Marine Mammal Commission

FY 2022 Results Summary


This web page summarizes the results of the Marine Mammal Commission’s (the Commission) Survey of Federally Funded Marine Mammal Research (the Survey) for fiscal year (FY) 2022. Please see the Data Notice below for details about what these results represent. For more information about the Survey, click here.

The Survey focuses on marine mammal research projects/programs, which are defined as:

  1. projects funded as part of a recognized research/grants program (including funding for workshops, meetings, and conferences),
  2. projects supported in response to hypothesis driven scientific research and monitoring (excluding monitoring for mitigation only), and
  3. projects or activities conducted in whole or part to meet the requirements to prepare and update stock assessment reports under section 117 of the Marine Mammal Protection Act, including the collection and evaluation of abundance data, stock delineation and status information, and estimates of human-caused mortality and serious injury of marine mammals.

Projects reported to the Survey conform to at least one part of this definition.

Importantly, the Survey only contains information about federal funding sources, it does not include funding for marine mammal research from state agencies, non-governmental organizations, or private companies (e.g., settlement funds from private industry for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill).

Below, we provide a high-level summary of the reported FY 2022 funding by agency, project objective, and species. The total funding amount for each project was rounded to the nearest $10,000 when reported except for projects funded at or below $5,000, which were rounded to $5,000. Requests for additional information or details about federal marine mammal research and funding reported in FY 2022 Survey can be made by contacting the Commission at


Funding by Agency

For FY 2022, agencies within the Departments of Commerce, Interior, Defense, and Homeland Security, as well as four independent agencies reported funding 431 marine mammal projects for a combined total of $83.57 million (Figure 1). Funding provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and U.S. Navy accounted for almost 74% ($61.65M) of the total federal funding for marine mammal research. Projects sponsored by NOAA, an agency within the Department of Commerce, accounted for 49% ($41.01M) of the total federal funding. Within NOAA, projects sponsored by the National Marine Fisheries Service, the line office responsible for research and management of cetaceans and pinnipeds, accounted for approximately 96% of NOAA’s total contribution to federally funded marine mammal research. Responsibility for the research and management of manatees, polar bears, sea otters, and walruses falls to agencies within the Department of the Interior: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Projects sponsored by the FWS accounted for 5% of the federal funding of marine mammal research respectively. We are still working with our USGS colleagues to enter their data, and we will update the Summary Results as soon as the data are entered and reviewed. Together, NOAA and FWS (and USGS), which have lead regulatory, research, and management responsibility to ensure the conservation of all marine mammals within US jurisdiction, provided 54% ($45.05M) of the total federal funding reported for FY 2022. The National Science Foundation (NSF) reported $9.70M (12% of total funding), of which more than half was attributed to the Directorate of Geosciences (GEO) and the Office of Polar Programs within the GEO. Both the Navy (25% of total funding) and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM, 6% of total funding) are responsible for research on, and mitigation of, the impact of their activities and policies affecting marine mammals. Environmental Protection Agency, and Department of State reported no funding allocated to marine mammal research projects in FY 2022.

Donut graph of FY 2022 Survey FFR federal marine mammal research funding by agency.

Figure 1. Amounts rounded to the nearest $10K. “Other” category includes the National Park Service ($505K), Marine Mammal Commission ($440K), United States Coast Guard ($250K), DoE Office of Energy Efficiently and Renewable Energy ($250K), Bureau of Land Management ($90K), National Aeronautics and Space Administration ($50K), and the Smithsonian Institution ($20K). *USGS and Army Corps of Engineer projects have not yet been entered for FY 2022.

Funding by Research Objective

For each project reported to the Survey, respondents identified the specific research objectives from 12 high-level categories that each contained various sub-categories. Table 1 shows the total funding for each of the 12 high-level research objectives. To see the list of sub-category research objectives and the funding amounts reported under each, click here. In FY 2022, almost $26M in funding was reported for Stock Assessment and Population Dynamics, approximately $12M was reported for Technology Development, and $10M was reported for Organismal Biology.

Table of funding amounts for each high level objective listed in the FY 2022 Survey FFR.

Table 1. Amounts rounded to the nearest $1K. To see the full list of research objectives with sub-categories, click here.

Funding by Species

For each project reported to the Survey, the total funding amount of the project was allocated across individual focal species by the reporting agency. Of the 134 living and recently extinct marine mammal species, 71 were named as focal species in FY 2022 projects. Figure 2 shows the species for which total funding was reported at $1M or greater. If a project did not have focal species or surveyed more than 10 species, it was reported as a multi-species project and funds were not allocated across individual species. Multi-species projects totaled $27.6M, or about 36% of the total funding amount. Species with the greatest amount of total funding reported were North Atlantic right whale ($8.0M), humpback whale ($3.4M), Cuvier’s beaked whale ($3.2M), and killer whale ($3.1M).

Bar char of species funding levels reported in the FY 2022 SFFR.

Figure 2. Amounts rounded to the nearest $1K. 1Only those species funded at $1M or greater shown here. 2If a project did not have focal species or surveyed 10 or more species, it was reported as a multi-species project, and funds were not allocated across individual species.


The Marine Mammal Commission would like to thank the federal agencies who participated in the Survey for their efforts to provide accurate information on their marine mammal research activities and funding, and gratefully acknowledges the time and effort contributed to the Survey by the coordinators and respondents from those agencies. In addition, the Commission greatly appreciates the engagement and agency feedback provided throughout the process of revising the online data collection system; these comments improved the Survey and its usefulness substantially. Finally, the Commission acknowledges the exemplary work of Eastern Research Group, Inc. in helping the Commission revise and launch the survey system used for the FY 2019 data call and continued assistance with system maintenance. Comments on this summary report or the Survey are welcome and can be submitted to the Commission at

Data Notice

The data displayed on this web page were downloaded from the survey system on 23 May 2023, by which time the Commission had completed a thorough quality assurance/quality control inspection of the data that were submitted. At this time, it is known that no FY 2022 projects from the USGS and Army Corp of Engineers have been entered. We are working with our agency colleagues to remedy this situation. Before citing any results, please contact the Commission at for confirmation of the results presented here, or if you have any questions. 

Suggested Citation: U.S. Marine Mammal Commission. (2023). “Survey of Federally Funded Marine Mammal Research: FY 2022 Results Summary.” Retrieved Month DD, YYYY, from