About Us

Wild Me is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization registered in the United States. We are based in Portland, Oregon in the historic Kenton Neighborhood.

Contact Us

For general questions about Wild Me, please contact Jason Holmberg (jason@wildme.org).

For consulting and services-related questions for your citizen science project, please contact us at: services@wildme.org.

Board of Directors

 

ZAVEN ARZOUMANIAN, President

Arzoumanian,_Zaven

zaven@wildme.org

Zaven Arzoumanian earned degrees in Physics at McGill University (B.Sc.) and Princeton University (M.A., Ph.D.). His research interests include the astrophysics of neutron stars and black holes, testing theories of gravitation and the nature of matter in extreme environments, and new technologies for instrumentation in radio and X-ray astronomy. Zaven is employed as a contract scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD, USA. Zaven’s interest in Whale Sharks and pattern-matching computations for biological applications culminated in the co-development of a technique for matching spot patterns adapted from astronomy, published in the Journal of Applied Ecology (May 2005).

 

TANYA BERGER-WOLF, Director

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Dr. Tanya Berger-Wolf is a Computational Ecologist, designing computational methods to solve problems in ecology, from genetics to social interactions, focusing particularly on the algorithmic and data aspects of the questions. Dr. Berger-Wolf is the co-founder and lead of the Wildbook project. She is a Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she heads the Computational Population Biology Lab. As a legitimate part of her research (and Wildbook) she gets to fly in a super-light airplane over a nature preserve in Kenya, taking a hyper-stereo video of zebra populations and learning how to identify each one of them by the unique stripe pattern.

Berger-Wolf holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She has received numerous awards for her research and mentoring, including the US National Science Foundation CAREER Award, Association for Women in Science Chicago Innovator Award, and the UIC Mentor of the Year Award.

ALEX Dehgan, Director

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Dr. Alex Dehgan is the CEO and co-founder of Conservation X Labs, a startup for tech innovation for conservation and development. Dr. Alex Dehgan recently served as the Chief Scientist at USAID, with rank of Assistant Administrator, and founded the Global Development Lab. Prior to USAID, Alex worked in multiple positions within the Office of the Secretary, and the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, at the Dept. of State. At State, Alex developed political and science diplomacy strategies towards addressing our most challenging foreign policy issues in Iraq, Egypt, and the greater Islamic world, including engagement with Iran under the Obama Administration with Amb. Dennis Ross. As head of the Wildlife Conservation Society Afghanistan Program, Alex helped create Afghanistan’s first national park.

Staff

 

JASON HOLMBERG, Executive Director and Director of Engineering

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jason@wildme.org

Jason Holmberg has logged thousands of hours of development time on Wildbook and Wildbook for Whale Sharks. As Wild Me’s Information Architect, he has designed and implemented new tools to support digital pattern recognition for whale sharks and other species. Using Jason’s tools, our projects have been able to categorize and manage a large amount of wildlife data, promote collaboration across borders and data sets, and to identify individual animals from multiple photos taken by different researchers many years apart. Jason was lead author and population modeler for two widely lauded papers covering whale shark population trajectories at Ningaloo Marine Park in Western Australia, demonstrating that citizen science data can provide improved insight and population models through greater acquisition of high quality data.

Building on 15 years of experience in wildlife software, Jason now provides organizational leadership as Executive Director and manages the professional software engineers and machine learning specialists at Wild Me as Director of Engineering.

Jason’s current research focus is the development of Intelligent Agents that augment and interact with wildlife research communities. Jason’s agents are combining multiple forms of machine learning (DCNN, NLP, NMT, etc.) to data mine social media for usable wildlife information (photos/where/when) and autonomously curating the data and interacting with the public to asynchronously get more information as needed and educate, “returning the gift of data with the gift of knowledge”.

Selected publications:

  • Norman B, Holmberg J, Arzoumanian Z et. al (2017) Undersea Constellations: The Global Biology of an Endangered Marine Megavertebrate Further Informed through Citizen Science, BioScience, bix127.
    Web link
  • Bonner SJ & Holmberg, J (2013), Mark-Recapture with Multiple, Non-Invasive Marks. Biometrics. doi: 10.1111/biom.12045
    Web link
  • Holmberg J, Norman B & Arzoumanian Z (2009) Estimating population size, structure, and residency time for whale sharks Rhincodon typus through collaborative photo-identification. Endangered Species Research, (7) 39-53.
    Web link.
  • Holmberg J, Norman B & Arzoumanian Z (2008) Robust, comparable population metrics through collaborative photo-monitoring of whale sharks Rhincodon typus . Ecological Applications 18(1): 222-223.
    Web link
    .

