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Marine Sciences Division

Molly Grear

Molly Grear

Marine Sciences Laboratory
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
1529 West Sequim Bay Road
Sequim, Washington 98382


Molly Grear joined Pacific Northwest National in Seattle in 2012 as a Post-Bachelors Research Assistant and returned to PNNL in 2018 after earning a PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Washington. Her research bridges biology and engineering to better understand the environmental impacts of marine renewable energy and other human activities in the ocean. At PNNL and UW, she has worked on projects to understand how marine mammals may be impacted by marine renewable energy devices. Her research has encompassed both the acoustic impacts of marine energy on marine mammals, as well as understanding marine mammal’s risk of collision with energy-producing structures in the ocean. Her recent work has also included coastal modeling projects, such as understanding the impacts of storms on coastal infrastructure, resource assessment for wave energy, and modeling offshore macroalgae cultivation. Molly holds a Bachelors of Engineering from Dartmouth College and a PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering from University of Washington. Her PhD work focused on understanding and modeling the structural mechanics of whale skin and blubber to evaluate tidal turbines safety for marine mammals; her PhD dissertation grew out of work originally started at PNNL.

Research Interests

  • Marine biomechanics
  • Marine mammal interactions with human structures
  • Environmental impacts of marine renewable energy
  • Ecological engineering in the marine environment

Education and Credentials

  • Ph.D., Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Washington, 2018
  • M.S., Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Washington, 2016
  • B.E., Engineering Sciences, Dartmouth College, 2012

Affiliations and Professional Service

  • Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology
  • American Geophysical Union

PNNL Publications


  • Wang T., Z. Yang, W. Wu, and M.E. Grear. 2018. "A Sensitivity Analysis of the Wind Forcing Effect on the Accuracy of Large-Wave Hindcasting." Journal of Marine Science and Engineering 6, no. 4. PNNL-SA-139620. doi:10.3390/jmse6040139


  • Copping A.E., M.E. Grear, R.A. Jepsen, C. Chartrand, and A.M. Gorton. 2017. "Understanding the Potential Risk to Marine Mammals from Collision with Tidal Turbines." International Journal of Marine Energy 19. PNNL-SA-120984. doi:10.1016/j.ijome.2017.07.004


  • Copping A.E., S.A. Breithaupt, J.M. Whiting, M.E. Grear, J.D. Tagestad, and G.A. Shelton. 2016. "Likelihood of a Marine Vessel Accident from Wind Energy Development in the Atlantic." Wind Energy 19, no. 9:1557-1566. PNNL-SA-108588. doi:10.1002/we.1935
  • Yang Z., S. Taraphdar, T. Wang, L. Leung, and M.E. Grear. 2016. "Uncertainty and feasibility of dynamical downscaling for modeling tropical cyclones for storm surge simulation." Natural Hazards 84, no. 2:1161-1184. PNNL-SA-119692. doi:10.1007/s11069-016-2482-y


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Marine Sciences Laboratory
1529 W. Sequim Bay Road
Sequim, WA 98382
Phone: (360) 683-4151
Fax: (360) 681-3699