Environmental Initiatives



Scott Baker is the associate director of the Marine Mammal Institute and a professor of fisheries and wildlife at Oregon State University in the U.S. Before moving to Oregon State University in 2006, Baker was a professor in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, where he currently maintains an adjunct appointment. Baker’s research includes both molecular and demographic approaches to the basic and applied investigation of evolutionary pattern and process in whales and dolphins, including their abundance, population structure and genetic diversity. His interests in molecular systematics of cetaceans contributed to the discovery of a new species of beaked whale (Mesoplodon perroni) in 2002, the first mammalian species recognized primarily by genetic characters and the first new species of cetacean in 15 years. His work also led to taxonomic revisions of two other beaked whale species (Mesoplodon traversii and Indopacetus pacificus), as well as the species ranking for the ‘tucuxi’ (Sotalia fluviatilis) and ‘Guiana’ (S. guianensis) dolphins. Baker’s investigations of ‘whale meat’ markets in Japan and Korea have contributed to molecular methods for estimating levels of illegal, unreported or unregulated (IUU) exploitation of whales and dolphins. He is currently collaborating on two ocean-wide studies of the population structure and abundance of humpback whales, one in the North Pacific and one in the South Pacific.

Baker is chair of the executive committee of the South Pacific Whale Research Consortium, a non-profit Trust formed in 1999 with the objective to coordinate non-lethal research on whales and dolphins in the South Pacific, and to provide scientific advice to national and international agencies. With 38 active members, the Consortium has initiated studies of whales or dolphins in 12 territories or island nations of the South Pacific and has been active in the designation of several national whale sanctuaries.

Since 1994, Baker has served as a national delegate for New Zealand or for the U.S. to the scientific committee of the International Whaling Commission. He is a member of the Cetacean Specialist Group of IUCN, the Society for Marine Mammal Sciences and the American Genetic Association. In 2001, he was awarded the Science and Technology Bronze Medal from the Royal Society of New Zealand, for research contributing to the conservation of whales and dolphins. In August 2008, he was appointed as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Heredity, now in its 100th year of publication.

Baker has been involved in the study of whales and dolphins since he was an undergraduate student at New College in Sarasota, Florida. He went on to obtain a Ph.D. in zoology at the University of Hawaii, Manoa and did his postdoctoral training at the Smithsonian Institution and National Cancer Institute.


University of Hawaii, Manoa (1978 - 1985), Degree: Ph.D. in Zoology, Concentration: Animal behaviour and ecology
Dissertation Title: The population structure and social organization of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) in the central and eastern North Pacific
New College (now New College of Florida) (1973 - 1977), Degree: B.A., Major: Environmental Sciences
Honours Thesis: The environmental and aesthetic quality of ten tidal creeks in Southwest Florida.


• Royal Society of New Zealand, Science and Technology Medal (2001) for research in applied
molecular systematics for conservation of whales and dolphins.
• U.S. National Park Service Special Achievement Award (1986) for research and management
recommendations concerning the protection of humpback whales in Glacier Bay National Park and
Preserve, Alaska.


APPOINTMENTS (postdoctoral):
2006-present Associate Director, Marine Mammal Institute and Professor, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Oregon State University
2005-present Professor (Personal Chair), School of Biological Sciences, University of Auckland
2002-2005 Associate Professor, School of Biological Sciences, University of Auckland
1993-2002 Lecturer and Senior Lecturer, School of Biological Sciences, University of Auckland
1992-1993 Research Associate, University of Hawaii, (S. R. Palumbi, sponsor)
1990-1991 Postdoctoral fellowship, Victoria University, Wellington, New Zealand (G. K. Chambers, sponsor)
1987-1989 Postdoctoral fellowship at the Smithsonian Institution and the National Cancer Institute, (S. J. O’Brien, sponsor)


Delegate (New Zealand and USA), Scientific Committee of the International Whaling Commission
Invited Member, Cetacean Specialist Group, IUCN - The World Conservation Union
Member, American Genetic Association
Member, Society for Marine Mammal Science
Member, New Zealand Royal Society


