From the Conference Committee
By Carla A. Chicote and Manel Gazo
We are very pleased to report that the World Marine Mammal Conference received 1,961 abstract submissions, from individuals representing 80 countries! We also received applications for 60 workshops to be held on the weekend before the Conference. This outpouring of submissions from marine mammal scientists ensures that the WMMC will be a truly global event. Besides the joy produced by this willing attendance, and all the work and science contained in each abstract submitted and workshop proposed, we are also working on the logistics to create the best World Conference. Keep tuned to the web and social media channels for updates and upcoming news on WMMC19. We look forward to seeing you all there — together for Science and Conservation!
From the Awards Committee
by Lindsay Porter and Daryl Boness
During the year of the biennial conference, the Society for Marine Mammalogy gives out two awards for student papers published in Marine Mammal Science. The awards are the F. G. Wood Award and the John R. Twiss, Jr. Award.
The Wood Award was established in honor of Forrest G. Wood, a founding member of the Society for Marine Mammalogy and is given for the best student paper published in Marine Mammal Science during the period between the Society’s Biennial Conferences. The award includes an opportunity to deliver a plenary session presentation on the topic of the award paper at the Biennial Conference, and funds to cover costs of participation in the Conference (registration, travel, lodging, meals, and necessary incidental expenses). Judging of eligible papers is to be done by the Editor in consultation with the Board of Editors. There was a total of 33 eligible papers evaluated. The winner this year is Hannah Cubaynes for her paper entitled, “Whales from space: four mysticete species described using new VHR satellite imagery.”
The Twiss Award was established in honor of John Twiss Jr., who was the first Executive Director of the U.S. Marine Mammal Commission and is given for the best student paper that describes innovative research related to marine mammal habitat and ecosystem conservation. A committee of four judges evaluated the top-ranking papers that were eligible. There was a total of 22 eligible papers. The Twiss Award winner receives US $500 and a certificate. The winner this year is Guillemette Labadie for her paper entitled, “First demographic insights on historically harvested and poorly known male sperm whale populations off the Crozet and Kerguelen Islands (Southern Ocean)”.
Vera da Silva and Bernd Würsig elected as new Honorary Members
In the spring 2019 vote, Members of the Society for Marine Mammalogy voted to elect Vera da Silva and Bernd Würsig as Honorary Members in recognition of their distinguished service to the field of marine mammalogy. Vera da Silva is a Senior Researcher at the National Institute of Amazonian Research (Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia) in Manaus, Brazil, where she has carried out multiple, multi-decadal research and conservation efforts on Amazonian dolphins and manatees. Bernd Würsig is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the Department of Marine Biology at Texas A&M, was one of the first to author a paper on the individual recognition of dolphins by marks on their dorsal fins and was President of our Society from 1991–1993. Our Honorary Members are the giants upon whose shoulders we all stand. They pioneered research methods, brought students and colleagues into the field, served their scientific community, and brought their science to bear on critical conservation issues. We thank them for their service and welcome them as new Honorary Members!
Dr. Helene Marsh is our newest Kenneth S. Norris Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient
We are pleased to announce that Dr. Helene Marsh is the 2019 recipient of the Kenneth S. Norris Lifetime Achievement Award, which celebrates “a career of excellence in scientific research”.
Dr. Marsh is a Distinguished Professor of Environmental Science and the Dean of Graduate Research Studies at James Cook University in North Queensland, Australia. Dr. Marsh has spent her career focused upon, and engaging students and colleagues in, the study of the population ecology of dugongs. She has specifically sought out colleagues from multiple disciplines to inform her research, and the fruits of those efforts have yielded over 150 scientific publications and interdisciplinary solutions to conservation problems. She has contributed to the future of our science, and our scientific community, by her active engagement in student mentoring, including over 55 PhD and 20 Master’s students. She is a Fellow of both the Australian Academies of Science and Technological Sciences and Engineering and has chaired the national Threatened Species Scientific Committee of Australia. She has been honored with the Aldo Leopold Award by the American Society for Mammalogy, the Distinguished Service Award by the Society of Conservation Biology, and an award for her contributions to sirenian research by the SMM. Dr. Marsh also served as the 16th President of our Society.
