Gay Sheffield

Marine Advisory Program Agent, Nome

(907) 443-2397

Contact Gay

Bio page

Marine Advisory Program
400 East Front Street
Nome, AK 99762

Gay Sheffield


Marine ecology, marine mammals, subsistence harvest of marine resources, foraging ecology and diet.


  • B.S. Environmental Conservation, University of New Hampshire
  • M.S. Marine Biology, University of Alaska Fairbanks


More than 20 years' experience as a marine mammal biologist working on multispecies marine mammal projects, often among coastal communities in western and northern Alaska, primarily in the Bering Strait region.


  • Arctic Institute
  • Society for Marine Mammalogy

Selected publications

  • Stimmelmayr, R. and G. Sheffield. 2022.  Traditional conservation methods and food habits in the Arctic. Pages 469-501 In: Tryland, M. (eds) Arctic One Health. Springer, Cham. 573pp.
  • Sheffield, G., A. Ahmasuk, F. Ivanoff, A. Noongwook, and J. Koonooka, 2021. 2020 Foreign Marine Debris Event – Bering Strait. Arctic Report Card 2021, T.A. Moon, M. L. Druckenmiller, R. L. Thoman, Eds.
  • Sheffield, G. and J. C. George. 2020. Diet and Prey. Pages 429-456. In The Bowhead Whale: Biology and Conservation J. G. M. 'Hans' Thewissen and John Craig
    George (eds.), Academic Press. 640pp.
  • Sheffield, G. 2017. Collecting Dead Marine Mammal Parts While Beachcombing. UAF Alaska Sea Grant Pub No.: M-212PDF. 2 pp.
  • Stimmelmayr, R., G.M. Ylitalo, G. Sheffield, K. Beckmen, K. Burek-Huntington, V. Metcalf, and T. Rowles. 2018. Oil Fouling in Three Subsistence-Harvested Ringed (Phoca hispida) and Spotted seals (Phoca largha) from the Bering Strait region, Alaska: Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon Bile and Tissue Levels and Pathological Findings. Marine Pollution Bulletin 130(2018):311-323.
  • George, J.C., G. Sheffield, D.J. Reed, B. Tudor, R. Stimmelmayr, B.T. Person, T. Sformo, and R. Suydam. 2017. Frequency of injuries from line entanglements, killer whales, and ship strikes on Bering-Chukchi-Beaufort Seas bowhead whales. Arctic 70(1):37–46.
  • Lefebvre, K., L. Quakenbush, E. Frame, K. Huntington, G. Sheffield, R. Stimmelmayr, A. Bryan, P. Kendrick, H. Ziel, T. Goldstein, J. Snyder, T. Gelatt, F. Gulland, B. Dickerson, and V. Gill. 2016. Prevalence of algal toxins in Alaskan marine mammals foraging in a changing arctic and subarctic environment. Harmful Algae 55 (2016) 13–24.
  • Bodenstein, B., K. Beckmen, G. Sheffield, K. Kuletz, C. Van Hemert, B. Berlowski, and V. Shearn-Boschler. 2015. Avian cholera causes marine bird mortality in the Bering Sea of Alaska. Long Letter. Journal of Wildlife Diseases Vol.51, No. 4, (October 2015) pp. 934–937.
  • Reeves, R., C. Rosa, J.C. George, G. Sheffield, and M. Moore. 2012. Implications of Arctic industrial growth and strategies to mitigate future vessel and fishing gear impacts on bowhead whales. Marine Policy 36:454–462.
  • Moore, S.E., J.C. George, G. Sheffield, J. Bacon, and C.J. Ashjian. 2010. Bowhead whale distribution and feeding near Barrow, Alaska, in late summer 2005–06. Arctic 63(2):195–205.
  • Sheffield, G., and J.M. Grebmeier. 2009. Pacific walrus (Odobenus rosmarus divergens): Differential prey digestion and diet. Marine Mammal Science 25(4):761–777.
  • Dehn, L.A., G.G. Sheffield, E.H. Follmann, L.K. Duffy, D.L. Thomas, and T.M. O'Hara. 2007. Feeding ecology of phocid seals and some walruses in the Alaskan and Canadian Arctic as determined by stomach contents and stable isotope analysis. Polar Biology 30(2):167–181.
  • Koski, W.R., J.C. George, G. Sheffield, and M.S. Galginaitis. 2005. Subsistence harvests of bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus) at Kaktovik, Alaska, 1973–2000. J. Cetacean Res. Manage. 7(1):33–37.
  • Lowry, L.F., G. Sheffield, and J.C. George. 2004. Bowhead whale feeding in the Alaskan Beaufort Sea, based on stomach content analysis. J. Cetacean Res. Manage. 6(3):215–223.
  • Simpkins, M.A., L.M. Hiruki-Raring, G. Sheffield, J.M. Grebmeier, and J.L. Bengtson. 2003. Habitat selection by ice-associated pinnipeds near St. Lawrence Island, Alaska, in March 2001. Polar Biology 26(9):577–586.

Other thoughts

The Bering Strait region is the crossroads of marine resources, cultures, countries, and opportunities!

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