REFEREED JOURNAL ARTICLES for 2009-2010 only (100+ total, 33 as senior author)
2010. Ruegg, K., Anderson, E., Baker, C. S., Jackson, J., Vant, M. and Palumbi, S. R. ‘Are Antarctic minke
whales unusually abundance because of 20th century whaling?’ Molecular Ecology 19: 281–291
2010. Tallmon, D. A., Gregovich, D., Waples, R., Baker, C. S., Jackson, J., Taylor, B., Archer, E., Martien, K. K.
and Schwartz, M. K. ‘When are genetic methods useful for estimating contemporary abundance and
detecting population trends?’ Molecular Ecology Resources: in press.
2010. Baker, C. S., B. L. Chilvers, R. Constantine, S. DuFresne, R. H. Mattlin, A. v. Helden, and R. Hitchmough.
2010. ‘Conservation status of New Zealand marine mammals (suborders Cetacea and Pinnipedia), 2009’.
New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research, in press.
2010. Linda, L., Fred W, A., Laurel C, A., C. Scott, B., David P, G., Michael M, H., Jennifer A, J., Katherine C, K.,
McKelvey, K., Maile C, N., Isabelle, O., Nils, R., Michael K, S., Ruth Short, B., Jeffrey B, S., David A, T.,
Barbara L, T., Christina D, V., Donald M, W. and Robin S, W. ‘Neglect of Genetic Diversity in
Implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity’. Conservation Biology 24: 86-88.
2009. Jackson, J.A., Baker, C.S., Vant, M., Steel, D.S., Medrano-González, L., and Palumbi, S.R. ‘Big and Slow:
Phylogenetic estimates of molecular evolution in baleen whales (Suborder Mysticeti)’. Molecular Biology
and Evolution, 26: 2427–2440.
2009. Oremus, M., Gales, R., Dalebout, M.L., Funahashi, N., Endo, T., Kage, T., Steel, D., Baker, C.S. Worldwide
mtDNA diversity and phylogeography of pilot whales (Globicephala spp.). Biological Journal of the Linnean
Society 98: 729–744.
2009. Lukoschek, V., Funahashi, N., Lavery, S., Dalebout, M.L., Cipriano, F., Baker, C.S. Response: The rise of
commercial ‘by-catch whaling’ in Japan and Korea. Animal Conservation 12: 398–399.
2009. Lukoschek, V., Funahashi, N., Lavery, S., Dalebout, M.L., Cipriano, F., Baker, C.S. High proportion of
protected minke whales sold on Japanese markets due to Illegal, Unreported or Unregulated exploitation.
Animal Conservation 12: 385-395.
2009. Anthony J. R, H., Shane D, L., Hannan, D.A., Baker, C.S., Clements, K.D. New Zealand triplefin fishes
(family Tripterygiidae): contrasting population structure and mtDNA diversity within a marine species flock.
Molecular Ecology 18: 680-696.
2009. Clapham, P., Mikhalev, Y., Franklin, W., Paton, D., Baker, C.S., Ivashchenko, Y.V., Brownell Jr, R.L.
Catches of Humpback Whales, Megaptera novaeangliae, by the Soviet Union and Other Nations in the
Southern Ocean, 1947–1973. Marine Fisheries Review 71: 39-43.
2009. Tezanos-Pinto, G., C.S. Baker, K. Russell, K. Martien, R.W. Baird, A. Hutt, G. Stone, A.A. MiGnucci-
Giannoni, S. Caballero, T. Endo, S. Lavery, M. Oremus, C. OlavarrÍa and C. Garrigue. ‘A worldwide
perspective on the population structure and genetic diversity of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in
New Zealand’. Journal of Heredity 100: 11–24.
2009. Heimeier, D., C.S. Baker, P.J. Duignan, K. Russell, A. Hutt and G.S. Stone. ‘Confirmed expression of MHC
class I and class II genes in the New Zealand endemic Hector’s dolphin (Cephalorhynchus hectori)’. Marine
Mammal Science 25(1): 68-90.

Sign In

Member Sign In

Forgot Password?
Submit Not a Member? Join!

Forgot Password?

Send Password Not a Member? Join!

Change Password

(All Fields are required)
Send Message
Share this on: