Ray Boland


Last Updated July, 2020

raymond.boland 'at' noaa 'dot' gov


Ray Boland was born and raised on O'ahu, Hawai'i. In high school he was part of the Blue-Water Marine Laboratory, an experiential marine science program, where he learned the basics of marine science, seamanship and lifesaving techniques. He attended the University of Hawai'i at Manoa and was active in the Marine Option Program which afforded him many practical opportunities in the marine science field. He was also a student aquarist and worked in the education department at the Waikiki Aquarium and as a lab tech at the Hawai'i Institute for Marine Biology.


In 1990, he participated as a researcher diver on a NOAA research cruise to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, where he experienced the wilderness of that place. That cruise became a key point in his life and career. In 1996 Ray received his B.S. in Biology from the University of Hawai'i and was contracted by the Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center, NOAA/NMFS, where he eventually became a federal research biologist in the Ecosystems and Oceanography Division.


In 1996, he pioneered studies in marine debris survey and removal in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. His results and report are the basis for the present day large-scale marine debris survey and removal effort being conducted by PIFSC. He also participated in surveys of the Hawaiian Monk Seal forage base, which led to him being certified as a trimix diver. He usedf this expewrtise to conduct studies of the fish assemblages associated with black coral trees.


As part of NOAA's Insular Ecosystems Program, Ray's research interests include reef fish communities, mesophotic communities and marine debris. Specific projects include studying the reef fish communities of mesophotic reefs, black corals and artificial reefs; marine debris survey and removal; and impacts of catch and release fisheries. Responsibilities of Unit Dive Supervisor include training and certification of divers; and overseeing all dive operations.


His latest research focuses on the fish communities of mesophotic reefs, found between the depths of 30 and 150 meters. Ray has conducted fish surveys ofmesophotic reefs via SCUBA and submersible in the Main Hawaiian Islands and the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and will be utilizing elements of this dataset for his graduate project.


Ray successfully defended his thesis on December 5, 2014.



After graduating from HPU, Ray continued working at NOAA's Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Cenmter - Ecosystem and Research Division (ERD) in Honolulu.




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