In addition to leading the Marine Mammal Genetics Group, Barbara is an active participate in the IUCN Cetacean Specialist Group and the Scientific Committee of the International Whaling Commission. Her first ten years in marine mammal research were spent studying harbor porpoise, harbor seals, bowhead whales and humpback whales, mostly in Alaska. Since receiving her PhD at the University of California, San Diego, her research shifted from a field orientation to a quantitative approach. Research interests include genetics focusing on identifying units to conserve; population dynamics of small populations; conservation biology; demography; population viability analysis and decision analysis.
Congress enacted the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 in response to increasing concerns among scientists and the public that human activities could be causing significant declines in some species of marine mammals. The Act established a national policy to manage our activities with the goal of maintaining healthy populations of marine mammals as functioning members of the ocean ecosystem.
Under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, our scientific research has taught us much about marine mammal biology, behaviors, and perhaps most importantly about how their health mirrors the health of our ocean. We have accomplished much in the past 40 years, though we still have a lot to do and learn.
You have a role in the conservation and protection of marine mammals and endangered species. Contact your local NOAA Fisheries regional office, state wildlife agency, or tribal wildlife agency to find out how you can help.