Environmental Initiatives



Currently an assistant professor of oceanography at Hawai'i Pacific University, K. David Hyrenbach’s research examines how oceanographic variability shapes the distributions of marine vertebrates, and how habitat preferences influence the efficacy of spatially-explicit management strategies. He has pursued these questions by developing the conceptual foundation for pelagic marine protected areas (MPAs), quantifying the habitats of protected seabirds and cetaceans, and assessing the effectiveness of protected areas for far-ranging marine vertebrates. Hyrenbach has conducted this work in the California Current System (CCS), the Southern Ocean, the Bering Sea, and the Western Mediterranean.

As a participant in the Pelagic Predators, Prey and Processes (P4) Initiative, Hyrenbach contributed to discussions on feasibility and approaches to development of pelagic MPAs in the CCS. In January 2002, the Pelagic Working Group held a workshop that was attended by over 25 experts in the oceanography, natural history, and fisheries management of the CCS. The workshop resulted in wide consensus on the need for studying and evaluating potential pelagic MPA designs within the CCS ecosystem and led to the development of a white paper (Pederson et al. 2005) that laid out the conceptual foundation for a wide-ranging conservation effort to assess the predictability of wildlife-habitat associations and oceanographic features in the CCS. The effort, which is being summarized in an atlas of the marine birds and mammals of the California Current, has increased awareness and acceptance of pelagic MPAs. Design ideas are currently being tested off central California, where a reserve is being designed to protect seabird populations breeding on the Farallon Islands.

Prior to his current position, Hyrenbach was a visiting scholar to the University of Washington and a research scientist in the Coastal Systems Science and Policy Division of Duke University’s Nicholas School for the Environment and Earth Sciences. He has a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of California, San Diego and a Ph.D. in biological oceanography from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego.



Ph.D., Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego
2001 - Biological Oceanography, La Jolla, CA

B.Sc., University of California San Diego
1993 - Ecology, Behavior and Evolution, La Jolla, CA


Hawai'i Pacific University
2008-PRESENT - Assistant Professor of Oceanography, Waimanalo, Hawai'i

Duke University Nicholas School of the Environment
2008-PRESENT - Adjunct Assistant Professor, North Carolina

University of Washington
June 2005-2007 - Visiting Scholar, Seattle, WA

Duke University Marine Laboratory
July 2002-2007 - Research Scientist, Beaufort, NC.

Point Reyes Bird Observatory – Marine Science Division
July 2002-2007 - Research Associate, Stinson Beach, CA.


Marine Ecology Progress Series
PRESENT- Review Editor

Center for Marine Conservation at Duke University
PRESENT- Associate

North Pacific Albatross Working Group

Duke University Animal Care Committee
PRESENT- Representative

North Pacific Albatross Working Group.
2001-PRESENT- Member

Marine Ecology Progress Series
2001-2006- Anonymous Reviewer

Marine Species of Common Conservation Concern
2000-2004- U.S. Seabird Representative

Seabird Biogeography Symposium, Marine Ornithology
2003-2003- Invited editor

North Pacific Albatross Working Group Outreach Committee
2002-2003- Co-chair

University of California San Diego, Campus Planning Committee
1995-1998- Student Representative

University of California San Diego, UCSD Park Committee
1995-1998- Student Representative

University of California San Diego, UCSD Park Committee
1991-1993- Student Representative

CalCOFI long-term ecological research (LTER) program
PRESENT- Associate


Best Fisheries Paper
2001 - 10th Annual North Pacific Marine Science Organization Conference

Teaching Excellence Award
1996 - Biology Department, University of California San Diego

Graduation with Honors
1993 - University of California San Diego

Phi Beta Delta National Honor Society
1991 - University of California San Diego


Nevins H-R, Adams, A., Moller, H., Newman, J., Hester, M., Hyrenbach, K.D. 2009. International and cross-cultural management in conservation of migratory species. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand 39(4): 183-185.

Halpin, P.N., Read, A.J., Best, B.D., Hyrenbach, K.D., Fujioka, E., Coyne, M.S., Crowder, L.B., Freeman, S.A. and Spoerri, C. OBIS-SEAMAP: Developing a Biogeographic research Data Commons for the Conservation of Marine Mammals, Seabirds and Sea Turtles. Marine Ecology Progress Series. In Press.