DREW BLOUNT, Software Engineer

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drew@wildme.org

Drew is a data scientist, software engineer, and cryptography enthusiast. He has academic publications in both theoretical machine learning and applied data analysis, and has been active in the burgeoning, post-Bitcoin “crypto” world. Throughout these experiences, his work has focused on using information technology to benefit public, cooperative communities rather than private interests.

 

COLIN KINGEN, Software Engineer

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Colin Kingen is a Web Developer in Portland, Oregon. He is a graduate of Epicodus coding school and has a strong interest in biology and environmental science. He is passionate about using coding and technology to build tools and resources to benefit the community and foster learning. His work on Wild Book included working with others to build an adoption and donation system to help with funding and increase interest and engagement for citizen science.

 

JASON PARHAM, Senior Computer Vision Research Engineer

Jason Parham

Jason Parham received his B.S. in Computer Science / Mathematics from Pepperdine University in Malibu, CA in 2008 and holds a 2015 M.S. in Computer Science from RPI in Troy, NY. Jason is finishing his Ph.D. under the advising of Dr. Charles Stewart in the Computer Vision research group at RPI.

Jason’s Masters thesis was on the design and implementation of a citizen science-powered photographic censusing of the zebra and giraffe in the Nairobi National Park. His current doctoral research focuses on object detection and classification, using deep learning on wildlife imagery, to power photographic censusing. Jason is a co-developer of Wildbook‘s Image Analysis components, which are used to monitor animal populations in conservancies around Kenya and which integrate with the Wildbook data management platform. Previously, Jason worked three years for Kitware, Inc. in Clifton Park on detecting vehicles and military aircraft in overhead satellite imagery. His work at Kitware led to the development of KWCNN, a customized Python module that enables easy training of deep learning networks such as Fully-Convolutional Neural Networks (FCNNs) and Generative Autoencoder Networks (GANs). Below are some select publications:

  • An Animal Detection Pipeline for Identification Lake Tahoe, CA. IEEE WINTER CONFERENCE ON APPLICATIONS OF COMPUTER VISION (WACV 2018) Mar 2018
  • Wildbook: Crowdsourcing, Computer Vision, and Data Science for Conservation New York, NY. BLOOMBERG DATA FOR GOOD EXCHANGE 2017 Sep 2017
  • Animal Population Estimation Using Flickr Images Troy, NY
    ACM WEB SCIENCE CONFERENCE 2017 (WEBSCI‘17). INTERNATIONAL WORKSHOP ON THE SOCIAL WEB FOR ENVIRONMENTAL AND ECOLOGICAL MONITORING (SWEEM 2017)
  • Efficient Generation of Image Chips for Training Deep Learning Networks Anaheim, CA. PROCEEDINGS OF SOCIETY OF PHOTO-OPTICAL INSTRUMENTATION ENGINEERS (SPIE) · AUTOMATIC TARGET RECOGNITION (ATR). XXVII Apr 2017

Jon Van Oast, Senior Engineer

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Jon Van Oast has been developing online collaborative software for over twenty years.  He has a strong interest in open source software/hardware, open data, citizen science, and conservation.  

Advisers

ANDREA MARSHALL, Science Advisor

andrea_marshall Andrea Marshall is a conservation biologist, working in Mozambique on the ecology of both species of manta rays. Educated in the United States and Australia, Andrea was the first person in the world to complete a PhD on manta rays. After completing her thesis Andrea stayed on to spearhead the conservation efforts of these species in Mozambique. After almost a decade of work in the region, she founded the Marine Megafauna Association. Her world-leading manta ray research program examines aspects of their biology, reproductive ecology, habitat use, migrations and social behaviour. Aside from dramatically increasing the level of knowledge on manta rays themselves, Andrea’s discovery of a new giant species of manta ray in 2008 was one of the largest new species to have been described by any scientist in the last 50 years. In addition to her busy international research schedule Andrea spends many months of the year working on conservation initiatives at home and abroad.

SIMON PIERCE, Science Adviser

simonpierce_images Simon Pierce is a conservation ecologist focusing on threatened marine species, particularly sharks and rays. Simon, a New Zealand native, has been based in Mozambique since 2005 where he leads research efforts on a large year-round aggregation of whale sharks. Simon’s whale shark research examines the population ecology, movements and conservation status of these enormous fishes. His research is designed to bridge the gap between science in management in order to develop and implement effective conservation solutions. Simon is a Lead Scientist at the Marine Megafauna Association in Mozambique and Executive Director of Eyes on the Horizon, a national Mozambican marine conservation organisation. He holds a BSc degree from Victoria University of Wellington (NZ) and a BSc (Hons) and PhD from The University of Queensland (Australia).