• Ph.D. Biopsychology, Memorial University, 1998
  • M.Sc. Memorial University, St. John’s, Newfoundland
  • B.Sc. University College of North Wales, UK

Scholarly and Creative Interests

At COA Sean serves as part of the marine science faculty, and believes strongly in placing students in the field environment to provide the best possible experiential education. This includes numerous field trips on the ocean and visits to the Colleges offshore islands.

As a researcher, Sean is involved in several projects as a principal investigator. Studies include: photo-identification and biopsy of finback and humpback whales, working at sites that vary from the remote field site of Mount Desert Rock, located 25 miles offshore in the Gulf of Maine, to the Antarctic Peninsula; bioacoustic assessments of whale-shipstrike interactions; and examinations of baleen whale and pinniped foraging ecology using stable isotopes. He directs Allied Whale, as well as the Marine Mammal Stranding Response Program at College of the Atlantic.

Much of Sean’s background is in the field of fishery-marine mammal interactions. He spent 10 years in Newfoundland as part of the Whale Disentanglement team, a group that releases large entangled whales from fishing gear. In Maine he is trained as part of a first response team that performs a similar function, coordinated by the Center for Coastal Studies, and regularly consults with the federal and state governments on disentanglement activities. He has worked on several projects that successfully designed alarms for fishing gear that reduce marine mammal entanglements. 

Sean has worked as a polar researcher and guide for over twenty years, aboard expedition ecotourism vessels, working in the Antarctic and Arctic. He holds a Master USCG certification for vessels up to 25 tons in nearshore environments. 

More About Me

Sean recently completed a project with the Great Courses™. Entitled Life in the Worlds Oceans, this educational series—entirely authored and presented by Sean and in partnership with the Smithsonian Institution—won a Telly award in 2019.

When not obsessed with all things COA and polar, Sean is an avid woodworker and guitarist!

Community Engagement and Advocacy

Sean serves on the Scientific Advisory Board for The Shaw Institute, and is a member of the board for the Ellsworth Community Music Institute. He is also a member of the Maine Coalition for the North Atlantic Right Whale, and Mainers Guarding Right Whales.


Allen, K., Petersen, M. L., George V. Sharrard, G. V., Wright, D., and Todd, S. K. 2012. Radiated noise from commercial ships in the Gulf of Maine: Implications for whale/vessel collisions. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 132(3) EL229-EL235.

Bort, J., Van Parijs, S., Stevick, P., Summers, E., and Todd, S. K. 2015. North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis) vocalization patterns in the central Gulf of Maine from October 2009 to October 2010. Endangered Species Research 26:271-280.

Davis, G., Baumgartner, M. F., Bonnell, J. M., Bell, J., Berchok, C., Bort-Thornton, J., Brault, S., Buchanan, G., Charif, R. A., Cholewiak, D., Clark, C., Corkeron, P., Delarue, J., Dudzinski, K., Hatch, L., Hildebrand, J. A., Hodge, L., Klinck, H., Kraus, S., Martin, B., Mellinger, D., Moors-Murphy, H., Nieukirk, S., Nowacek, D., Parks, S., Read, A., Rice, A. N., Risch, D., Sirovic, A., Soldevilla, M., Stafford, K., Stanistreet, J., Summers, E., Todd, S., Warde, A., and van Parijs, S. (2017). Long-term passive acoustic recordings track the changing distribution of North Atlantic right whales (Eubalaena glacialis) from 2004 to 2014. Nature Scientific Reports 7: 13460.

Davis GE, Baumgartner MF, Corkeron PJ, Bell J, Berchok C, Bonnell JM, Bort Thornton J, Brault S, Buchanan GA, Cholewiak DM, Clark CW, Delarue J, Hatch LT, Klinck H, Kraus SD, Martin B, Mellinger DK, Moors-Murphy H, Nieukirk S, Nowacek DP, Parks SE, Parry D, Pegg N, Read AJ, Rice AN, Risch D, Scott A, Soldevilla MS, Stafford KM, Stanistreet JE, Summers E, Todd S, Van Parijs SM. Exploring movement patterns and changing distributions of baleen whales in the western North Atlantic using a decade of passive acoustic data. Glob Chang Biol. 2020 May 25;26(9):4812–40. doi: 10.1111/gcb.15191. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 32450009; PMCID: PMC7496396.

