Category Archives: President’s Blog

Submit your nominations for the 2023 SMM Fellows

The SMM Fellows Program is now accepting nominations. From our Constitution, a Fellow is a member who is being recognized by the Society and its membership as having “rendered conspicuous service or made truly notable contributions to the advancement and diffusion of the knowledge of marine mammal science or the fostering of its practical applications through conservation of marine mammals”. A nomination for advancement to Fellow is appropriate for any current Full member of the SMM after that individual has been a Full member for a minimum of five years.

If you are a current SMM member, you may nominate an eligible SMM member as a Fellow. We ask that you submit a complete dossier, described in detail below, to the Fellows Nomination web page by 18 November 2023. The dossier must be uploaded to the Fellows Nomination web page as a single .pdf document.

If you have any questions about the nomination process, please reach out to the Co-Chairs of the Fellows Committee, our Members-at-Large:

Cindy Peter and Dipani Sutaria (

For any technical questions regarding the online application, please email

Thank you in advance for your nominations!

Best regards,

Cindy Peter and Dipani Sutaria

Financial Update from SMM

Hi All,

Hard to believe another few months has passed since the last (April) newsletter. As indicated then, a key focus of the Board has been taking stock of the impacts of the last few years on the Society’s financial situation (e.g., COVID, year delay of the Florida conference, stock market performance). Our Treasurer, Dee Allen, has been tirelessly working with our former Treasurer Katie Moore, Marsha Flood from Talley Management Group (who manage the Society’s accounts), Danette Harfst from Harfst and Associates (who manage the Society’s investments), and other committee chairs and myself to assess and summarise the SMM’s financial situation over the last four years, as well as our expected revenue and expenses through to the end of 2023. This was presented to the Board at our recent Board Meeting (6 July).

To summarise briefly, the operating budget of the Society has run at a net loss over the last four years and is expected to do so again in 2023 (~$1M operating loss over five years). To cover these losses, we have had to successively draw down on the unrestricted funds in the Society’s investment portfolio (i.e. liquidate assets). On current projected expenses and revenue, there will be no unrestricted funds remaining by this time next year.

As the Small Grants-in-Aid of Research (SGIAR) program is funded through these unrestricted funds, we cannot launch the 2023 round until financial issues are addressed. As the Society’s ‘named’ and Conservation awards are funded through the Society’s restricted investment funds (that can only be paid out to awardees), they have remained largely unaffected by the Society’s cash-flow issues, but of course are subject to fluctuations in the stock market. With the downturn in the stock market in 2022, a decision was made to delay the Conservation fund call-for-proposals until mid-2024.

The Board will reconvene in a month to develop a financial plan and strategy to address the current situation. At its most basic, this will need to include a strategy to minimise our current losses, grow and diversify our revenue base, and grow our unrestricted funds back to a point where they are investments with a spending policy (i.e., not to be continuously drawn down). We will keep the membership informed of the steps we will be taking to improve the financial situation of the Society.

One immediate way our Society can improve its bottom line is to encourage all lapsed members to renew their membership. Current membership is running at about 70% of what it usually is. (If you are receiving this newsletter, your membership is currently active. An early renewal of your membership will be added onto your existing membership.) We will be initiating a mail-out shortly to encourage renewal of memberships, so if you have friends or colleagues whose memberships have lapsed, please encourage them to re-join! If you are a longtime member, please consider becoming a lifetime member of the Society to save yourself money over time and to help the Society through this challenging time.

On a more positive note, I want to thank all the members who participated in the recent SMM Science Communication meeting. Over the coming weeks we hope that this re-badged ad-hoc social media committee will begin to develop a strategy to consolidate and improve the coordination of the Society’s various scientific communication platforms and products (e.g., web pages, e-mails, social media, podcasts, conferences, and the broader virtual environment) with a dedicated team who are innovative and media savvy. The intent will be for the committee to help us more strategically and consistently communicate the work being done by our committees, garner more attention from the general public about our work and the work we support. It is hoped this can be part of the solution to broadening the financial support for our Society (support through sponsors, donations, legacy giving, etc)!

More good news – the Perth 2024 SMM Conference Team continue to advance conference planning and I am pleased to announce a sneak preview of the Perth 2024 SMM logo below! The official conference launch with website and prospectus is anticipated to occur in the next couple of months, so stay tuned!

