Hawaiian Monk Seal on beach Hawaiian Monk Seal face Hawaiian Monk Seal adult and pup on beach

Hawaiian Monk Seal Research

The Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program (HMSRP) works to enhance the recovery of the Hawaiian monk seal by studying their biology, ecology and natural history. The HMSRP monitors and assesses the six main monk seal reproductive subpopulations in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (NWHI) as well as the increasing subpopulation in the main Hawaiian Islands (MHI). In addition, the HMSRP investigates threats to Hawaiian monk seal survival and works to mitigate factors impeding the species recovery. More...


News and Highlights

  • January 20, 2015
    While many were enjoying the New Year's Eve festivities, a medical team (including 2 veterinarians and a human surgeon) performed a lifesaving surgery to remove a swallowed fishhook from 12-year old adult male seal RE74, also known as Benny. RE74 was born on Kauaʻi in 2002 and is most often observed on Oʻahu and occasionally on Molokaʻi. More...
  • November 5, 2014
    After their rehabilitation at Ke Kai Ola (The Marine Mammal Center's monk seal hospital in Kailua-Kona), the very first four patients, 2 weaned pups and 2 yearlings, were returned back to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (NWHI) in early September. More...
  • November 5, 2014
    In 2014, through cooperative support from other agencies, the Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program was able to increase survey effort at Niʻihau and Nihoa Islands which are rarely visited, primarily because of restricted access or limited number of research cruise days available. More...
  • November 5, 2014
    The 2014 Northwestern Hawaiian Island (NWHI) monk seal field season was definitely not typical. In early August, Hurricanes Iselle and Julia posed a serious threat to the safety of our field teams, particularly as most teams live in tents and the islands are low lying with little option to move to higher ground (e.g., the highest elevation at Pearl and Hermes Atoll is 8 feet). More...
  • November 5, 2014
    In spite of the reduced field effort due to the hurricane evacuations, a significant amount of seal survival enhancement activities were accomplished in 2014, particularly during the NOAA ship Oscar Elton Sette research cruise which had multiple objectives in addition to recovering personnel and closing the NWHI monk seal field camps. More...

Recent Staff Publications

  • February 25, 2015
    Range-wide patterns in Hawaiian monk seal movements among islands and atolls
    Johanos TC, Harting AL, Wurth TL, Baker JD
    [2015] U.S. Dept. of Commerce, NOAA Technical Memorandum NOAA-TM-NMFS-PIFSC-44, 26 p
  • November 20, 2014
    Report on Hawaiian monk seal survey on Ni'ihau Island, 2014
    Lopez J, Wurth T, Littnan C
    [2014] Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center, PIFSC Data Report, DR-14-017, 8 p
  • September 9, 2014
    Benefits derived from opportunistic survival-enhancing interventions for the Hawaiian monk seal: the silver BB paradigm
    Harting AL, Johanos TC, Littnan CL
    [2014] Endangered Species Research 25: 89-96. DOI: 10.3354/esr00612
  • July 22, 2014
    Geographic variation of persistent organic pollutants in Hawaiian monk seals Monachus schauinslandi in the main Hawaiian Islands
    Lopez J, Hyrenbach KD, Littnan C, Ylitalo GM
    [2014] Endangered Species Research 24: 249-262. DOI: 10.3354/esr00602
  • January 16, 2014
    Range-wide movement patterns of Hawaiian monk seals
    Johanos TC, Harting AL, Wurth TA, Baker JD
    [2014] Marine Mammal Science 30(3): 1165-1174. DOI: 10.1111/mms.12084
  • December 1, 2013
    Injury determinations for humpback whales and other cetaceans reported to the Pacific Islands Regional Marine Mammal Response Network during 2007-2011
    Bradford AL, Lyman E
    [2013] Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center, PIFSC Working Paper, WP-13-005, 15 p. PSRG-2013-12