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John Bengtson, Dr.


Division Director


Marine Mammal Laboratory





Marine Mammal Laboratory
Alaska Fisheries Science Center/NOAA
7600 Sand Point Way N.E.
Seattle, WA 98115-6349

Current Activities

John Bengtson is Director of the Marine Mammal Laboratory, Alaska Fisheries Science Center. In addition to providing leadership for MML's research programs, his personal research interests focus on trying to understand the natural variation in interactions among high-latitude marine mammals, birds, and their environment. Since 1996, John has been an affiliate associate professor at the University of Washington's School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences. He is currently Co-Chair of the U.S./Russia Marine Mammal Working Group, an intergovernmental organization that has promoted collaboration and coordination of research between the two countries since the early 1970s.


John is trained as a wildlife ecologist, having earned a Ph.D. (manatees) and M.S. (crabeater seals) from the University of Minnesota, as well as a B.A. in biology and conservation at Carthage College, Wisconsin. John joined the National Marine Mammal Laboratory in 1984, after completing a 2-year post-doctoral stint with the British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge. He has studied wildlife in Alaska (ringed, bearded, spotted, ribbon, and harbor seals; northern fur seals; sea otters; Arctic fox), and Antarctica (crabeater, leopard, Weddell, and Ross seals; Antarctic fur seals; penguins). He has published more than 50 peer-reviewed publications on marine mammals and birds.

John has been active in international treaty and research organizations concerned with Arctic and Antarctic wildlife research and conservation. He has served on U.S. governmental delegations to meetings of the Arctic Council's CAFF Working Group, U.S./Russia Environmental Agreement, Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Treaty, and Antarctic Seals Convention; he has been convener of several international scientific research groups focused on polar issues (e.g. SCAR Group of Specialists on Seals, CCAMLR Ecosystem Monitoring Working Group); and he was elected to the Board of Governors of the Society for Marine Mammalogy.

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