The Marine Mammal Commission’s mission, as defined by the US Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), is to ensure that global marine mammal populations are restored and maintained as significant functioning elements of healthy marine ecosystems.
However, the dynamic nature of ecosystems can make attaining this challenging goal, particularly in the context of understanding and adapting to global climate change.
The basic driver of climate change in the global ocean is increasing atmospheric carbon which results in changes such as increased ocean temperatures, ocean acidification, changing currents, loss of sea ice, and increased fresh-water discharge. These changes result in both abiotic (eg, sea-level rise) and biotic (eg, food web) ecosystem responses.
Climate-change may cause marine mammals to alter their distribution, range, phenology, migration routes, or diet, leading to physiological changes in body condition and health as well as influence individuals’ exposure to predation, pathogens, toxins, and risks associated with human activities (likely also changing in response to ecosystem alterations).
While some climate change effects on marine mammals have been documented, a better understanding of these effects is needed, especially in temperate and tropical regions. Few studies have demonstrated population-level impacts on abundance or vital rates due to climate change. Moreover, mitigation of climate-induced threats to marine mammals is increasingly needed, yet identification of approaches remains challenging.
The Marine Mammal Commission is seeking proposals for projects that:
- Further the understanding of how climate change affects, either directly or indirectly, the reproductive performance, survivorship, abundance, or vital rates of marine mammals.
- Advance scien ce-based conservation interventions or management strategies to mitigate climate-change induced threats to marine mammals. Ideally, such approaches should be transferable across species and / or locations.
- Funding requests are limited to $ 50,000 USD.
- Applicants from both within the US as well as outside the US are eligible to apply (including both non-US citizens and those affiliated with non-US institutions).
For more information, visit https://www.mmc.gov/grants-and-research-survey/current-funding-opportunities/