From the Board of Editors of Marine Mammal Science
by Daryl Boness
A New Look for Marine Mammal Science
Marine Mammal Science has now begun implementing a new journal style and appearance, both inside and outside. The journal style we will be using is that of the American Psychological Association (APA Style Guidelines). Similarly the reference list will follow APA formatting. The Guide for Authors on the SMM website has been updated and if Wiley online hasn’t yet, it should be soon. A new “manuscript preparation file” is attached to papers that are accepted. For a period of time as we transition to the new style for papers in progress of being reviewed, I will be letting authors know they need to change revised papers to the new style. Watch for these new changes to be in the next issue or the following one. For a few issues, papers may have the new or old look because some have already been set and released to Early View. However, the new cover look, which the membership voted on through Facebook, will be on the next issue.
An independent change has begun with regard to use and interpretation of statistics, especially frequentist statistics. A paper recently published in Nature, which did not necessarily present new concerns, but emphasized the need to fix the problem, has led editors of at least some journals to take a stronger position. This is an issue Tim Gerrodette, a former Associate Editor, constantly reminded me about and more recently Jay Barlow brought to my attention the Nature paper (Amrhein et al. 2019). Hence, I now pay close attention to these matters in every manuscript and often attach the Nature paper to my decision letter. The biggest problem is claiming “no significant differences” or that “things are similar” because P<0.05. I encourage everyone to read the Nature paper.
From the Conservation Committee
by Barb Taylor
The Committee is proud to announce that the recipient of the 2019 Conservation Merit Prize is Dr. Danielle Kreb. She was selected for her over 20 years of conservation efforts on behalf of the critically endangered Mahakam River population of Irrawaddy dolphins (Orcaella brevirostris), also known as pesuts, in East Kalimantan, Indonesia, and for her engagement of local communities in that critical work. By co-founding the Yayasan Konservasi RASI (Conservation Foundation for Rare Aquatic Species of Indonesia), she has focused her research and outreach efforts in Indonesia to “protect endangered, aquatic species and their habitat.” SMM specifically recognizes her work on protecting the pesut, by collecting data on trends in abundance, changes in distribution, habitat quality and threats and by working at multiple levels and with numerous stakeholders to address those threats. Her program’s core value of community involvement, working in association with river communities, school environmental education programs, and including local students in her work, is commendable. These efforts have resulted in the documentation of core areas used by the pesut and in the development, with significant community involvement, of a large Protected Area covering the majority of the important habitat of the population.
This was the first year the Committee took nominations from the membership. The Society should be proud of how many excellent dedicated conservation scientists we have for marine mammals. The Committee narrowed the list of nominees to a few candidates and then requested detailed information for those candidates on a standard form. The Committee then voted and passed their selection to the Board for their approval. It was a very tough decision and we encourage those not chosen this year to nominate their candidates next time.
The Committee also welcomes two new members: Lucy Keith-Diagne to replace Ben Morales with manatee expertise, and Simon Goldsworthy to replace Lloyd Lowery with pinniped expertise.
The April 2019 Vaquita Update (full posting here), reports that while totoaba season is winding down gillnetting for other fish is rampant. Following an announcement by the Mexican government that the program to compensate fishermen for not fishing would cease, many returned to gillnet fishing without permits. Fishermen working on the net removal vessels reported that some of those who were back on the water fishing were staying away from the zero tolerance area, the area where the last few vaquitas remain, where the net removal effort is concentrated. However, others are actively gillnetting within the area and refuse to move when requested and because these fishermen stay with their nets, the nets are not removed. The relatively extensive ongoing illegal gillnetting represents a clear danger to the few remaining vaquitas and it impedes the deployment of acoustic monitoring devices. Without acoustic data to guide researchers to the locations of vaquitas, planned photo-identification work has been delayed until the fishing has essentially stopped.
From the Committee of Scientific Advisors
by Doug Wartzok
The annual solicitation of proposals for small research grants of up to US $2,000 is open during the month of June. Please confirm eligibility before applying. The Committee would like to add another student willing to assist in evaluation of submitted research proposals during the month of July. Interested students should contact the Committee Chair, Douglas Wartzok.
