Our Team

Our team of volunteers and interns are at the core of our work. Without these dedicated and hard-working individuals we could not do the work we do. In addition to our great team of volunteers and interns, our staff includes

Senior Leadership & Staff


Jon Gelman

President & Chairman of the Board of Directors

Prior to founding Hawaii Marine Animal Response, Jon spent 32 years in leadership roles in the telecommunications industry working for some of the best-known firms in the U.S. before starting a successful telecom company in Hawaii. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree from San Diego State University in Speech Communication/Social Psychology.

Whitney Beer-Kerr

Corporate Secretary & Treasurer, Board of Directors

Whitney has a Masters in Science degree in Environmental Science & Policy from Johns Hopkins University and a Bachelor of Science degree from San Diego State University. Whitney has 10 years of experience as a producer and writer of science and wildlife films working with highly-respected production organizations such as National Geographic and NOVA. Whitney served as HMAR’s Development Manager until transitioning to our Board of Directors.

Dr. Terry Norton DVM

Member, Board of Directors

Dr. Terry Norton DVM is a world-renowned expert on sea turtle and avian medicine and rehabilitation. He is a diplomate in the American College of Zoological Medicine and received his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine degree from Tufts University in 1985. He is currently the Director and Veterinarian at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, Wildlife Veterinarian at the St. Catherines Island Wildlife Center, Lead Veterinarian at The Turtle Hospital in Marathon Florida, and the Marine Mammal Veterinarian for the State of Georgia. He has authored or co-authored 117 research papers, books and book chapters concerning wildlife biology, care and rehabilitation, and has been involved in marine mammal, reptile and avian research and population recovery projects world-wide.

Kristina Dauterman

Dispatch & Reporting Manager

Kristina has a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Management from University of Maryland where she focused on conservation ecology and sustainability. Kristina manages HMAR’s hotlines, dispatch operations and coordinates sea turtle and seabird escalations. She is an avid scuba diver, and when she is not working prefers to be in the ocean.

Nico Lopez

Field Operations Manager & Cultural Liaison

Nico Lopez is a native Hawaiian raised on the Big Island. Nico oversees field response and rescue operations on Oahu and Molokai and is also HMAR’s Hawaiian cultural relations coordinator. Nico is a veteran of the US Army’s famed 82nd Airborne Division. When he is not in the field, he enjoys surfing and spending time on the north shore of Oahu shaping surfboards for friends.

Kelsey Wheeler

Field Support and Outreach Lead

Kelsey has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology from Columbus State University. Before becoming a HMAR staff member, Kelsey was one of our interns. Now as part of HMAR’s staff, Kelsey manages field response and outreach activity on Oahu and is also responsible for HMAR’s internship program. She has a passion for ocean ecosystem conservation and her prior experience includes volunteer management and animal rescue and care.

Carissa Cabrera

Programs Manager

Carissa has a Masters in Marine Science degree from Hawaii Pacific University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Evolutionary and Ecological Biology from University of Arizona. Carissa manages HMAR’s Education & Engagement Program and our Marine Debris Program. Prior to HMAR, Carissa was leading ocean conservation outreach initiatives and conducting research on marine mammals with the University of Hawaii cetacean stranding team.

Christina Castaldo

Field Support and Outreach Lead

Before becoming a staff member with HMAR, Christina Castaldo was an accomplished volunteer for our organization for 2 years. Now, as a member of HMAR’s staff, Christina is responsible for managing field response and outreach activity on Oahu and also coordinates new volunteer training. Christina has 15 years of experience working in animal husbandry and as a dive aquarist at the Disney Aulani Resort, as a zookeeper and veterinary assistant in Italy and in marine mammal stranding support and rehabilitation in New York.

Board of Advisors


Patrick Ching

Beloved Hawaii nature and wildlife artist

Matt Kerr

Certified safety & hazardous operations trainer and entrepreneur

Dr. Gregg Levine

Marine animal veterinarian

Sarah Pifer

Financial analyst and animal advocate

Rachel Spraque Ph.D.

Biologist and professional conservation manager