Kate Wynne

Professor Emerita and Marine Mammal Specialist, UAF

Kate retired from the University of Alaska in 2015.

Kate Wynne

Focus, Experience, and Expertise

As the Marine Advisory Program's marine mammal specialist and a professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Kate has been involved in the documentation and mitigation of marine mammal interactions with humans throughout the United States for more than two decades.

Since 1988 she has been involved in monitoring marine mammal stocks and documenting their interactions with humans throughout Alaska. She has actively collaborated with a variety of state, federal, and academic researchers to monitor population trends, mortality, and diets of pinnipeds and cetaceans that most directly interact with Alaskan fisheries.

Her current research focuses on assessing prey use by pinnipeds and whales in the Kodiak area, their dietary overlap, and potential for competition with coastal Alaskan fisheries.

In addition to her research involvement, Kate sees outreach and education as key to mitigating marine mammal–human conflicts.

She wrote three marine mammal field identification guides—the Guide to Marine Mammals of Alaska, the Guide to Marine Mammals and Turtles of the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico, and most recently the Guide to Marine Mammals and Turtles of the U.S. Pacific—to increase public awareness and ability to accurately identify marine mammals.


Kate is currently a member of the following advisory committees:

  • NMFS Steller Sea Recovery Team
  • NMFS' Alaska Scientific Review Group
  • NOAA's Marine Fishery Advisory Committee


  • B.S. Wildlife Resources, University of Idaho, Moscow, December 1977
  • M.S. Wildlife Management, University of Maine, Orono, August 1981

Current projects

  • Assessing population trends and dietary intake of Steller sea lion populations along the Western Alaska Peninsula
  • Sightings and samples: a community-based research effort
  • Addressing scientific and coastal community information needs relating to Steller sea lions
  • Gulf Apex Predator-Prey Project: diets and distribution of marine mammals
  • Humpback whale photo-identification and foraging ecology near Kodiak Island
  • Structure of Populations, Levels of Abundance, and Status of Humpbacks in the North Pacific—Steering committee member for western Gulf of Alaska effort

What I do for fun

Fieldwork (working directly with seals, sea lions, and whales), skating, hockey, carpentry