Thanks again to my SMM team and to all our members for their contributions to our field. Our Society remains strong!


Simon Goldsworthy
President, Society for Marine Mammalogy

Small Grants in Aid of Research 2023 Program Postponed

Dear Colleagues,

The Society has incurred significant financial losses due to COVID, the delayed biennial conference and additional costs. Therefore, we cannot launch the 2023 Small Grants-in-Aid of Research (SGIAR) program until financial issues are addressed.

We understand the importance of this program to our early career colleagues worldwide, and we are working very hard to make sure the program continues.

Laura May-Collado
Chair of the Committee of Scientific Advisors
Simon Goldsworthy
President of the Society

Signing off as your President

Aloha SMM Community-

Welcome to 2023!  With the new year comes the transition to our new SMM Board. There is a lot of change to the Board this year which should bring fresh ideas and new energy.  Your new Board is as follows:

Simon Goldsworthy, President
Daniel Palacios, President-Elect (elected 2022)
Jeremy Kiszka, Secretary (elected 2022)
Dee Allen, Treasurer (elected 2022)
Cindy Peter, Senior Member-at-Large
Dipani Sutaria, Member-at-Large
Ayça Eleman, Student Member-at-Large
Theresa Tatom-Naecker, Student Member-at-Large
Sophia Volzke, Student Member-at-Large (elected 2022)
Clinton Factheu, Student Member-at-Large (elected 2022, starts staggered term in 1 year)

Your committee chairs:
Katharina Peters, Nominations and Elections (Started 2023)
Nico Ransome, Membership (Started 2023)
Eric Archer, Diversity and Inclusion (Full committee by vote in 2022)
Eduardo Secchi, Conservation
Laura May-Collado, Committee of Scientific Advisors
Lucy Keith-Diagne, International Relations
Mridula Srinivasan, Education Committee
Lindsay Porter,  Awards and Scholarships
Daryl Boness, Board of Editors
Karen Stockin, Ethics Advisory
Patty Rosel, Taxonomy
Doug Wartzok, Archives (ad hoc)

Congratulations to our newest board members and thank you in advance  to the entire board for all the great work you will do for our community.  Thank you to the officers and committee chairs who are stepping down from their Board service: Katie Moore (Treasurer), Tara Cox (Secretary),  Cecile Vincent (Member-at-Large), Eric Angel Ramos (Student Member-at-Large), Chris Parsons (Membership), and Emer Rogan (Nominations and Elections).  They have all served you incredibly well in their positions and deserve a thank you and maybe a glass of wine  or beer at the next conference.

Other Ballot Results
I alluded to it above but I am excited to report that there was incredibly strong support for transitioning our Diversity and Inclusion Committee from ad hoc status to a full committee.  The D&I Committee has done great work under the leadership of Eric Archer and Tara Cox. This work will no doubt continue but the committee chair will now have an important vote for broader Society business as well.
Even though we are only 5 months out from our great Palm Beach conference the Perth team is already deep into the planning for 2024.  And now we know where we will go in 2026!  By a quite considerable margin, Puerto Rico was chosen by the membership to host our 2026 meeting.  Venue and hotel selection has already launched for Puerto Rico 2026.

Aloha, a hui hou
With the coming of the new year comes the end of my role on the SMM Board as well.  The last 4.5 years as President-Elect and President have been incredibly challenging and rewarding.  Despite the challenges and disruptions presented by COVID we have advanced on so many fronts.  We continued our tradition of supporting marine mammal science around the globe with our Small Grants in Aid of Research and the inaugural round of Conservation Fund Grants. Through great work by our conservation fund manager and generous donations from members we were able to fund more conservation awards than we had planned.

We also continued to expand our scientific communication.  Our SMM podcast, guided by Chris Parsons and Ashley Scarlet continues to go strong and increase listenership around the world.  The Editors’ Select Series has turned into a popular showcase of some of the most interesting science from the journal and provides an opportunity for students to engage with leading scientists.  I thank Katherina Audley and Daryl Boness for helping establish the program and for our Student Members-at-Large for taking it over and sustaining it.

