Brian Balmer

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Montana Ecological Services Field Office


Ph.D., 2011, University of North Carolina Wilmington

Research Interests

  • Aquatic and terrestrial toxicology

  • Tools to assess wildlife health and impacts from anthropogenic stressors

  • Protected species management, including threatened and endangered species, migratory birds, and marine mammals

Current and planned research projects

  • Using tree swallows as a sentinel species to assess riparian health

  • Identifying contaminant profiles in grizzly bear populations within Montana

  • Assessing bottlenose dolphin population structure and health in the southeastern U.S.


  • Balmer, B. C., A. J. Westgate, and W. E. McFee. 2023. Challenges in small cetacean telemetry: an attempt at developing a remotely deployed attachment device for single-pin dorsal fin satellite transmitters. Animal Biotelemetry 11:15.

  • Capoccia, S., K. Hailer, and B. Balmer. 2023. Heavy metal concentrations in Canada Geese, Snow Geese, Mallards, and American Coots from the northern Rocky Mountains in Montana. Wildlife Society Bulletin; e1476.

  • Lettrich, M. D., M. J. Asaro, D. L. Borggaard, D. M. Dick, R. B. Griffis, J. A. Litz, C. D. Orphanides, D. L. Palka, M. S. Soldevilla, B. Balmer, et al. 2023. Vulnerability to climate change of United States marine mammal stocks in the western North Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean. PLoS ONE 18(9): e0290643.

  • Principe, N., W. McFee, N. Levine, B. Balmer, and J. Ballenger. 2023. Using unoccupied aerial systems (UASs) to determine the distribution patterns of Tamanend’s bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops erebennus) across varying salinities in Charleston, South Carolina. Drones 7: 689.

  • Schwacke, L. H., L. Thomas, R. S. Wells, T. K. Rowles, G. Bossart, F. Townsend, M. Mazzoil, J. B. Allen, B.C. Balmer, A. A. Barleycorn, A. Barratclough. L. Burt, S. DeGuise, D. Fauquier, F. M. Gomez, N. M. Kellar, J. H. Schwacke, T. R. Speakman, E. D. Stolen, B. M. Quigley, E. S. Zolman, and C. R. Smith. 2023. An expert‐based system to predict population survival rate from health data. Conservation Biology: e14073.

  • Speakman, T. R., B. M. Quigley, E. S. Zolman, B. C. Balmer, S. M. Lane, R. A. Martinson, T. Kolkmeyer, R. Takeshita, M. Caldwell, L. H. Schwacke. 2023. Associations and ranging patterns of common bottlenose dolphins near Brunswick, Georgia, USA. The Journal of Wildlife Management; e22490.

  • Transue, L., A. Monczak, C. Tribble, A. Marina, P. Fair, J. Ballenger, B. Balmer, and E. W. Montie. 2023. The biological and anthropogenic soundscape of an urbanized port – the Charleston Harbor Estuary, South Carolina, USA. PLoS ONE 18(4): e0283848.

  • Tribble, C., A. Monczak, L. Transue, A. Marian, P. Fair, B. Balmer, J. Ballenger, H. Baker, M. Weinpress-Galipeau, A. Robertson, A. Strand, and E. W. Montie. 2023. Enhancing interpretation of cetacean acoustic monitoring: investigating factors that influence vocalization patterns of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins in an urbanized estuary, Charleston Harbor, South Carolina, USA. Aquatic Mammals 49(6): 519-549.

  • Dziobak, M. K., B. C. Balmer, R. S. Wells, E. C. Pisarski, E. F. Wirth, and L. B. Hart. 2022. Temporal and spatial evaluation of mono(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (MEHP) detection in common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) from Sarasota Bay, Florida, USA. Oceans 3:231-249.

  • Quigley, B. M., T. R. Speakman, B. C. Balmer, H. M. Europe, A. M. Gorgone, T. K. Rowles, C. Sinclair, E. S. Zolman, and L. H. Schwacke. 2022. Observations of a benthic foraging behavior used by common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in Barataria Basin, Louisiana, USA. Aquatic Mammals  48:159-166.

  • Morey, J. S., B. C. Balmer, E. S. Zolman, R. Takeshita, S. DeGuise, T. K. Rowles, C. R. Smith, R. S. Wells, and L. H. Schwacke. 2022. Transcriptome profiling of blood from common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in the northern Gulf of Mexico to enhance health assessment capabilities. PloS one, 17(8), e0272345.