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Orcasphere » marine mammal
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marine mammal Archive

Orca genetics talk by Phillip Moran


Using next generation sequencing to generate whole mitochondrial genomes for population genetics and phylogeography of cetaceans Dr. Phillip Morin, Protected Resources Division, Southwest Fisheries Science Center Abstract and bio Live blog notes: Hoelzel et al 2002 found extremely low genetic diversity in control region (1000 base pairs): only 13 haplotypes from 100 samples from global [...]

Marine acoustics talks in Victoria (live blog)


This week the Canadian Acoustical Association is running a conference on marine and environmental sound (abstracts).  Below are notes from talks that relate to the southern resident killer whales, presented in near-real-time. 9:00 Keynote: The Marine Soundscape and the Effects of Noise on Aquatic Animals Christine Erbe Marine soundscapes include natural sounds (e.g. from rain), [...]

Orcas and salmon in new Cascadia Scorecard


The Sightline Institute has just released a new Cascadia Scorecard that attempts to track progress towards sustainability in Cascadia, the ecoregion encompassing much of western Washington and southern British Columbia. Southern resident killer whales and chinook salmon are featured within the scorecard’s wildlife indicator along with wolves, sage grouse, and caribou. While the wolf population [...]

Fulbright talk on marine conservation in the Pacific Northwest


Notes from an annual lecture at the University of Washington, March 3, 2010, at 7pm: “Marine conservation in the Pacific Northwest: Whales, Salmon, and Sound” by Rob Williams, 2009-2010 Canada-US Fulbright Visiting Chair “A scientist is someone who asks ‘what if’ questions.” — Margaret Atwood “If you want to study whales, you should put yourself [...]

Orca refuge: a gift for endangered killer whales


This Friday, January 15, 2010, is the deadline for public comment on the proposed orca conservation area along the west side of San Juan Island. All marine conservationists should consider commenting on these precedent-setting rules: comment via email | comment via web form.  (Official background and the PDF of proposed rule are on the NOAA [...]

Chinook data needed to interpret orca baby boom


Good national news is rolling in about 5 new southern resident whales and no deaths in 2009, plus one new baby thus far in 2010. Howard, Ken, and Brad allude to looking for correlations or explanations in chinook salmon abundance: It sounds simplistic, Garrett said, but “the way that we can tag the population fluctuations [...]

Researchers call for orca conservation zone in B.C.


Dec 23 Vancouver Sun article about a forth-coming science paper that proposes a conservation zone that overlaps with the proposed orca sanctuary boundaries: Wildlife researchers have identified the key feeding area for a critically endangered population of killer whales near Vancouver Island and proposed the creation of a unique, miniature conservation zone for the few [...]

First outer coast hydrophone nearly live


On December 8th the NEPTUNE Canada cabled ocean observing system started pouring data on to the Internet.  This opens the door for John Ford and his collaborators to listen for killer whales on the outer coast of southwest Vancouver Island.  The Naxys hydrophone is sensitive to 5Hz-65kHz and is located in Folger Passage at 95m [...]

+3dB noise reduces ‘effective listening area’ 30%


Jim Cummings of the Acoustic Ecology Institute has posted another great synopsis of an important new bioacoustics paper that has big implications for southern resident killer whales.  After defining a new bioacoustic metric “effective listening area” (which is MUCH more intuitive than “active space”), the authors clarify how slight increases in ambient noise can have [...]

Seattle Metropolitan on orcas raising their voices


Interesting to see the Holt et al, 2009, paper still in the popular press.  This article provides a nice summary and connects the study to the proposed orca-vessel regulations. http://www.seattlemet.com/issues/archives/articles/orcas-salmon-1109/