Research on Marine Mammals

National Marine Mammals Laboratory


The National Marine Mammal Laboratory (NMML) conducts research on marine mammals important to the mission of the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), with particular attention to issues related to marine mammals off the coasts of Alaska, Washington, Oregon, and California.

Research Projects

Research projects focus on ecology and behavior, population dynamics, life history, and status and trends. Information is provided to various domestic and international organizations to assist in developing rational and appropriate management regimes for marine resources under NOAA's jurisdiction.

These organizations include the NMFS Alaska and Northwest Regional Offices, the NMFS Office of Protected Resources, the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council, the International Whaling Commission, and the Arctic Council.

Current Research Projects(2008)

  • Alaska Ecosystems
  • Polar Ecosystems
  • Cetacean Assessment
  • California Current
  • Systemic Management


Research conducted by NMML utilizes a variety of methods and tools to obtain needed information. Determination of status and trends of marine mammal populations requires information on abundance, stock structure, mortality and net productivity. To obtain these data, censuses are carried out from ships, aircraft and on land.

Radio and satellite-linked telemetry is utilized to determine movements and migrations, critical feeding areas and depths, and other behavioral data. Sophisticated analyses and modeling are carried out to determine necessary population parameters. Research programs are carried out cooperatively with many other federal, state and private sector collaborators.

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