Marine Mammal Commission

Marine Mammal Stranding Response, Health Surveillance, and Conservation Webinar

Hosted by the Marine Mammal Commission

View the webinar recording on! Passcode: C?nzx=i1

2:00-4:30PM EST on February 8, 2023

Objective: Provide an overview of the National Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program and the legislation that gives authority to NOAA to implement the stranding response program, introduce new legislation and the concept of a Marine Mammal Health Monitoring and Analysis Platform (Health MAP), and review how data from stranding networks enable effective marine mammal health surveillance and inform management and conservation efforts.

View the agenda, click here.


Entangled Hawaiian monk seal. Photo credit: NOAA Fisheries

Overview and purpose of the National Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program – Sarah Wilkin, National Stranding and Emergency Response Coordinator at the Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS)

Regional efforts to use stranding network data for conservation of marine mammalsAinsley Smith, Marine Mammal Stranding Coordinator at the Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office, NMFS

Case studies on how stranded marine mammals can inform conservation efforts – Laura Engleby, Branch Chief at the Southeast Regional Office, NMFS

An academic perspective: what can we learn from multi-year, cross-institutional collaborations that focus on marine mammal health surveillance? – Dr. Wendy Puryear, Senior Research Associate, Department of Infectious Disease and Global Health, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University

Overview of recent legislation related to stranding networks – Brady O’Donnell, Communications and Legislative Affairs Officer, Marine Mammal Commission

Health MAP: A vision for marine mammal stranding response, health surveillance, science, and management – Dr. Frances Gulland, Chair, Marine Mammal Commission

Panel Discussion – The panel will address questions on stranding network data sharing and  collaboration for the purpose of more effective marine mammal health surveillance and conservation.

For more information, contact Brady O’Donnell ( 


Commission Letters

June 1, 2021 – Letter to National Marine Fisheries Service’s on future directions of the Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program


Preprint – Please note an updated peer reviewed version of this paper will be in EID April addition, and may be available sooner as an early release: Puryear, W., Sawatzki, K., Hill, N., Foss A,. Stone J.J., Doughty, L., Walk, D., Gilbert K., Murray M., Cox E., Patel P., Mertz Z., Ellis S., Taylor J., Fauquier D., Smith A., DiGiovanni R., van de Guchte A., Gonzalez-Reiche A., Khalil Z., van Bakel H., Torchetti, M., Lenoch J., Lantz K., Runstadler J. 2023. Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza A (H5N1) Virus Outbreak in New England Seals, USA. Emerging Infectious Diseases 2023 Apr.

Puryear, W., Sawatzki, K., Bogomolni, A., Hill, N., Foss, A., Stokholm, I., Olsen, M., Waltzek, T., Goldstein, T., Subramaniam, K., Rodrigues, T., Belaganahalli, M., Doughty L., Becker, L., Stockes, A., Niemeyer, M., Tuttle, A., Romano, T., Linhares, M., Fauquier, D., Runstadler, J. 2021. Longitudinal analysis of pinnipeds in the Northwest Atlantic provides insights on endemic circulation of Phocine distemper virus. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 288(1962):20211841.

Puryear, W., Keogh, M., Hill, N., Moxley, J., Josephson, E., Ryan-Davis, K., Bandoro, C., Lidgard, D., Bogomolni, A., Levin, M., Lang, S., Hammill, M., Bowen, D., Johnston, D., Romano, T., Waring, G., Runstadler, J.A. 2016. Prevalence of influenza A virus in live-captured North Atlantic gray seals: a possible wild reservoir. Emerging Microbes and Infections 5(8):e81.

Web Resources

Marine Mammal Health Monitoring and Analysis Platform (MMC)

Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program (NOAA)

Title IV MMPA – Establishment of the Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program

Seal Ecology and Assessment Research in the Northwest Atlantic (NOAA)

Viral Ecology of Northwest Atlantic Marine Mammals (Tufts)