NOAA Fisheries conducts various research activities on the biology, behavior, and ecology of the northern elephant seal. The results of this research are used to inform management decisions and ensure stable population levels for this species.

Population/Stock Assessments

Determining the number of northern elephant seals in each population—and whether a stock is increasing or decreasing over time—helps resource managers assess the success of enacted conservation measures. Our scientists collect information and present these data in annual stock assessment reports. [link to northern elephant seal stock assessment reports]

Additional Research

Scientists in our Marine Mammal Laboratory conduct wide-ranging research on the biology, life history, and health of northern elephant seals including:

  • Vital rates (survival and reproduction).

  • Distribution and migration.

  • Diet/foraging ecology.

  • Threats such as disease, contaminants,and entanglement.

Learn about our northern elephant seal research


Northern elephant seal cools off in the sun with cold sand. Photo: NOAA Fisheries/Eric Boerner.