Dr. Brandon Southall is President and Senior Scientist for Southall Environmental Associates, Inc. based in Santa Cruz, CA and a research associate with the University of California, Santa Cruz. He is currently involved in research to measure behavioral responses of marine mammals to various human sounds, primarily military sonar signals, the effects of impulsive noise on hearing in seals and sea lions in laboratory settings, efforts to implement quieting technologies on the largest commercial ships in the oceans, and developing environmentally-responsible ways of capturing offshore energy. Dr. Southall has an extensive background in both laboratory and field research on the effects of noise on marine mammals, and has worked directly in the policy and regulatory arenas within the U.S. and internationally on this issue. He has published over 90 peer-reviewed publications on hearing and the effects of noise on marine life and has given hundreds of presentations on the subject to technical, regulatory, Congressional, and international audiences.

Brandon completed graduate studies at UCSC in 2002 on hearing and the effects of noise on seals and sea lions. He also conducted and continues fieldwork on northern elephant seal acoustic communication. From 2003 to 2009, Dr. Southall was a fisheries research biologist and director of NOAA’s Ocean Acoustics Program, during which time he: was involved in the development of acoustic exposure criteria for marine mammals; organized two international symposia on shipping noise and marine mammals and was centrally involved in the formation of correspondence group on the shipping noise issue within the International Maritime Organization; provided technical advice on regulatory policies and mitigation strategies for minimizing noise impacts; and served as co-principal investigator of a behavioral response studies recently conducted in the Bahamas and Mediterranean Sea and similar efforts being planned in southern California.

Brandon has served as an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Division of Marine Science and Conservation in the Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences since 2012. He is actively involved in field research and publications on research and marine policy and conservation with a number of other Duke colleagues and he regularly lectures in various courses at the Duke Marine Laboratory.


School Division

Marine Science & Conservation Marine Lab


PhD, University of California-Santa Cruz, 2002