Marine Mammal Health Program

The Office of Naval Research Marine Mammal Health program develops science and technology solutions aimed at the detection, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease in bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) and California sea lions (Zalophus californianus) in order to ensure their ongoing health, fitness for duty and overall longevity. 

Program interests currently include, but are not limited to, early detection of marine mammal infectious agents, especially viruses (e.g., high throughput sequencing), and assessment of their impact on individual animal pathology and population health; non-invasive respiratory diagnostics to detect presence and changes of disease states in dolphins; understanding the physiology of aging in dolphins and sea lions (e.g., age-related changes in the immune system, endocrine system, stem cells) and preventing, or managing, the negative consequences of aging; and protective measures against disease (e.g., innate immune system activation, probiotic use, regenerative cell use).


U.S. Navy Marine Mammal Program

Program Contact Information

Name: Dr. Laura Kienker

Title: Program Manager

Department: Code 34

Division: Human and Bioengineered Systems


Office of Naval Research
875 N. Randolph Street
Arlington, Va. 22203

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