Hyrenbach, K.D., Veit, R.R., Weimerskirch, H., and Hunt, Jr., G.L. Seabird associations with mesoscale eddies: the subtropical Indian Ocean. Marine Ecology Progress Series. In Press.

Louzao, M., Hyrenbach, K.D., Arcos, J.M., Abelló, P., Gil Desola, L., and Oro, D.Oceanographic Habitat of a Critically Endangered Mediterranean Procellariiform: Implications for the Design of Marine Protected Areas. Ecological Applications. In Press.

Rintoul, C., Langabeer-Schlagenhauf, B., Hyrenbach, K.D., Morgan, K.H., Sydeman, W.J. Atlas of California Current Marine Birds and Mammals. PRBO Conservation Science. In Press.

Zacharias, M., Gerber, L. and Hyrenbach, D. Incorporating the science of marine reserves into IWC Sanctuaries: The Southern Ocean Sanctuary. Journal of Cetacean Research and Management. In Press.

Batten, S.D., Hyrenbach K.D., Sydeman, W.J. Morgan, K.H., Henry, M.F., and Yen, P.P.Y., and Welch, D.W. 2006. Characterising Meso-Marine Ecosystems of the North Pacific. Deep-Sea Research II, 53 (3-4): 270-290.

Hyrenbach, K.D., Keiper, C., Allen, S.G., Anderson, D.J., and Ainley, D.G. 2006. Use of national marine sanctuaries by far-ranging predators: commuting flights to the California Current System by breeding Hawaiian albatrosses. Fisheries Oceanography, 15 (2): 95-103.

Redfern, J., Ferguson, M.C., Becker E.A., Hyrenbach, K.D., Good, C., Kaschner K., Baumgartner M.F., Forney, K.A. Balance, L.T., Fauchald, P., Halpin, P., Hamazaki, T., Pershing, A.J., Qian, S.S., Read, A., Reilly, S.B., Torres, L., and Werner, F. 2006. Techniques for cetacean-habitat modeling: A Review. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 310: 271-295.

Suryan, R.M., Sato, F., Balogh, G., Hyrenbach, K.D. , Sievert, P., and Ozaki, K. 2006. Foraging destinations and marine habitat use of short-tailed albatrosses: a multi-scale approach using first-passage time analysis. Deep-Sea Research II, 53 (3-4): 370-386.

Yen, P.P.W., Sydeman, W.J. , Bograd, S.J., Hyrenbach, K.D. 2006. Spring-time distributions of migratory marine birds in the southern California Current: Oceanic eddy associations and coastal habitat hotspots over 17 years. Deep-Sea Research II, 53 (3-4): 399-418.

Gerber, L.R., Hyrenbach, K.D., and Zacharias, M.A. 2005. Do the largest reserves protect whales or whalers? Science, 307: 525-526.

Norse, E. A., Crowder, L.B., Gjerde, K., Hyrenbach, K.D., Roberts, C. and Soulé, M.E. 2005. The Potential for Reserves as an Ecosystem-based Management Tool in the Open Ocean. In: Norse, E.A., and Crowder, L.B. (Eds). Island Press, Washington D.C. Pages 302 – 327.

Papastavrou, V. and Leaper, R. / Gerber, Hyrenbach, K.D., and Zacharias, M.A. 2005. Debating Whale Sanctuaries. Letters to Science 309: 51-52.

Pederson, K.C., Hyrenbach, K.D., Morgan, K., Elliott, G., Yen, P., and Sydeman, W.J. 2005. Pelagic Predators, Prey and Processes (P4): a multi-species approach to the conservation of offshore organisms and habitats in the California Current System. Proceedings of the California and the World Ocean 2002 Conference. Santa Barbara, CA, October 27-30, 2002.

