Marine Mammal Commission

Grants and Research

Research Program

humpback whale tails

Three humpback whale tails dive together. (Shutterstock)

The Marine Mammal Commission carries out a small grant program that supports projects aimed at meeting the conservation and protection goals of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). The Commission’s Research Program includes all relevant activities including basic and applied research, workshops, literature reviews, compilations of expert opinion, and drafting manuscripts or reports. The Research Program is administered by the Commission’s Scientific Program staff in consultation with the Commissioners and the Committee of Scientific Advisors on Marine Mammals.

The research program awards grants based on proposals submitted in response to an annual call for proposals which may include specific research topics identified by the Commission in a given year. The amount of funds available varies from year to year, depending on the overall congressional appropriations for the Commission. Since the Commission was established in 1972, we have supported more than 1,000 projects. Final reports of Commission-sponsored studies are available from the National Technical Information Service (NTIS) (1978 to approximately 2012) or directly from the Commission (more recent reports), and many studies have led to publications in books or scientific journals.

Adult male northern elephant seal considers his future feeding opportunities in the north pacific ocean.

Adult male northern elephant seal considers his future feeding opportunities in the North Pacific Ocean. Picture taken under NMFS permit #87-1743. (Sam Simmons, Marine Mammal Commission)

Learn more about projects recently sponsored by the Commission on the Grant Awards page. The Commission is proud of its support of highly successful projects in past years and highlights a few of them on our “highlights from previous research grants” page.

The Commission encourages the submission of proposals for innovative and well-designed projects that address conservation and research issues for marine mammals or the ecosystems they depend on. On occasion, we provide start-up or seed money for promising projects that, once proven feasible, may be supported later by other sources. We encourage applicants to obtain additional support by collaborating with, or soliciting funds from, other institutions, organizations, or agencies.

Learn more about current funding opportunities.

Survey of Federally Funded Marine Mammal Research

Manatees in Crystal River, Florida (Guillaume Bauch)

Manatees in Crystal River, Florida. (Guillaume Bauch)

The Survey of Federally Funded Marine Mammal Research (the Survey) is an online survey and data repository that provides federal funding information on marine mammal research by agency, species, objective, and location.

Learn more about the Survey.