We also made important strides in terms of equity and inclusion.  There is still a long way to go but we were able to establish a program to assist authors for whom English is a second language to remove barriers to publication in Marine Mammal Science.  We proposed and you supported the establishment of equitable, income-based membership rates.  We held a series of important conversations on women in marine mammal science, inclusive spaces for queer scientists, research challenges in Asia, and equity in internships.  To increase global access to our biennial meeting we supported a hybrid conference and waived the cost of registration for anyone that needed support.

Despite seemingly insurmountable odds at times, our SMM conference team was able to pull off a great conference in West Palm Beach.  Thank you a thousand times over to everyone that was involved in planning SMM2021…then SMM2022!  You helped usher in a new future for our meetings.

All of the above was done on top of all of the other work our committees are doing on a variety of fronts – supporting students and international researchers, creating education materials, engaging in conservation challenges around the globe, and so much more. The SMM Board has my deepest gratitude for their creativity, thoughtfulness and tireless efforts to continue this hard work when each of them was facing their own struggles over the years.  MAHALO to Katherina Audley and Jarrett Corke, two wonderful partners in crime, who are heroes behind the scenes to make all of this stuff happen. And thanks to you, our SMM membership, for the work you do in marine mammal science and for your support and engagement in our Society.

A world dramatically turned on its head during a pandemic and social/political unrest was not what any of us had in mind when we took on these roles but I still leave proud of the work that this team did for our Society.  I wish the next Board the best of luck and as always, encourage each and every one of you to find a way to get involved to help shape the future of the SMM.  Thanks for trusting me with the responsibility for the past half-a-decade or so.  Time for a long nap!

Officially signing off! Be safe and well.


Marine Mammal Science Journal Pilot Program to Offer ESL Assistance for Likely to be Accepted Manuscripts

The Society for Marine Mammalogy has created a Marine Mammal Science pilot program to cover the cost of editing for the quality of English for authors for which English is not their primary language (ESL – English as a second language). For an author who meets this condition, and whose paper is likely to become acceptable for publication, as determined by the Editor-in-Chief, he/she will be notified of the opportunity to request that their paper be edited for the quality of English and clarity. If requested and approved, once the paper is at the stage of minor revision, the Editor-in-Chief will have an editor proofread the paper for English and clarity within 6 days, and provide a file within 6 days of receiving the paper. In editing the paper, if any editing inadvertently changes the meaning of something, the author can correct the edit and let the EIC know. The cost for this editing will be covered by the Society for Marine Mammalogy and will be managed by the EIC. This pilot program has been funded for up to $20,000 for an initial year.

It is possible that papers for which the English is sufficiently poor to understand content upon initial submission might be returned to the author for improvement to a level where content is sufficiently clear for reviewers to follow. Reviewers will be instructed to ignore the quality of English in their review as long as it does not impede their ability to understand the substance of the paper. If you have any questions about the program, contact the Editor-in-Chief.

Cast your vote on SMM Board Leadership, 2026 Conference Venues and Diversity and Inclusion Committee

Dear Members,

Our September 2022 ballot is now live on our website. All current members should log in and vote on several important pieces of Society business. This is your time to help select the SMM Leadership for the next several years, determine where the 2026 Biennial conference will take place and whether to make the Ad hoc Diversity and Inclusion Committee a formal standing committee.

The ballot will be open for 3 weeks. We hope that all members will take part in shaping the future of the Society.

Here is the link to the ballot:

The ballot will close at 3:00 PM EST on Thursday, 13 October 2022.

Best wishes,
Emer Rogan
Nominations and Elections Committee Chair

SMM 2026 Conference Location Options

Greetings SMM Members!

We are just past a very successful SMM 2022 in West Palm Beach, USA and in the process for gearing up for SMM 2024 in Perth, Australia.

We must now cast our gaze to 2026 and decide where our community will meet to discuss all things marine mammals. We will decide our 2026 venue in the upcoming SMM ballot, and this page is intended to provide additional information to help inform your vote. Our four proposed venues are San Juan (Puerto Rico), Portland (Oregon, USA), Vancouver and Montréal (Canada).  All four are great destinations with facilities to match, for a great conference. So please check out the information below and then vote for the venue that both entices you and offers up the opportunity for the most inclusive conference for our SMM community. And keep checking back as information will be updated regularly in the coming weeks!

