Marine Mammal Commission

Other Publications

Publications in scientific literature are an important component of the research and conservation activities we support. We provide science-based oversight of domestic and international policies and actions of federal agencies with mandates to address human impacts on marine mammals and their ecosystems. We also support research that directly advances our mission to protect marine mammals and their environment. Publications resulting from research conducted by Commission staff, Commissioners, or members of the Committee of Scientific Advisors can be found in their profiles. Publications resulting from work for the Commission by Commission-sponsored postdoctoral researchers are provided below.

Postdoctoral Researchers

Megan McKenna, Ph.D.
National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow (2011-2012)

Aerial image of blue whale.

Blue whale. (NOAA’s National Marine Mammal Laboratory)

Dr. McKenna, in collaboration with Heat, Light and Sound, Inc., developed and applied spatially explicit acoustic propagation models to assess sound exposure from commercial shipping in marine mammal habitat off the West Coast of the United States. The framework provided a method to assess the effects of different shipping routes, quieting technologies, or ship type composition on the cumulative sound exposure levels. The results were presented at the European Underwater Acoustic Conference in July 2012 and are available online. She also integrated blue whale behavior data obtained from suction-cup tags with commercial ship traffic data to investigate response to the close passage of large ships. The results have implications for large whale vulnerability to collisions with ships.

Leslie New, Ph.D.
National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow (2011-2012)

Dr. New focused on research related to marine mammals and the cumulative effects of sound. She developed an energetics model for beaked whales that can be used to assess the potential population consequence of disturbances that result in lost foraging opportunities (New et al. 2013). She also made significant contributions to several other projects developing approaches to assessing human impacts on marine mammals.

McMahon, C. R., New, L. F., Fairley, E. J., Hindell, M. A. and Burton, H. R. (2015) The Effects of Body Size and Climate on Post-Weaning Survival of Elephant Seals at Heard Island. Journal of Zoology, September, (early view). doi:10.1111/jzo.12279.

Pirotta, E., New, L., Harwood, J. and Lusseau, D. (2014) Activities, motivations and disturbance: fitting a state-space model to bottlenose dolphin behavioural data in Doubtful Sound, New Zealand. Ecological Modelling: 282:44–58.

New, L.F., Clark, J.S., Costa, D.P., Fleishman, E., Hindell, M.A., Klanjscek, T., Lusseau, D., Kraus, S., McMahon, C.R., Robinson, P.W., Schick, R.S., Schwarz, L.K., Simmons, S.E., Thomas, L., Tyack, P. and Harwood, J. (2014) Estimating the long-term fitness of southern elephant seals on the basis of short-term measures of behaviour. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 496: 99-108.

Moretti, D., Thomas, L., Marques, T., Harwood, J., Dilley, A., Neales, B., Shaffer, J., McCarthy, E., New, L., Jarvis, S. and Morrissey, R. (2014) A risk function for behavioral disruption of Blainville’s beaked whales (Mesoplodon densirostris) from Mid-Frequency Active sonar. PLOS ONE, 9: e85064.

New, L., Moretti, D., Hooker, S., Costa, P. and Simmons, S.E. (2013) An energetics model for the survival and reproduction of beaked whales (family Ziphiidae). PLOS ONE, 8: e68725. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0068725.

Williams, R., Vikingsson, G.A., Gislason, A., Lockyer, C., New, L., Thomas, L. and Hammond, P.S. (2013) Evidence for density-dependent changes in body condition and pregnancy rate of North Atlantic fin whales over four decades of varying environmental conditions. ICES Journal of Marine Science, 70: 1273-1280.

New, L.F., Harwood, J., Thomas, L., Donovan, C., Clark, J.S., Hastie, G., Thompson, P.M., Cheney, B., Scott-Hayward, L. and Lusseau, D. (2013) Modeling the biological significance of behavior change in coastal bottlenose dolphins in response to disturbance. Functional Ecology. 27:314-322.

Martin Robards, Ph.D.
National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow (2008-2010)

Alaska Natives use a towline to haul a bowhead whale carcass onto ice image

Alaska Natives use a towline to haul a bowhead whale carcass onto ice following a subsistence whale hunt near Barrow, Alaska. (Adrienne Boland)

Dr. Robards worked with the Commission to inform policy makers about the challenges of implementing regional-scale policies concerning the conservation of marine mammals in remote subsistence-dominated environments.

Robards, M.D. and R.R. Reeves. 2011. The global extent and character of marine mammal consumption by humans: 1970-2009. Biological Conservation 144: 2770-2786.

Robards, M.D., Schoon, M.L., Meek, C.L., and Engle, N.L., 2011. The importance of social drivers in the resilient provision of ecosystem services. Global Environmental Change 21 (2), 522–529.