Dave Kastak, researcher scientist in the Pinniped Cognition program

Dave Kastak, a researcher scientist in the Pinniped Cognition program at Long Marine Laboratory, died Jan. 12.

Kastak had been part of the Long Marine Laboratory and marine mammal community for more than 15 years. He received his masters and his Ph.D. at UCSC, became a post-doctoral researcher in 1996, and then was appointed as an assistant research scientist in 2001.

He led the ongoing research program on pinniped acoustics at Long Marine Lab, and also headed up a cooperative project with the United States Navy's Marine Mammal Program.

Dave Kastak was a young but internationally respected scientist who had established a strong record in the marine mammal acoustics community, according to Gary Griggs, professor of Earth sciences and director of the Institute of Marine Sciences.

His research was characterized by careful and innovative experimental work, which helped put UCSC in a national leadership position in marine mammal acoustics research, said Griggs.

Dave was dedicated to careful and credible research, and he wanted more than anything else to make a contribution to our understanding of this important group of marine animals, Griggs said. He was a kind, generous, and caring individual who cared deeply about the animals he worked with.

Local memorial services were held in January. Donations in memory of Kastak may be sent to Doctors Without Borders.