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Mr Mark Simmonds

Mr Mark Simmonds

Mr Mark Simmonds

Visiting Teaching Fellow

Area of research

Marine Mammal Conservation and Welfare

Langford House,
Langford, Bristol BS40 5DU
(See a map)


I am interested in all the factors impacting on marine mammals in the modern world - ranging from whaling to marine debris and climate change. 

Recent Research Activities:

Analysis of whaling policy; compilation of data on the impacts of marine debris on cetaceans; and seal and dolphin habitat use and protection.

Recent Roles and Affiliations: 

  • Member of the Scientific Committee of the International Whaling Commission (IWC):1994-date, inlcuding being covener of six International Whaling Commission workshops:  ‘Habitat Degradation’ (2004); ‘Climate Change and Whales’ (2009); ‘Climate Change and Small Cetaceans’ and also Co-Chair of this workshop (2010); and Marine Renewables and Chair of workshop (2012). Most recently Convener and Chair of IWC 2013 and 2014 workshops on marine debris.
  • Elected to the Council of the European Cetacean Society, 2014 - date
  • Chair of UK's Marine Animal Rescue Coalition, 1989-date
  • Member of UK Delegation to IWC: Scientific Committee: 2002-2014; Commission 2002-7, 9, 10, 12 and 14.
  • Chair, Whale Working Group of Wildlife and Countryside Link (UK Umbrella Group for NGOs) 2010- 2012; Vice Chair 2012, Chair 2014
  • Advisor to BBC Wildlife Fund – helping to select projects for funding – 2010-2011
  • Member of the Institution of Environmental Science – 1992 –date
  • Chartered Biologist and Member of the Institute of Biology 1988 – date.
  • Churchill Fellow – awarded Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship 1983
  • Scientific Fellow - Zoological Society of London 1983- date


Further to graduating from the University of Bristol, I have been variously employed in the university sector (as a researcher, senior lecturer and Reader) and by several international non-governmental organisations, including Greenpeace International and Whale and Dolphin Conservation (as International Director of Science). I am now the Senior Marine Scientist working for the Humane Society International.  
In the 2013 Queen's Birthday Honours, I was awarded the OBE in recognition of my work in marine mammal conservation and environmental sciences. 

Activities / Findings

Most of my published works are listed on ResearchGate

In addiion I occassionally write on articles of topical interest for the Huffington Post 

Some recent publications:


Philippa Brakes and 18 others including M. P Simmonds. Animal cultures matter for conservation. Science. 363. eaaw3557. 10.1126/science.aaw3557.

Cristina Panti, and 8 others, including M. P. Simmonds. Marine litter: One of the major threats for marine mammals. Outcomes from the European Cetacean Society workshop. Environmental Pollution. 10.1016/j.envpol.2019.01.029.

Nunny, Laetitia & Simmonds, Mark. A Global Reassessment of Solitary-Sociable Dolphins. Frontiers in Veterinary Science. 5. 10.3389/fvets.2018.00331.


Laetitia Nunny, Mark P. Simmonds, Andrew Butterworth, A review of seal killing practice in Europe: Implications for animal welfare, Marine Policy,98: 121-132,

Simmonds, M.P. 2018. The Welfare Effects of PCBs in the Ocean. Chapter 3. In Butterworth, A. (Editor). Animal Welfare in a Changing World. CABI International. pp24-34


Simmonds, M.P. 2017.  Of poisons and plastics. An overview of the latest pollution issues affecting marine mammals. In Butterworth, A. (Editor). Marine Mammal Welfare – Human Induced Change in the Marine Environment and its Impacts on Marine Mammal Welfare. Springer International Publishing AG. DOI:  10.1007/978-3-319-46994-2 10.1007 pp27-37

Simmonds, M.P. 2017.  Evaluating the Welfare Implications of Climate Change for Cetaceans. In Butterworth, A. (Editor). Marine Mammal Welfare – Human Induced Change in the Marine Environment and its Impacts on Marine Mammal Welfare. Springer International Publishing AG. DOI:  10.1007/978-3-319-46994-2 10.1007 pp125-135

