Grants for Conservation of Marine Mammals and Their Environment

Grants for Conservation of Marine Mammals and Their Environment

The Marine Mammal Commission is accepting proposals between December 06, 2023 and February 14, 2024 for projects focused on A) marine mammals in a changing climate; or B) advancing diversity, equity, inclusiveness, belonging, accessibility, and justice (DEIBAJ) in marine mammal science. Funding requests are limited to $60,000 USD.

*** Those wishing to submit a proposal must email no later than Wednesday, January 31, 2024 stating their intent to submit a full proposal by the proposal submission deadline.***

***Full proposal submission deadline: 11:59 pm Eastern Standard Time, Wednesday, February 14, 2024***

Topic A: Marine Mammals in a Changing Climate


The Marine Mammal Commission’s mission is to further the goals of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), 16 U.S.C. § 1361 et sec. These include restoring and maintaining marine mammal populations as significant functioning elements of healthy marine ecosystems. However, the dynamic nature of ecosystems can make assessing and attaining these goals challenging, particularly in the face of global climate change.

Oceans are warming and becoming more acidic, and extreme weather events are becoming more frequent. These changes are driving range and distribution shifts of many marine species and disrupting ecosystem processes and functions. Detecting ecosystem changes and understanding the impact of such changes on marine mammal populations is essential to developing effective conservation and management response plans, and is a priority for the Marine Mammal Commission.

Building on previous years’ efforts, the Commission is accepting proposals under this topic focused in two areas.

Topic A Focal Areas

  • Marine mammal health in a changing climate
    Climate-driven changes in ecosystems are expected to alter the exposure of marine mammals to pathogens and toxins, and change prey availability, abundance, or quality. These changes in exposure could lead to nutritional stress, compromised immune systems, or other impacts on health, and ultimately can affect population vital rates. Increased capacity to detect changes in marine mammal population health and understand the underlying factors and processes contributing to those changes is critically needed to identify possible actions to respond to and mitigate impacts. Under topic area 1, the Commission seeks proposals that improve our understanding of the effects of climate change on the health of marine mammal populations.

  • Changes in marine mammal distribution or habitat associated with a changing climate
    Climate-change driven alterations in ecosystems may lead to shifts in marine mammal distribution, range, phenology, or migration routes, and may alter the availability of prey or change exposure to predation or human activities. Under topic area 2, the Commission seeks proposals that increase our understanding of changes in marine mammal distribution or habitat driven by climate change.

    Understanding the effects of climate change requires longitudinal and cross-disciplinary data. Therefore, for both topic A focal areas, we encourage submission of proposals that demonstrate use of, or contribute to, long-term datasets, archives, or repositories that are available and accessible
    to other users.

    Projects that include the development or application of innovative tools for assessing health, as well as changes in distribution or habitat, to support long-term monitoring are also encouraged, and projects that link marine mammal health data in partnership with U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) Regional Associations’ analytical data, tools, and products, will be favorably considered. If you are interested in a partnership with IOOS, please contact the appropriate Regional Association no fewer than 4-6 weeks prior to the proposal submission deadline.

    Topic B: Advancing Diversity, Equity, Inclusiveness, Belonging, Accessibility and Justice (DEIBAJ) in Marine Mammal Science


    There continues to be a lack of diversity among those engaged in marine mammal research and management. Economic and other barriers have limited accessibility to marine sciences in general, and exist at all stages of learning and career development. Diversity fosters innovation, and investing and engaging in diversity and inclusion as a whole is beneficial for addressing complex issues in marine mammal science and conservation.

    Diverse narratives and perspectives from the inclusion of all races, gender identities, sexual orientations, physical abilities, ages, stages of careers, and general backgrounds improve the collective opportunity to be more innovative, effective, and equitable in the field of marine mammal science. The Commission is committed to advancing opportunities that increase diversity, equity, inclusiveness, belonging, accessibility, and justice (DEIBAJ) in the field of marine mammal science.

    The Commission seeks proposals that broaden participation, engage diverse learners, foster pathways, and develop leadership opportunities for historically underserved and underrepresented communities in marine mammal science. Topic B proposals will create or support DEIBAJ initiatives within the fields of marine mammal science.

    For example, within a marine mammal research group or institution, or a community-based non-profit, Topic B funding could support DEIBAJ initiatives such as cultivating an accessible, inclusive, and equitable working environment, providing mentor/mentee training or professional development opportunities, or developing paid internship programs.

    These are only a few examples, and we encourage applicants to think broadly and intentionally about DEIBAJ initiatives.


    Applicants from within the U.S. and outside the U.S. are eligible to apply, including both non-U.S. citizens and those affiliated with non-U.S. institutions.

    At the time of posting, the U.S. Federal Government is working under a continuing resolution. Availability of funds to support research is dependent on passage of a final budget for the Commission.

    How to Apply

    For more information and job application details, see; Grants for Conservation of Marine Mammals and Their Environment

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