Sue E. Moore

Research Scientist
Center for Ecosystem Sentinels, Biology Department, University of Washington


Dr. Sue Moore is a research scientist and Affiliate Professor at the Center for Ecosystem Sentinels in the Biology Department of the University of Washington. She has 40 years of research experience focused on the ecology, bioacoustics, and natural history of whales and dolphins, with most of her work directed toward cetaceans in the Pacific Arctic region. Sue holds a BA in Biology from the University of California, San Diego, a MS in Biology from San Diego State University, and a PhD in Biological Oceanography from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, with a dissertation entitled Cetacean Habitats in the Alaskan Arctic.


Sue worked for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for 20 years, where she served as the Director of the NOAA National Marine Mammal Laboratory and as a Senior Scientist for the NOAA Fisheries Science & Technology Marine Division. From 2008-2012, Sue served as Chair of the Environmental Concerns Working Group of the International Whaling Commission Scientific Committee, and contributed to IWC scientific meetings and workshops from 1987-2017. She currently serves as a Science Advisor to the U. S. Marine Mammal Commission and the NOAA Marine Mammal Unusual Mortality Event (UME) Working Group.


In May 2019, an UME was declared for the northeast Pacific population of gray whales (Eschrichtius robustus), which migrate annually between the Alaskan Arctic and Baja California, Mexico. Given Sue’s experience of an earlier gray whale UME (Moore 2008; Moore et al. 2001*), she has undertaken the role of Investigation Team Leader for ecosystem and oceanographic aspects of the current event. In July 2019, the National Science Foundation awarded a 5-year research grant to continue the work of the Distributed Biological Observatory, a multidisciplinary and international ocean observatory to which Sue has contributed expertise as a Co-Principal Investigator since 2009 (Moore and Grebmeier 2018). Sue has authored/co-authored over 120 peer-reviewed publications. A sampling of recent (and UME-related older*) papers are listed below.


In March 2020, Sue was honored to receive the IASC Medal in recognition of her Outstanding Achievement in Understanding Marine Mammals as Ecosystem Sentinels and How Climate Change is Influencing the Phenology of Arctic Species. IASC Medals are given for exceptional and sustained contributions to the understanding of the Arctic, with only one award is made each year.


Recent Publications:

Moore, S.E. and D.D.W. Hauser. 2019. Marine mammals as indicators of Arctic ecosystem variability: finding common ground between Conventional Science and Indigenous Knowledge. Environmental Research Letters 14.

Moore, S.E. and K.J. Kuletz. 2019. Marine birds and mammals as ecosystem sentinels in and near Distributed Biological Observatory regions: an abbreviated review of published accounts. Deep-Sea Research II, DBO Special Issue 162: 211-217.

Moore, S.E., T. Haug, G.A. Vikingsson, G.B. Stenson. 2019. Baleen whale ecology in Arctic and Subarctic Seas in an era of rapid habitat alteration. Progress in Oceanography 176: 102-118.

Grebmeier, J.M., S.E. Moore, L.W. Cooper, K.E. Frey. 2019. The Distributed Biological Observatory: a change detection array in the Pacific Arctic; Introduction to Deep-Sea Research II, DBO Special Issue 162: 1-5.

Moore, S.E. and R.R. Reeves. 2018. Tracking arctic marine mammal resilience in an era of rapid ecosystem alteration. PLOS Biology 16(10).

Moore, S.E., 2018. Climate Change. pp 194-197 In The Encyclopedia of Marine Mammals, 3rd Edition, B. Würsig, J.G.M. Thewissen, K.M. Kovacs (eds.), Academic Press/Elsevier, San Diego, CA USA.

Moore, S.E. and J.M. Grebmeier. 2018. The Distributed Biological Observatory: linking physics to biology in the Pacific Arctic region. Arctic 71, Suppl 1: 1-7.

Moore, S.E., P.J. Stabeno, T.I. Van Pelt. 2018. The Synthesis of Arctic Research (SOAR) Project Deep-Sea Research II,

Moore, S.E., P.J. Stabeno, J.M. Grebmeier, S. Okkonen. 2018. The Arctic Marine Pulses (AMP) Model: linking temporal processes to contiguous ecological domains in the Pacific Arctic. Deep-Sea Research II,

Moore, S.E. 2016. Is it ‘boom times’ for baleen whales in the Pacific Arctic region? Biology Letters,

*Gray Whale UME-related publications:

Moore, S.E. 2008. Marine mammals as ecosystem sentinels. Journal of Mammalogy 89(3):534-540.

Moore, S.E., J. Urban, W.L. Perryman, F. Gulland, H. Perez-Cortes, P.R. Wade, L. Rojas-Bracho and T. Rowles. 2001. Are gray whales hitting ‘K’ hard? Marine Mammal Science 17(4): 954-958.