aerial Systems) to determine changes in stress hormones through collection of breath samples and metabolic rate differences through suction cup tag data. This research will provide a better understanding of entanglement threats, informing important management and conservation practices and policies.



  • Laurence M. Klauber Division Award, Recognizes outstanding student contributions to science, 2019 American Association for the Advancement of Science - Pacific Division, May 2019
  • 1st place in the Evolution, Organismal Biology, and Biodiversity section, 2019 American Association for the Advancement of Science - Pacific Division, May 2019
  • Hiram Doty Research Award, Awarded to the graduating senior with the most distinguished record of research in biology or environmental science, May 2017



  • Integrating QGIS and R for Spatial Analysis, GIS in Ecology, October 2020
  • Statistics with R Specialization, Duke University, May 2022