Marine mammals face many challenges in their environment, such as finding food, competing for mates, raising offspring, avoiding disease, and evading predators. They also face challenges from human activities, including competition for food, interactions with fishing gear, pollution (trash and chemicals), and noise. Many of the challenges imposed by humans on marine mammals can be mitigated, but this can only be effectively done when sufficient information about the biology of marine mammals is known.

The goal of the Conservation Biology program is to perform fundamental research on the biology of marine mammals, including their behavior, physiology, and ecology, with the goal of mitigating human impacts and improving the conservation of marine mammal species. Applied research is also conducted to better understand how certain types of human activity affects marine mammals. For example, we study the behavioral and physiological responses of marine mammals to noise exposure.

The results of studies conducted by the Conservation Biology program tie directly into the conservation efforts of the NMMF.

The information is made readily available through publications in scientific journals, presentations at scientific meetings, outreach to the community and public schools, and through NMMF social media. Members of the Conservation Biology research group also engage with federal regulators to ensure they are informed of the latest science relevant to marine mammal conservation and management.

Biologic and Bioacoustic Research Team