Funding Opportunity for Humpback Whale Research in Hawai’i

The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation (Foundation) is proud to announce a funding opportunity to assist and support humpback whale research conducted within Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary (NMS) for the Fall 2021-Spring 2022 humpback whale season.

Proposals must address the overall value and/or contributions of the research towards protecting humpback whales and their habitat, with an emphasis on immediate and/or {present needs}. Special consideration will be provided to those proposals that address recent research priorities as outlined in the Post Delisting Management Plan, Trends Workshop report and as outlined as regional science needs. Please find links below: (https://hawaiihumpbackwhale.noaa.gov/science/research/assessing-trends.html) (https://repository.library.noaa.gov/view/noaa/18294/noaa_18294_DS1.pdf)

Our top priorities:

  • Health assessment of humpback whales in sanctuary waters
  • Threat analysis: Large whale entanglements
  • Threat analysis: Effects of anthropogenic noise on whale mother/calf pairs
  • Monitoring trends in the abundance of humpback whales using sanctuary waters
  • Understanding the behavior of humpback whales while in sanctuary waters
  • Assessment of the distribution of humpback whales across sanctuary waters

The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation will be accepting proposals for Humpback Whale Research mini-awards of up to $5,000 each. A researcher may apply for up to $10,000 if the proposal covers different projects (up to $5,000 each).

Proposals must meet the following criteria:

  1. Conducting at least 50% of research work within the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale NMS (for sanctuary boundary map, click here)
  2. Research work must primarily focus on humpback whales, but can also include other cetacean species
  3. Field work to be done during the Fall 2021 to Spring 2022 time period. Associated data analysis can take place after Spring 2022.
  4. Researchers must have a current NOAA/NMFS permit, and other permits/approvals as required. If the applicant is in the process of applying for a NOAA/NMFS permit, the award will be contingent upon permit approval.
  5. Researchers must acknowledge support by the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale NMS and the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation in their presentations or publications for this research work, with specific language provided by the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation.
  6. By submitting a proposal in response to this RFP, the applicant certifies that it and its principal officers are not debarred, suspended, or otherwise considered ineligible for an award by the U.S. Government. The Foundation will not award a contract to any firm that is debarred, suspended, or considered to be ineligible by the U.S. Government.

Instructions for Proposal Submission:

The proposal, not to exceed two pages in length, should include research objectives and methodologies; project timeline; and project budget.

Proposals will be accepted no later than 11:59 pm HT on August 1, 2021 to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with the subject line: ‘Humpback Whale Research Mini-Awards’. Awards will be announced by Sept. 30, 2021, and funds made available to the researcher soon after.

Any questions should be directed to Deanna Balistreri, Grants & Contracts Manager, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We are happy to arrange conference calls to discuss this RFP, provide additional information, and address questions.

The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation is the leading voice for U. S. protected waters, working with communities to protect and expand those special places for a healthy ocean, coasts and Great Lakes. Working together, we safeguard species and the places they call home and preserve America’s maritime heritage.

For more information on the National Marine Sanctuary and our work visit our website.

** Federal employees or affiliates are not eligible to submit a proposal. Funds may not support use of federal vessels.

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