SMM 2026 Biennial Conference San Juan (Puerto Rico) Portland (Oregon, USA) Vancouver (Canada) Montréal (Canada)
Relative Estimated Registration Cost¹ Similar or possibly less than previous conferences Similar or possibly less than previous conferences Similar or possibly more than previous conferences Similar or possibly more than previous conferences
Accommodation Range $USD² $189-249 $152-239 $218-334 $155-171
Average Cost³ Meals Per Day $USD $28 $37 $27 $32
Average flight costs ($USD) from4:

  • LA
  • Dallas
  • Chicago
  • Washington DC
  • London
  • Frankfurt
  • Tokyo
  • Cape Town
  • Sydney
  • Singapore
  • Hong Kong
  • Sao Paulo

























































Convention rental and F& B cost5 $243,956 $211,111 $307,148 $261,731
Proposed Conference Dates 2-10 October 4-12, 11-19 December 30 Oct – 7 Nov 4-12 December


¹ This estimate is based on projected venue and other conference associated costs (see 5 below) from 2022 conferences.

² Accommodation costs are based on double occupancy rates provided by the hotels that will most likely be supporting the conference venue. These don’t include any hostels, vacation rentals, or other options available to conference participants. Estimates in $USD.

³ These rates are the average of multiple travel sites and based on simple meals and not medium-higher end restaurants so should be considered a MINIMUM likely cost.

4 This was calculated in $USD using Google Flights on September 14, 2022 and searching fares between city pairs for proposed conference months and days and averaging the best 4-8 departing flights per Google.

5 Based on 800 people attending and similar menus to 2022 and average comparable food and beverage pricing

San Juan, Puerto Rico

San Juan, Puerto Rico’s capital and largest city, sits on the island’s Atlantic coast. Its widest beach fronts the Isla Verde resort strip, known for its bars, nightclubs and casinos. Cobblestoned Old San Juan features colorful Spanish colonial buildings and 16th-century landmarksWith modern conference facilities a turquoise ocean, rainforests to hike, explore and zip­line, it offers many choices for the potential conference attendee. No passports required for U.S. citizens.


Portland (Oregon, USA)

Portland, Oregon’s largest city, sits on the Columbia and Willamette rivers, in the shadow of snow-capped Mount Hood. It’s known for its parks, bridges and bicycle paths, as well as for its eco-friendliness and its microbreweries and coffeehouses. The convention center has a focus on sustainability (platinum rating in the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED certification program) and had been recently renovated.

Vancouver (Canada)

Vancouver is a west coast seaport in British Columbia, is among Canada’s densest, most ethnically diverse cities. A popular filming location, it’s surrounded by mountains, and also has thriving art, theatre and music scenes. Vancouver Art Gallery is known for its works by regional artists, while the Museum of Anthropology houses preeminent First Nations collections. The award-winning Vancouver Convention Centre is located on Vancouver’s waterfront with a dramatic mountain backdrop, and convenient access to all the major visitor amenities in the downtown core.

Montréal (Canada)

Montréal is the largest city in Canada’s Québec province. It’s set on an island in the Saint Lawrence River and named after Mt. Royal, the triple-peaked hill at its heart. Its boroughs, many of which were once independent cities, include neighbourhoods ranging from cobblestoned, French colonial Vieux-Montréal – with the Gothic Revival Notre-Dame Basilica at its centre – to bohemian Plateau. The Montréal Convention Centre (Palais des congrès de Montréal) is located in the heart of a city known for its energy, joie de vivre and forward-thinking spirit. The Palais is described as a carbon-neutral architectural masterpiece that houses multipurpose facilities suitable for events of all sizes.


Experiences of Women in Marine Mammal Science webinar available on YouTube

The recording of the July 19, 2022 webinar on the Experiences of Women in Marine Mammal Science is now available for viewing on the Society for Marine Mammalogy YouTube channel. Please send any questions or comments to the SMM ad hoc Diversity and Inclusion Committee at or WIMMS at:

Twitter: @womeninmmsci
Hashtag: #womeninmmsci

The Passing of Dr. William “Bill” Perrin

Earlier this month the marine mammal scientific community said goodbye to Dr. Bill Perrin.  For many of us on the SMM Board, past and present, Bill was a valued friend and colleague who gave so much to the Society.  His contributions to the SMM were many and only outdone by his scientific contributions to the broader marine mammal field.  The team at NMFS’ Southwest Fisheries Science Center wrote a beautiful remembrance for him.  Rather than recreate it, we thought it best to share it here.