From the Education Committee
By Mridula Srinivasan
Would you like to get a head start on your marine mammal literature review and understanding of the remarkably diverse marine mammal species found globally? If yes, consider becoming a Wikipedia ® marine mammal species page curator. The Society for Marine Mammalogy Education Committee is looking for committed, passionate, and detail-oriented undergraduate/graduate students and active members from Marine Mammal Student Chapters (regional and international) to help us update species information on Wikipedia® pages.
In recent years, Wikipedia® has become the go-to resource for marine mammal information and the SMM is keen to keep it accurate and as current as possible. The assigned student/s will review and update Wikipedia® pages by updating the literature individually or in pairs and then working directly with species experts to obtain feedback.
The students will receive assignments from and report to the SMM Education Committee Chair, Dr. Mridula Srinivasan. Entries will be updated or published only after approval by the Education Committee Chair and SMM. This is an exciting opportunity for students interested in pursuing a marine mammal science career. Student curators will have access to and network directly with global marine mammal experts, and contribute to disseminating the latest and best information to the general public, students, enthusiasts, and professionals.
Please contact Mridula Srinivasan (email@example.com) if you are interested in joining this effort.
Compiled by Chris Parsons
Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences conference (26-28 June 2019; Orlando, Florida, USA)
The Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences are holding their annual conference on Orlando, Florida at the University of Central Florida.
The theme of this year’s conference is: Inclusion and legitimacy in environmental studies and sciences: tensions and synergies.
Workshops and the welcoming plenary & icebreaker event will be held on 26th June.
The main conference will be 27-28th June.
Field trips are available for Saturday 29th June.
Cheap university accommodation is available ($40 a night) but numbers of rooms are limited.
International Congress for Conservation Biology (21-25 July 2019; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
The Society for Conservation Biology’s 29th International Congress for Conservation Biology (ICCB 2019) will be held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from 21-25 July 2019.
Researchers, students, agency personnel, environmental educators, practitioners, and other conservation stakeholders will join for lively discussions on the nexus between biodiversity conservation and genetics, ecology, biogeography, anthropology, history, psychology, economics, conservation marketing, religion, and more.
To register and for more details go to: https://conbio.org/mini-sites/iccb-2019
Marine mammal summer school (14-21 July 2019; La Paz, Mexico)
Basic module (50 h) 14-18 July (In Spanish)
Systematics and diversity
Oceanography and marine zoogeography
Ecology and life history
Anatomy and physiology
Conservation and current status
Field trip (principles of navigation, distance sampling, first aid, sample preservation, pinniped census, and much more)
Advanced modules (20 h each) 20-21 July (In English)
Ecotoxicology and Marine Pollutants
Juan José Alava, University of British Columbia, Canada.
Stable isotopes in ecological and environmental studies
Seth Newsome & Emma Elliot Smith, University of New Mexico, USA.
Telemetry as a tool for animal ecology
Tenaya Norris, The Marine Mammal Center, USA.
Population genetics and conservation genetics
Larissa Rosa de Oliveira, UNISINOS, Brazil. Adrián Munguía-Vega, University of Arizona,
Passive Acoustic Monitoring and photo-ID database management
Sally Mizroch, NOAA, USA. Armando Jaramillo Legorreta, INECC, SEMARNAT, México.
Introduction to marine mammal rehabilitation and disease
Cara Field, The Marine Mammal Center, USA.
Behavioural ecology of marine mammals
Concepción García Aguilar, CICESE, México.
Diane Gendron, CICIMAR, México.
Sergio MarVnez Aguilar, UABCS, México.
For details and cost go to: www.escuelamexicanademamiferosmarinos.com
Ocean Alive Summer School (July 2019; Setúbal, Portugal)
This course targets young people with interest for ocean issues. It’s conducted in conjunction with the Polytechnic Institute of Setúbal – Marine Science and Experiential Learning Program.
This marine science course is embedded into our award-winning local sustainability project, “Seagrass Guardians”. Participants will take on the challenge of developing life-changing and balanced solutions as part of their final evaluation. The course will take place in Sado estuary, Setúbal, Portugal.
