IMG Sal Cerchio Headshot

Salvatore Cerchio, Ph.D.

Anderson Cabot Center Visiting Scientist

T: 917-796-3363



Ph.D., Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Michigan, 2003.

M.S.c., Marine sciences, Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, 1993.

B.S.c., Biology, Tufts University, 1985.


Salvatore Cerchio is a marine mammal biologist, who has worked in multiple disciplines on free ranging populations of cetaceans around the world for over 30 years. He has conducted research around the globe on several species, acquiring expertise in population status assessment, bioacoustics, molecular ecology, and behavioral ecology. Most recently Salvatore’s geographic focus has been in the Indian Ocean, particularly off Madagascar and in the Arabian Sea. His current work includes: passive acoustic assessment of the highly endangered Arabian Sea Humpback whale population; investigating the biology and conservation status of a newly discovered species of baleen whale (the Omura’s whale) off northwest Madagascar; assessing diversity, distribution, and status of cetaceans on the west coast of Madagascar; mitigating the impact of artisanal hunting of coastal dolphins on the west coast of Madagascar; and investigating impact of anthropogenic noise (particularly seismic surveys) on baleen whales.

  1. Select Publications

    Cerchio S, and Yamada T. 2017. Omura’s whale: Balaenopteridae omurai. In: Würsig B, Thewissen JGM, and Kovacs K (eds) Encyclopedia of Marine Mammals. Academic Press, San Diego, California.

    Dulau V, Pinet P, Geyer Y, Fayan J, Mongin P, Cottarel G, Zerbini A, Cerchio S. 2017. Movement behavior of humpback whales during the breeding season: on the road again! Movement Ecology 5:11.

    Cerchio S, Trudelle L, Zerbini AN, Charrassin JB, Geyer Y, Mayer FX, Andrianarivelo N, Jung JL, Adam O, Rosenbaum HC. 2016. Satellite telemetry of humpback whales off Madagascar reveals long range movements of individuals in the Southwest Indian Ocean during the breeding season. Marine Ecology Progress Series 562, 193-209.

    Cerchio S, Andrianantenaina B, Lindsay A, Rekdahl M, Andrianarivelo N, and Raoloarijao T. 2015. Omura’s whales (Balaenoptera omurai) in Northwest Madagascar: ecology, behavior and conservation needs. Royal Society Open Science 2: 150301. https://doi.org10.1098/rsos.150301

    Cerchio S, Andrianarivelo N, and Andrianantenaina B. 2015. Ecology and conservation status of Indian Ocean humpback dolphins (Sousa plumbea) in Madagascar. In: Jefferson T, and Curry B, editors. Humpback Dolphins (Sousa spp.): Their Current Status and Conservation. Advances in Marine Biology Series, Vol. 72. Oxford: Academic Press. Pp. 163-199.

    Cerchio S, Strindberg S, Collins T, Bennett C, and Rosenbaum H. 2014. Seismic surveys negatively affect humpback whale singing activity off northern Angola. PLoS-ONE 9(3): e86464.

    Cholewiak DM, Sousa-Lima RS, and Cerchio S. 2013. Humpback whale song hierarchical structure: Historical context and discussion of current classification issues. Mar Mamm Sci 29:E312-332.

    Cerchio S, Jacobsen JK, Cholewiak DM, Falcone EA and Merriwether DA.  2005.  Paternity in humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae): assessing polygyny and skew in male reproductive success. Animal Behaviour 70: 267-277.

    Cerchio S, Jacobsen J and Norris T.  2001.  Geographic and temporal variation in songs of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae): synchronous change in Hawaiian and Mexican breeding assemblages. Animal Behaviour 62: 313-329.

    Cerchio S, and Dahlheim M.  2001.  Variation in feeding vocalizations of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) in Southeast Alaska.  Bioacoustics 11: 277-295.

    Cerchio S and Tucker P.  1998.  Influence of alignment on mtDNA phylogeny of Cetacea: Questionable support for Mysticeti – Physeteroidea clade.  Systematic Biology 47: 336-344.

  2. Affiliations

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