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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 [...]

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), [...]

Transients harrassed near Shelton, WA


Interesting Kiro 7 video report regarding harassment of killer whales in Puget Sound during 2010. And here’s a sighting report from Orca Network that is probably related: Sighted 2 Orca for sure, when they came back east I thought at one point there were 3. They were in Hammersley Inlet at approximately N 047 12.360 [...]

King5 TV shows infrared video of orcas


Tonight reporter Gary Chitten and cameraman Pete Cassam from King 5 Television broadcast a nice story about the successful first test of a FLIR camera for detecting killer whales at night.  The pilot study was designed by Jim Thomson of the UW Applied Physics Lab, his Master’s student Joe Graber, and his other staff.  In [...]

$1-10k fines for proximity to orcas


It’s nice to see WDFW making public (see below) the consequences of violating the State and Federal laws governing how vessels may interact with killer whales.  I’ve added these details to the Beam Reach wiki page regarding orca-boat rules. WDFW NEWS RELEASE Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife 600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091 [...]

BP threatens Northwest’s orcas


This morning, John Burbank scribed a disconcerting account of oil politics in the southern residents’ backyard.  The following paragraphs provide a glimpse into how the complex interactions of the petroleum industry and our State political system increase risks for killer whales in the Northwest. BP also has its own salaried lobbyist dedicated to keeping watch [...]

Salmon & orcas in Patagonia catalog


The new Patagonia catalog (out yesterday) has a full page spread by Steven Hawley entitled “The Idaho Tide.”  It eloquently connects the wolves of Idaho’s Frank Church Wilderness with Snake River salmon and the southern residents, and it includes a great paragraph (below) with a quote-worthy line by Ken Balcomb: “I think any reasonable biologist [...]

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 [...]