phil hamilton

Philip Hamilton

Senior Research Scientist and Interim Chair, Kraus Marine Mammal Conservation Program

T: 617-973-5253



M.S., Biology, University of Massachusetts, Boston, 2002
B.A., Environmental Studies with a concentration in Biology, State University of New York at Binghamton, 1986


Philip Hamilton has been studying North Atlantic right whales since 1986, when he led the right whale photo-identification efforts at the Center for Coastal Studies on Cape Cod. In 1989, he began working for the New England Aquarium, where he now manages the North Atlantic right whale photo-identification catalog ( In 2003, he received a National Science Foundation grant to develop software to manage all aspects of the images and data in the catalog (DIGITS). Philip is interested in right whale behavior (including associations), disease, and genetics. He works closely with colleagues from Trent and St. Mary’s universities in Canada to link and query the genetic and photo-identification databases.

  1. Select Publications

    Hamilton, P.K. and Kraus, S.D. (2019)
    Frequent encounters with the seafloor increase right whales’ risk of entanglement in fishing groundlines. Endang Species Res 39: 235–246

    Rolland, R.M., Schick, R.S., Pettis, H.M., Knowlton, A.R., Hamilton, P.K., Clark, J.S and Kraus, S.D.
    2016. Health of North Atlantic right whales (Eubalaena glacialis) over three decades: from individual health to demographic and population health trends. Marine Ecology Progress Series. Vol. 542: 265–282.

    Cole, T.V.V, Hamilton, P., Henry Glass, A., Duley, P., Pace, R.M., White, B.N., Frasier, T.R.
    2013. Identification of North Atlantic right whale (Eubalanea glacialis) mating grounds. Endangered Species Research. Vol. 21: 55–64.

    Knowlton, A.R., Hamilton, P.K., Marx, M.K., Pettis, H.P., and Kraus, S.D. 2012. Monitoring
    North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis) entanglement rates: A 30 yr retrospective. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 466: 293–302.

    Hamilton, P.K. and Cooper, L.A. 2010. Changes in North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis) cow-calf association times and use of the calving ground: 1993-2005. Mar. Mammal Sci. 26: 896–916.

    Frasier, T.R., Hamilton, P.K., Brown, M.W., Kraus, S.D., White, B.N. 2010. Reciprocal exchange and subsequent adoption of calves by two North Atlantic right whales. Aquatic Mammals. 36(2): 115-120.

    Hamilton, P.K. and Marx, M.K. 2005. Skin Lesions on North Atlantic Right Whales: Categories, Prevalence and Change in Occurrence in the 1990s. Disease of Aquatic Organisms 68(1): 71-82.

  2. Affiliations