For more details go to: http://www.erasmus-journal.eu/summer-course-marine-science-and-experiential-learning-program-i-setubal-portugal-july-2019/
For a video please go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t1A_83p-1_M&t=6s
Application form: https://goo.gl/forms/t1At5PtuNuKzyyQp2
Fifth International Conference on the Effects of Noise on Aquatic Life (7-12 July 2019; Den Haag, The Netherlands)
Abstracts for AN2019 deadline is 28 Feb 2019.
You can access the Abstract Submission website here: https://www.eiseverywhere.com/eSites/364801/Homepage.
Instructions to access:
- Land on the homepage, once finished reviewing the homepage, click on ‘LOGIN’, top left-hand corner.
- Create your own profile entering the required details.
- Once your profile is created, there is an “add submissions” option. Click on the Submission tab top left, then click “add new” to add your first submission.
- Complete submission and uploading of abstract as per site format.
- Submit and save.
You can review your submission(s) on the submission page. Any queries relating to your abstract or the abstract submission process can be directed via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Once you have submitted your abstract, you can also register via the conference registration page here: https://www.eiseverywhere.com/ereg/index.php?eventid=364801&
Registration is a very simple process. Register sooner rather than later to secure your hotel reservation and early bird registration fee.
Any queries relating to your conference registration can be directed via email to email@example.com
We have secured funding to provide financial support to attend AN2019. You can apply here: http://www.an-2019.org/financial-support/
You must be first author on an abstract. While anybody wishing to attend AN2019 and needing support can apply, preference will be given to students and early career researchers.
You can follow the meeting on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/AquaticNoise2019/) and Twitter (@AquaticNoise). The website is regularly updated with new information about the meeting: an-2019.org
Marine Mammal Biology and Conservation Course (11-18 July 2019; Millport, Scotland)
- Location: Millport near Glasgow, Scotland
- Tutors: Dominic McCafferty, Anna McGregor, Chris Parsons and Jack Lucas
- Dates: Thursday 11 July 2019 to Thursday 18 July 2019
- Level: Intermediate
- RESIDENT (SOLE OCCUPANCY): £731 (includes food and accomodation for the course duration)
- RESIDENT(SHARED ROOM): £682 (includes food and accomodation for the course duration)
- NON-RESIDENT: £642
To register please visit: https://www.field-studies-council.org/individuals-and-families/courses/2019/mil/marine-mammals-81596.aspx
This field course is an intensive, comprehensive yet thoroughly enjoyable introduction to studying marine mammals. With dedicated vessel surveys, lab practicals, shore work and lectures that cover the whole spectrum of marine mammal science; this course is a one-of-kind experience into the world of whales, dolphins and seals led by experienced professionals. Their biology, physiology, ecology, conservation and sampling strategies will be detailed over the course by experts in different fields, with specific focus on practical sessions where data will be collected and analysed. These practicals include: a line-transect survey for birds and cetaceans, a seal colony behavioural study, an acoustic workshop, an otter diet analysis and a land-based observation for megafauna. The Clyde is home to a wide variety of marine megafauna and is the perfect setting for observing mammals and birds in the wild. The use of the marine station’s research vessel RV Actinia, state-of-the-art lab facilities, comfortable lecture theatres and specialist equipment are an integral part of this course, along with the specialisms of the teaching staff involved.
Please note this course is aimed at those who are currently undertaking, or have recently undertaken, a degree in a relevant scientific discipline or those pursuing post-graduate studies. The course currently hosts regular undergraduate cohorts from the Universities of Glasgow and Stirling, and is frequently attended by visiting international students.
If you are interested in staying at the Centre for additional nights, before or after the course, please contact the Centre for availability and costs which start from £25 for B&B, or £40 full board (we can confirm B&B availability 4 weeks prior to the course). Sunday rate £35.
For those paying the sole occupancy price, we are offering our guests a special rate for those who would like a twin room for them and their partner not enrolled on an FSC course, at £35 per night for dinner, bed and breakfast.
If you are based in the US and wish to take the course and/or wish to take the course for US college (undergraduate or graduate credit; 4.0 credit hours) please contact Dr Chris Parsons (firstname.lastname@example.org) for information on how to get to the field station and/or obtaining US credit.