Thank you to Bill for everything he gave to the SMM.  It was an honor to serve with him.

The SMM Board of Governors

Remembering Bill Perrin

It is with deep sadness that we report the passing of Dr. William F. Perrin on July 11, 2022 at the age of 83.

Starting in the late 1960’s, as a student of Ken Norris and Carl Hubbs, Bill began conducting what would become critical early research on dolphins killed in the eastern Tropical Pacific tuna purse-seine fishery. His work highlighted the growing problems in this fishery, which in turn was influential issues leading to the enactment of the US Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972. Additionally, the rigor and scope of his pioneering work on the taxonomy, life history, population ecology, and behavior of these species has raised the bar for all future studies. Bill can truly be considered the father of modern marine mammal taxonomy.

It is impossible to accurately convey the ways Bill has instrumentally changed and guided the field of marine mammal science. He has served as a president of the Society for Marine Mammalogy, chair of the SMM International Relations Committee, and founder of the SMM Taxonomy Committee. He has been an editor of Marine Mammal Science, associate editor of the Journal Mammalogy, editor of the Encyclopedia of Marine Mammals along with Bernd Würsig and Hans Thewissen, and editor of the World Cetacean Database. Over several decades, he has been a leader of critical cetacean conservation work done with many national committees like of Committee of Scientific Advisors, Marine Mammal Commission and international organizations such as the IUCN Cetacean Specialist Group and their Red List and the Scientific Committee of the IWC and the Scientific Committee of the CMS. He is also known for his work with numerous regional organizations, particularly his studies and capacity building in southeast Asia and western Africa. He and his wife, Dr. Louella Dolar, extensively studied cetaceans around the Philippines, and lobbied for their continued conservation.

For almost 50 years, Bill had a celebrated career at the NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center, where he served as a Senior Scientist for much of that time. He was also an adjunct Professor at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UCSD and the University of Washington. Bill’s publication record is awe-inspiring. He not only wrote and co-authored hundreds of papers, but also edited many important books and special journal issues.

The students, coworkers, and colleagues around the world who have had the pleasure to be mentored by and work closely with Bill have all enjoyed not only his remarkable and organized mind, but also his passion for the work and unique sense of humor. Those who knew him well understood that his gruff exterior was only a thin cover for a man who was overly generous with his time and resources. He would regularly go out of his way to provide help to aspiring biologists, many of whom would later become friends.  The field of marine mammalogy has lost one of its most influential and important scientists and leaders.

We offer our love and support to his family in these difficult times. We take some comfort in the knowledge that his legacy will live on in all of us whose lives he has touched. We will miss him terribly.

In remembrance of Bill, a memorial service was held for him in San Diego, CA on Sunday, August 7th. A video of Bill Perrin’s memorial is available at and includes the short portion of the reception that followed. The film will be available online for one year. 

Eric Archer, Lisa Ballance, Bob Brownell, Jr., Tom Jefferson, Sarah Mesnick

2022-2023 Small Grants in Aid of Research Program Now Accepting Applications

The Society for Marine Mammalogy would like to inform eligible members (see below) that this year’s Small Grants in Aid of Research application window is now open. Applications will be accepted during the entire month of June. The Committee of Scientific Advisors will review applications and make recommendations on funding with decisions announced in early September 2022. The awards are up to US $2,000. Up to 25% of the budget may be used as stipend. All three of the following eligibility requirements must be met:

1. Be a member of the Society for Marine Mammalogy.

2. Be a national of any country not on this Excluded Country List: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and United States.

Preference is given to early career researchers such as students and researchers with less than 5 years post-doctoral experience.

3. Be conducting research in a country not on the above Excluded Country List.

The Small Grant web page provides full information, links to past successful applications, a list of recipients from prior years and their completed project reports, and a link to the application itself. Please be mindful of the word limits in the various sections of the application.

Last year 18 of 42 applicants from 12 counties received funding.

For technical questions regarding the online application, please email the Society webmaster at

For all other questions about the grants, please contact:

Laura J. May-Collado
Committee of Scientific Advisors
Society for Marine Mammalogy