Research Overview

Pacific Whale Foundation researchers work on applied research projects throughout the Pacific Ocean which support conservation and management outcomes. Since 1980 our researchers  have published over 100 peer-reviewed publications, reports, and books that have been used to  advance our knowledge and inform better management of whales and dolphins. Our research  efforts and funded projects are focused in Hawaii, Australia, Ecuador and Chile and we work in  collaboration with researchers all over the globe.

The long-term goal of our research program is to identify and assess major threats to whales and dolphins around the world and develop science-based solutions to mitigate these problems.

The major threats facing cetaceans today are vessel traffic, ocean pollution, fisheries interactions, tourism pressure, and climate change. Human  activities affecting whales and dolphins are generally not well understood and the goal of our  research program is to conduct rigorous scientific studies that:

(1) identify the cetaceans present and assess their population trends to determine their  resilience to stressors;

(2) identify and quantify the extent of the threats that exist to these populations;

(3) guide mitigation measures, through enhanced management and/or policy, to protect and conserve the ocean and its inhabitants.



Scientific and Academic Publications

PWF Memberships & Affiliations


Jens Currie

Chief Scientist

Stephanie Stack

Chief Biologist

Dr. Cristina Castro

Ecuador Programs Director

Dr. Barry McGovern

Research Associate, Australia

Dr. Shannon Barber-Meyer

Research Manager, Hawaiʻi

Grace Olson

Research Biologist, Hawaiʻi

Florence Sullivan

Research Analyst, Hawaiʻi

Abigail Machernis

Research Biologist, Hawaiʻi

Elizabeth Beato

Research Assistant, Hawaiʻi

Luna Barragán

Research Assistant, Ecuador


What We Offer

In an effort to build local capacity, we welcome volunteers from the communities where we operate. If you reside in Hawaii, USA; Hervey Bay, Australia; and/or Puerto Lopez, Ecuador and are interested in volunteering with us, please email the research team to inquire about opportunities: [email protected].

Graduate students currently enrolled in a marine program that would like to partner with Pacific Whale Foundation to analyze or collect data should contact us to discuss potential projects.

We also encourage you to visit our careers webpages for Hawaii and Australia to search for paid positions that are available and may be of interest to you.


Hawaii Visitor Update

Aloha, We Are Open!  Our PacWhale Eco-Adventures are open for booking as we welcome visitors back to Maui.  Quarantine restrictions were lifted on Oct. 15th for those following the state’s pre-arrival COVID-19 testing requirements.