Satellite Tagging And National Collaboration

The Pacific Marine Mammal Center is fortunate to receive grant and foundation funding that allows us to satellite tag and track some of our released animals. Tags can provide us with important information: the movements and location of the animal, dive data (the depth and length of the dive), water temperature and salinity of the water. Other satellite tags just record the animal’s location. This scientific information is invaluable to our research regarding post-release monitoring, and provides PMMC with a small window into the intricate lives of our patients in their natural environment.

Each year, 6 to 8 animals are satellite-tagged and released by PMMC. The tracking device, either a splash or spot tag linked to wildlife computers, sends a signal for approximately 80 days to researchers at PMMC and to Robert DiGiovanni of the Atlantic Marine Conservation Society, our collaborating research organization, for analysis. Mr. DiGiovanni serves as Pacific Marine Mammal Center's chief scientist.

PMMC wishes to thank all of our satellite tag supporters for their contributions towards this project. If you would like to become involved in our post-release monitoring program please read about our Citizens of Science program. If you would like to sponsor a satellite tag, please email Keith Matassa, PMMC’s Executive Director, at

PMMC is teaming up with Dr. Tracy Goldstein at the One Health Institute/ Wildlife Health Center at UC Davis Veterinary School, as well as Dr. Wendy Puryear at Tufts Cummings Veterinary Medicine. Veterinarians and Scientist at PMMC are researching the prevalence of diseases of concern, such as Morbillivirus (distemper), Brucella, Leptospirosis and Influenza in all the patients at PMMC.

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National Stranding Network

Pacific Marine Mammal Center is an active member of the National Stranding Network. One of PMMC's network partners is Mystic Aquarium, located in Mystic, Connecticut. Mystic Aquarium’s Animal Rescue Clinic has been rescuing marine animals along 1,000 miles of the Northeastern coastline since 1975. Working closely with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries Service and other government agencies, the Mystic Aquarium Animal Rescue Team responds to an average of 30 stranding calls each year while also providing support to other stranding facilities in New England and even California- based facilities such as Pacific Marine Mammal Center. As part of this nation-wide collaboration, PMMC and Mystic are sharing satellite tracking data between the East and West coast facilities as a means to enhance scientific understanding about and understand seal and sea lion behavior.

The scientific team for the 2016 gray seal pup studies includes researchers from NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC) and the National Marine Mammal Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Duke University, Mystic Aquarium, New England Aquarium, Marine Mammals of Maine, University of Connecticut, National Park Service, National Marine Life Center, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution/Northwest Atlantic Seal Research Consortium, and the International Fund for Animal Welfare. Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge is operated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

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Seafood Watch

The Pacific Marine Mammal Center is a proud member of the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch® program. As a conservation partner, it is our responsibility to assure that the seals sea lions and sea turtles are being fed sustainably caught fish. We are also committed to collaborating with other Laguna Beach businesses for a partnership aimed at raising local consumer, restaurateur, and seafood industry awareness of the importance of acquiring seafood from sustainable sources. PMMC provide regional support for the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch® program.

You can take conservation action by:

  • Being a sustainable seafood savvy diner. Support local restaurants that are committed to promoting and serving sustainable seafood. For a complete list of current Partner Restaurants, visit the Aquarium of the Bay’s website. Using the Seafood Watch app or website.

  • Download the Seafood Watch app for iPhone or Android for the most current recommendations or visit the Seafood Watch website for detailed reports on the science behind their recommendations.

  • Utilize the recipes found on the seafood watch app to explode the taste of your sustainably caught dinner.


The Oiled Wildlife Care Network (OWCN) was established in 1994 by the Department of Fish and Game’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response (OSPR) in response to Exxon Valdez and the American Trader oil spills. OWCN is administered by the UC David Wildlife Health Center in the School of Veterinary Medicine. PMMC has been registered with the OWCN as a member organization since 1995. We are actively sending staff and volunteers to trainings through the OWCN, in order to better prepare for oil spill response. OWCN focuses on four core areas to offer the best rehabilitation methods for oil-affected wildlife: Readiness, Response, Research, and Reaching Out. For more information on the OWCN, please visit OWCN.