Research Fisheries Biologist, Vice President, Center for Cetacean Research & Conservation

Alaska Fisheries Science Center
National Marine Mammal Laboratory
7600 Sand Point Way NE, Building 4
Seattle, WA 98115

tel: (206) 526-4037
fax: (206) 526-6615

Phil Clapham directs research on large whales Alaska Fisheries Science Center in Seattle, Washington. Cornish by birth, he followed a girlfriend to the U.S. in 1980 and somehow never got round to going home. Despite having entered the field of whale biology more or less by accident in 1980, he is now acknowledged as one of the world's leading experts on large whales.

Phil has more than a quarter century of experience with cetaceans, and at one time or another has worked with most species of whales in various places worldwide. Prior to his current position, he worked at the Northeast Fisheries Science Center in Woods Hole, and before that directed a long-term study of individually identified humpback whales at the Center for Coastal Studies in Massachusetts. He is also a Research Associate with the Smithsonian Institution (National Museum of Natural History). Phil holds a Ph.D. in zoology from the University of Aberdeen (Scotland), and has advised several governments and other bodies on whale research and conservation. In his current position, he directs a program of large whale research and advises the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service on science and conservation at levels ranging from local to international. He is also an advisor to several Masters and PhD students (including one Nan Daeschler Hauser!)

Phil edits for three scientific journals (Marine Mammal Science, Mammal Review, and the Royal Society's Biology Letters), and is a member of the U.S. delegation to the International Whaling Commission's Scientific Committee. He has published four books and about a hundred peer-reviewed papers on whales and other cetaceans. A few of these are:


Clapham, P. 2004. Right whales: natural history and conservation. Baxter Press, UK.

Reeves, R.R., Stewart, B.S., Clapham, P.J. & Powell, J.A. 2002. The Audubon Guide to Marine Mammals. Knopf, New York.

Clapham, P. 1996. Humpback whales. Voyageur Press, Stillwater, Minnesota.

Clapham, P. 1997. Whales. Baxter Press, UK.


Clapham, P., Childerhouse, S., Gales, N., Rojas, L., Tillman, M. & Brownell, B. 2006. The whaling issue: Conservation, confusion and casuistry. Marine Policy (in press).

Clapham, P.J. & Link, J. 2006. Whales, whaling and ecosystems in the North Atlantic. In Whales, whaling and ecosystems (ed. J. Estes), pp. 241-250. University of Chicago Press.

Wade, P., Barrett-Lennard, L., Black, N., Brownell, R.L. Jr., Burkanov, V., Burdin, A., Calambokidis, J., Cerchio, S., Dahlheim, M., Ford, J., Friday, N., Fritz, L., Jacobsen, J., Loughlin, T., Lowry, M., Matkin, C., Matkin, D., Mehta, A., Mizroch, S., Muto, M., Rice, D., Siniff, D., Small, R., Steiger, G., Straley, J., Van Blaricom, G. & Clapham, P. 2007. Marine mammal abundance, biomass, and trends in the eastern North Pacific – a reanalysis of evidence for sequential megafauna collapse. Marine Mammal Science 23: 1-67.

Gales, N.J., Kasuya, T., Clapham, P.J. & Brownell, R.L. Jr. 2005. Japan’s whaling plan under scrutiny: useful science or unregulated commercial whaling? Nature 435: 883-884.

Clapham, P.J. 2005. Publish or perish. Bioscience 55: 390-391.

Clapham, P.J., Berggren, P., Childerhouse, S., Friday, N.A., Kasuya, T., Kell, L., Kock, K-H., Manzanilla, S., di Sciara, G.,

Perrin, W.F., Read, A.J., Reeves, R.R., Rogan, E., Rojas-Bracho, L., Smith, T.D., Stachowitsch, M., Taylor, B.L., Thiele, D., Wade, P.R. & Brownell, R.L. Jr. 2003. Whaling as science. Bioscience 53: 210-212.

Baker, C.S. & Clapham, P.J. 2004. Modeling the past and future of whales and whaling. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 19: 365-371.

Clark, C.W. & Clapham, P.J. 2004. Acoustic monitoring on a humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) feeding ground shows continual singing into late spring. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B 271: 1051-1057.

Clapham, P., Good, C., Quinn, S., Reeves, R.R., Scarff, J.E, & Brownell, R.L. Jr. 2004. Distribution of North Pacific right whales (Eubalaena japonica) as shown by 19th and 20th century whaling catch and sighting records. Journal of Cetacean Research and Management 6: 1-6.

Clapham, P.J., Barlow, J., Bessinger, M., Cole, T., Mattila, D., Pace, R., Palka, D.. Robbins, J. & Seton, R. 2003. Abundance and demographic parameters of humpback whales from the Gulf of Maine, and stock definition relative to the Scotian Shelf. Journal of Cetacean Research and Management 5: 13-22.

Clapham, P.J. 2002. Generosity and curiosity of a great scientist: Victor Weisskopf. Nature 417: 788.

When not pursuing whales, Phil's interests include travel, fine wine, Russian women, and spending far too much of his disposable income on old books.



© Center for Cetacean Research and Conservation, 2004-13. All photos © Nan Hauser.
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