Delarue, J., Todd, S., Van Parijs, S. M. and Di Iorio, L. 2009. Geographic variation in Northwest Atlantic fin whale songs: implications for stock structure assessment. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 125(3):1774-1782.

Handel, S., Todd, S., and Zoidis, A. 2009. Rhythmic structure in humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) songs: Preliminary implications for song production and perception. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 125(6): EL225-EL230.

Handel, S., Todd, S., Zoidis, A. 2012. Hierarchical and rhythmic organization in the songs of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae). Bioacoustics 21(2):141-156.

Hill, A. N., Karniski, C., Robbins, J., Pitchford, T., Todd, S., Asmutis-Silvia, R. (2017). Vessel collision injuries on live humpback whales, Megaptera novaeangliae, in the southern Gulf of Maine. Marine Mammal Science 33(2):1748-7692.​

Lien, J., Barney, W., Todd, S. K., Seton, R., and Guzzwell, J. 1992. The effects of adding sounds to codtraps on the probability of collisions by humpback whales. In Marine Mammal Sensory Systems. Edited by Thomas, J.A., Kastelein, R.A., and Supin, A.Y. Plenum Press, New York. pp. 701-708. Invited chapter.

Lien, J., Todd, S. K., and Guigné, J.Y. 1991. Inferences about perception in large cetaceans, especially humpback whales, from incidental catches in fixed fishing gear, enhancement of nets by “alarm” devices, and the acoustics of fishing gear. In Sensory Abilities in Cetaceans; Laboratory and Field Evidence. Edited by Thomas, J., and Kastelein, R. Plenum, New York. pp. 347-362. Invited chapter.

McCordic, J. A., Todd, S. K., and Stevick, P. T. 2013. Differential rates of killer whale attacks on humpback whales in the North Atlantic as determined by scarification. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom.

Mullen, K. A., Petersen, M. L., and Todd, S. K. 2013. Has designating and protecting critical habitat had an impact on endangered North Atlantic right whale ship strike mortality? Journal of Marine Policy 42:293-304.

Newcomb, E., Walk, D., Haverkamp, H., Doughty, L., Todd, S., Seton, R., Jones, L., and Cammen, K. (in press) Breaking down “harassment” to characterize trends in human interaction cases in Maine’s pinnipeds. Conserv. Sci. Prac. 2021.

Todd, S., Allen, K., Mahaffey, C., Damon, J., Peterson, M., Hamilton, P. and Kenney, R. 2009. An acoustic mysticete shipstrike mortality risk assessment for the Gulf of Maine. Proceedings of the Institute of Acoustics 2009.

Todd, S., Lien, J., and Verhulst, A. 1992. Orientation of humpback (Megaptera novaeangliae) and minke (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) whales to acoustic alarm devices designed to reduce entrapment in fishing gear. In Marine Mammal Sensory Systems. Edited by Thomas, J.A., Kastelein, R.A., and Supin, A.Y. Plenum Press, New York. pp. 727-739. Invited chapter.

Todd, S. K., Ostrom, P., Lien, J., and Abrajano, J. 1997. Use of biopsy samples of humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) skin for stable isotope (d13C) determination. J. Northw. Atl. Fish. Sci. 22:71-76.

Todd, S., and Nelson, D.L. 1994. A review of modifications to the webbing and setting strategies of passive fishing gear to reduce incidental by-catch of cetaceans. In Annex F of Gillnets and Cetaceans. IWC Spec. Pub. 15. Edited by Donovan, G., Perrin, W.F., and Barlow, J. IWC, Cambridge. pp. 67-69.

Todd, S., Rosen, D.A.S., Tollit, D. and Holm, B. 2010. Stable isotope signal homogeneity and differences between and within pinniped muscle and skin. Marine Mammal Science 26(1):176-185.

Todd, S., Stevick, P., Lien, J., Marques, F., and Ketten, D. 1996. Behavioural effects of exposure to underwater explosions in humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae). Canadian Journal of Zoology 74:1661-1672.