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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 [...]

Federal Columbia basin plan for salmon and orcas lacks good science


On October 29, salmon advocates asked a federal judge to reject the Obama Administration’s 2010 Plan for Columbia Basin salmon and steelhead. This includes chinook salmon that are essential nutrition for our Southern Resident Killer Whales. Today, three facts are clear. One, our orca are often very hungry. Two, they historically dined regularly on Columbia [...]

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 [...]

Stormwater, salmon, and the health of Puget Sound


Keynote speaker at Sound Waters 2010 Dr. Nathaniel ‘Nat’ Scholtz, NOAA/NWFSC Coho salmon are our first choice for a ‘sentinel species’ because they: are widely distributed inhabit lowland steams that are important and familiar to humans and areas impacted directly by stormwater runoff (if we can reduce toxics in lowland streams, then we’ll likely keep [...]

Safina on orcas in LA Times


Save the salmon — and us Above is a link a nice Op-Ed piece by Carl Safina.  Below is my response, submitted today to the L.A. Times. In his 1/24/10 opinion “Save the salmon — and us,” Safina points out that new research says orcas prefer salmon.  But the in-press analysis of prey scraps by [...]

Harmful algae & Fraser sockeye – liveblog


Dr. Jack Rensel, Rensel Associates Aquatic Sciences (works with Puget Sound fish farmers on permitting/etc., but not BC farmers) Harmful Algal Blooms and Possible Effects on Fraser River Sockeye Salmon 11:04 Intro Much of this talk is based on co-author Nicola Haigh’s 10-year sockeye database. Target algae of interest: Heterosigma akashiwo, HAMP database 11:06 Background [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

NOAA vessel rules rejected at Seattle Aquarium


<More photos> Just back from the meeting in which NOAA invited the public to comment on the proposed rules for vessel-orca interactions.  Before a captive audience of Pacific salmon and rockfish, the 2.5 hours of public comment was dominated by the commercial whale watch, recreational and commercial fishing, and kayaking industries.  It seems like a [...]

$150k for transient orca skeleton education


This project could help raise awareness about the risk to SRKW recovery posed by persistent pollutants.  Congrats to Anne, Chrissy, and the rest of the PTMSC team! PTMSC awarded $150,000 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services for its Orca Project Port Townsend, WA—Thanks to a grant from the federal Institute of Museum [...]