Butterworth, A. and Simmonds, M.P. (Editors). 2017. People-Marine Mammal Interactions. Frontiers in Marine Science. E-book available here:


M.P. Simmonds 2016. Impacts and effects of ocean warming on marine mammals.  In: Laffoley, D., & Baxter, J.M. (editors). Explaining ocean warming: Causes, scale, effects and consequences. Gland, Switzerland: IUCN. pp. 303-320

 Nunny, L., Langford, F. and M.P Simmonds. 2016. Does the Seal Licensing System in Scotland Have a Negative Impact on Seal Welfare? Frontiers in Marine Science 3: 142 DOI: 10.3389/fmars.2016.00142.

 A.J. Wright, M.P. Simmonds and B. Galleti. 2016. The International Whaling Commission – Beyond Whaling. Frontiers in Marine Science 3: DOI: 10.3389/fmars.2016.00158

 M.P.Simmonds, T. Wimmer, M. Cosentino, R, Leaper, A. Leslie, D. Mattila, G. Minton, S. Panigada, L. Rojas-Bracho, F. Ritter, E. Slooten and R. Wulff. 2016. Proposal for an IWC Bycatch Initiative. Paper IWC/66/CC05 submitted to the Conservation Committee of the International Whaling Commission.

2015 and earlier

M.P. Simmonds and R.L. Robotham. 2015 The Grey Seals of Bardsey. British Wildlife. October 2015: 2-9


M.P. Simmonds and S. Baulch. 2015. An update on research into marine debris and cetaceans. Paper submitted to the Scientific Committee of the International Whaling Commission. 


M.P. Simmonds and J. Toole. 2015. Some thoughts on the consideration of marine debris in the context of the International Whaling Commission. Paper submitted to the Scientific Committee of the International Whaling Commission.


M P Simmonds. 2014. Landmark ruling on whaling from the International Court of Justice. Antarctic Science 26(4): 329.

M P Simmonds, S J Dolman, M Jasny, E C M Parsons, LWeilgart, A J Wright, and R Leaper2014 Marine noise pollution – increasing recognition but need for more practical action. Journal of Ocean Technology 04/2014; 9(1):71-90.

M N DeBoer, M P Simmonds, P J H Reijnders and G. Aarts 2014. The influence of topographical and dynamic cyclic variables in the distribution of small cetaceans in a shallow coastal system. Plos ONE 9(1): e86331.

M.N. DeBoer, J.Clark, M.F.Leopold, M.P. Simmonds and P.J.H. Reijnders. 2013 Photo-Identification Methods Reveal Seasonal and Long-Term Site-Fidelity of Risso’s Dolphins (Grampus griseus) in Shallow Waters (Cardigan Bay, Wales) Open Journal of Marine Science 01/2013; 3:65

M.P Simmonds and S. Fisher. 2012 Whaling: Don’t trade the moratorium away. Nature 482: 308

M.P. Simmonds 2012 Cetaceans and Marine Debris: the great unknown. Journal of Marine Biology 2012, Article ID 684279, 8 pages doi:10.1155/2012/684279

M.P. Simmonds and L. Molleson. 2012. ‘Guide to the UK’s Cetaceans and Seals’. Field Studies Council (iD Chart): 8 pages.

M. N. de Boer, J. T. Saulino, M. F. Leopold, P. J.. H. Reijnders and M. P. Simmonds 2012.  Interactions between short-beaked common dolphin (Delphinus delphis) and the winter pelagic pair-trawl fishery off Southwest England (UK) International Journal of Biodiversity and Conservation Vol. 4(13): 481-499.

M.P. Simmonds. 2011. Whales and Dolphins – Solitary Dolphin Welfare. In: ‘Encyclopedia of Animal Rights and Welfare’ (second edition). Ed: M. Bekoff. Greenwood Press; PP: 601-603

P. Brakes and M.P. Simmonds (Book: Editors) 2011. Whales and Dolphins. Cognition, Culture, Conservation and Human Perceptions. Earthscan, London & Washington DC.



  • Marine Mammals
  • Animal Behaviour and Welfare
  • Whaling

Recent publications

View complete publications list in the University of Bristol publications system

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