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Kate Stafford

Principal Oceanographer

Affiliate Associate Professor, Oceanography





Department Affiliation



2000-present and while at APL-UW

Near real-time underwater passive acoustic monitoring of natural and anthropogenic sounds

Baumgartner, M., K.M. Stafford, and G. Latha, "Near real-time underwater passive acoustic monitoring of natural and anthropogenic sounds," Observing the Oceans in Real Time, R. Venkatesan, A. Tandon, E.A. D'Asaro, and M.A. Atmanand, eds., 203-226 (Singer, 2018).

1 Jan 2018

Occasional acoustic presence of Antarctic blue whales on a feeding ground in southern Chile

Buchan, S.J., R. Hucke-Gaete, K.M. Stafford, and C.W. Clark, "Occasional acoustic presence of Antarctic blue whales on a feeding ground in southern Chile," Mar. Mammal Sci., 34, 220-228, doi:10.1111/mms/12441, 2017.

1 Jan 2018

Projecting marine mammal distribution in a changing climate

Silber, G.K., and 24 others, including K.L. Laidre and K.M. Stafford, "Projecting marine mammal distribution in a changing climate," Front. Mar. Sci., 4, 413, doi:10.3389/fmars.2017.00413, 2017.

More Info

20 Dec 2017

Climate-related shifts in marine mammal range and distribution have been observed in some populations; however, the nature and magnitude of future responses are uncertain in novel environments projected under climate change. This poses a challenge for agencies charged with management and conservation of these species. Specialized diets, restricted ranges, or reliance on specific substrates or sites (e.g., for pupping) make many marine mammal populations particularly vulnerable to climate change. High-latitude, predominantly ice-obligate, species have experienced some of the largest changes in habitat and distribution and these are expected to continue. Efforts to predict and project marine mammal distributions to date have emphasized data-driven statistical habitat models. These have proven successful for short time-scale (e.g., seasonal) management activities, but confidence that such relationships will hold for multi-decade projections and novel environments is limited. Recent advances in mechanistic modeling of marine mammals (i.e., models that rely on robust physiological and ecological principles expected to hold under climate change) may address this limitation. The success of such approaches rests on continued advances in marine mammal ecology, behavior, and physiology together with improved regional climate projections. The broad scope of this challenge suggests initial priorities be placed on vulnerable species or populations (those already experiencing declines or projected to undergo ecological shifts resulting from climate changes that are consistent across climate projections) and species or populations for which ample data already exist (with the hope that these may inform climate change sensitivities in less well observed species or populations elsewhere). The sustained monitoring networks, novel observations, and modeling advances required to more confidently project marine mammal distributions in a changing climate will ultimately benefit management decisions across time-scales, further promoting the resilience of marine mammal populations.

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In The News

Researcher listens to learn about ocean's health

KCAW Radio (Sitka, AK), Katherine Rose

Whale watching is a popular pastime in Alaska, but what about whale listening? Dr. Kate Stafford does it for a living. She’s been in Sitka this November for the Science in Residency Fellowship, and on a winter day recently she took a group out on the water to try to capture some sounds, and songs, from some of Sitka’s most vocal creatures. (Photo: Angie Bowers)

1 Dec 2017

Arctic ballad

The Planet Magazine, Keiko Betcher

Seattle scientist Kate Stafford listens to whale songs to measure how melting sea ice affects mammals in the Arctic.

16 Mar 2017

Arctic sea ice loss impacts beluga whale migration

UW News and Information, Michelle Ma

The annual migration of some beluga whales in Alaska is altered by sea ice changes in the Arctic, while other belugas do not appear to be affected.

5 Jan 2017

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Acoustics Air-Sea Interaction & Remote Sensing Center for Environmental & Information Systems Center for Industrial & Medical Ultrasound Electronic & Photonic Systems Ocean Engineering Ocean Physics Polar Science Center