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Harriman Expedition Retraced

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Kathryn Frost

Marine Mammologist


Kathryn Frost

Kathryn Frost in 1999, studying harbor seals in Prince William Sound, Alaska.
Kathryn Frost first became interested in marine life when she was a child visiting her grandparents in Maine. As a graduate student in California she studied invertebrate sea animals. It was not until she moved to Alaska that she began to study mammals. Her first studies there investigated the feeding habits of seals in Alaska. She was hired for this study, not because she knew about seals, but because she knew about the sea creatures the seals were likely to eat.

She has studied feeding habits among ringed, harbor and spotted seals, and the feeding habits of beluga whales. Her field studies in Alaska can keep her away from home from four to six weeks in the summer, during which time she lives aboard a ship, studying ice seals on the Bering Sea. She also makes shorter research trips to Prince William sound to tag seals with radar for study, and to do aerial surveys of Alaskan seals, beluga whales and walruses. Her research on seals has been essential to the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Council's assessment of environmental damage in Prince William Sound and the Gulf of Alaska.

Frost is an affiliate faculty member of the University of Alaska, and a researcher with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. She is also a champion dog sled racer. In 1999, she won her fifth straight Women's World Championship race in Anchorage. She is an officer with Pride, an organization devoted to the well being of sled dogs.

To learn more about marine mammals, Frost suggests The Sierra Club Handbook of Seals and Sirenians by Randall Reeves, Brent Stewart and Steve Leatherwood, The Guide to Marine Mammals of Alaska by Kate Wynne, and Marine Mammals of the Eastern North Pacific and Arctic Waters by Delphine Haley. Her own publications include the articles "Monitoring the trends of harbor seals in Prince William Sound, Alaska, after the Exxon Valdez oil spill," and "Killer whales, (Orcinus orca), in the southeast Bering Sea," in Marine Mammal Science.

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For information on the Harriman Retraced Expedition e-mail: harriman2001@science.smith.edu

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