Hyrenbach, D., Costa, D., Croxall, J., Cuthbert, R., Gales, R., Huin, N., Nel, D., Nicholls, D., Phillips, R., Pinaud, D., Quintana, F., Robertson, C., Robertson, G., Shaffer, S., Silk, J., Stahl, J.-C., Suryan, R., Terauds, A., and Weimerskirch, H. 2004. Results: Establishment, maintenance and use of GIS tracking database (section 5.3). In: BirdLife International. Global Procellariiform Tracking Workshop Report. Cambridge, BirdLife International. pp. 64-66.

Yen, P.P.W., Sydeman, W.J., and Hyrenbach, K.D. 2004. Marine bird and cetacean associations with bathymetric habitats and shallow-water topographies: implications for trophic transfer and conservation. In: Dower, J.F., and Brodeur, R.D. (Eds.), The Role of Biophysical Coupling in Concentrating Marine Organisms Around Shallow Topographies. Journal of Marine Systems, 50 (1-2): 79 – 99.

Baduini, C.L., and Hyrenbach, K.D. 2003. Biogeography of Procellariiform foraging strategies: does ocean productivity influence provisioning? Marine Ornithology, 31: 101-112.

Hyrenbach, K.D., and Dotson, R.C. 2003. Assessing the susceptibility of female Black-footed Albatross (Phoebastria nigripes) to longline fisheries during their post-breeding dispersal: an integrated approach. Biological Conservation, 112: 391-404.

Hyrenbach, K.D., and Irons, D. 2003. Introduction to the symposium on seabird biogeography: Past, Present and Future of Seabird Communities. Marine Ornithology, 31: 95-99.

Hyrenbach, K.D., and Veit, R.R. 2003. Ocean warming and seabird communities of the California Current System: response at multiple temporal scales. Deep-Sea Research II, 50 (14-16): 2537-2565.

Read, A.J., Halpin, P.N., Crowder, L.B., Hyrenbach, K.D., Best, B.D., and Freeman, S.A. (Editors). 2003. OBIS-SEAMAP: mapping marine mammals, birds and turtles. Web-site: http://seamap.env.duke.edu

Smith, J.L., and Hyrenbach, K.D. 2003. Galápagos Islands to British Columbia: seabird communities along a 9,0000 km transect from the tropical to the subarctic Eastern Pacific Ocean. Marine Ornithology, 31: 155-166.

Wilkinson, T., Agardy, T., Perry, S., Rojas, L., Morgan, K., Hyrenbach, D., Fraser, D., Janishevski, L.,Herrmann, H., and De La Cueva, H. 2004. Marine Species of Common Conservation Concern – protecting species at risk across international boundaries. Proceedings of the Fifth International SAMPAA (Science and Management of Protected Areas) Conference, University of Victoria, Victoria, B.C., Canada. May 11 – 16, 2003. http://www.sampaa.org/proceedings.htm)

Hyrenbach, K.D. 2002. Plumage-based ageing criteria for the Black-footed Albatross. Marine Ornithology,30: 85-93.

Hyrenbach, K.D., Fernández, P, and Anderson, D.J. 2002. Oceanographic habitats of two sympatric North Pacific albatrosses during the breeding season. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 233: 283-301.

Baduini, C.L., Hyrenbach, K.D., Coyle, K.O., Pinchuk, A., Mendenhall, V., and Hunt, G.L., Jr. 2001. Mass mortality of Short-tailed Shearwaters in the southeastern Bering Sea during summer 1997. Fisheries Oceanography, 10:117-130.

Hyrenbach, K.D. 2001. Albatross response to survey vessels: implications for studies of seabird distribution, abundance and prey consumption. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 212:283-295.

Hyrenbach, K.D., and Dotson, R.C. 2001. Post-breeding movements of a male Black-footed Albatross Phoebastria nigripes. Marine Ornithology, 29:23-26.

Hyrenbach, K.D., Baduini, C.L., and Hunt, G.L., Jr. 2001. Line transect estimates of Short-tailed Shearwater (Puffinus tenuirostris) mortality in the Southeastern Bering Sea: 1997-99. Marine Ornithology, 29: 27-34.

Hyrenbach, K.D., Forney K.A., and Dayton, P.K. 2000. Marine Protected Areas and Ocean Basin Management.Aquatic Conservation, 10:437-458.

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