Distance Sampling Training Workshops (August 2019; St Andrews, Scotland)
In August 2019, the Centre for Research into Ecological and Environmental Modelling (CREEM) at the University of St Andrews, Scotland, is hosting a series of linked, training workshops on distance sampling survey methods and analysis. Distance sampling (Buckland et al. 2001) is a widely used method of estimating density and abundance for marine mammals. Conducting such surveys are expensive and so it is important that survey designs and methods are appropriate. The introductory workshop covers the basic methods of distance sampling: for those wishing to learn more advanced methods, or indeed what to do when the basic assumptions of conventional distance sampling methods cannot be met, there is the ‘Advanced-level distance sampling’ workshop.
Introduction to R (for distance sampling): 19-20 August 2019
Many of the options available in the Distance for Windows program (Thomas et al. 2013) are now available in R (R Core Team, 2018) packages. The goal of this two-day workshop is to introduce participants to the R language and software for statistics, in the context of analysis of distance sampling data.
Introduction to Distance Sampling (using R): 21-23 August 2019
This workshop will give participants a solid grounding in the basic methods for design and analysis of distance sampling surveys. The statistical programming language R will be used for all computer sessions and therefore this workshop will be invaluable for those wishing to make the switch from the Distance for Windows program to R.
Advanced-level Distance Sampling: 26-30 August 2019
This workshop will cover the simulation of distance sampling surveys to allow different survey designs to be compared (thus allowing the user to select the most appropriate design), survey and analysis methods for estimating detection on the track line (i.e. double-observer methods) and spatial modelling of distance sampling data (as described in Miller et al. (2013)) to help describe and explain how animals use their habitat. The statistical programming language R will be used for all computer sessions.
For more information see https://www.creem.st-andrews.ac.uk/distance-workshops-st-andrews-2019/ or contact Louise Burt (email@example.com) or Rhona Rodger (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Buckland ST, Anderson DR, Burnham KP, Laake JL, Borchers DL and Thomas L (2001) Introduction to distance sampling: Estimating abundance of biological populations. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK
Miller DL, Burt ML, Rexstad EA & Thomas L (2013) Spatial models for distance sampling data: recent developments and future directions. Methods in Ecology and Evolution 4 (11):1001–1010. https://doi.org/10.1111/2041-210X.12105.
6th International Conference on Bio-Acoustics (13-14 August 2019; Loughborough University, UK)
The sixth International Conference on Bio-Acoustics, organised by the Institute of Acoustics, will be held at Holywell Park, Loughborough University, UK, 13-14 August 2019.
The purpose of the conference will be to review the present state of this continually evolving subject area, to report on new developments and to examine future trends. Equal emphasis will be given to papers dealing with underwater, land-based and airborne studies, covering work which includes but is not limited to the bio-acoustics of birds, bats, insects, and marine and terrestrial mammals.
Particular themes of this conference will embrace, but are not restricted to:
– Biological sound production and reception mechanisms
– Performance evaluation of biological active and passive sonar systems
– Biological acoustic countermeasures and predator evasion techniques
– Physiological and behavioural impacts of anthropogenic sound
– Acoustic methods to reduce contention between animals and man
– Measurement and instrumentation systems used to study biological sounds
– Classification and analysis techniques for biological sounds
– Bio-inspiration and bio-mimetics – applying nature’s solutions to man-made systems
– Fisheries acoustics and other industrial applications related to bio-acoustics.
This conference will include an area for posters, exhibits and demonstrations. The aim of the poster area is to allow the informal exchange of scientific ideas, views and information.
Presenting authors will be encouraged to make use of the poster area to further explore their topic. Space will be made available if they wish to demonstrate working equipment.
Prospective authors should submit a title and abstract (up to 300 words) to email@example.com, indicating whether they prefer poster or oral presentation.
Accepted abstracts will be listed on the website. Lead authors will be notified by email as soon as possible and will be given the option of submitting an extended abstract or a full paper by Friday 14 June 2019 for inclusion in the conference proceedings. Papers may be up to eight pages long, including diagrams, and must be prepared in the correct electronic format.
Further details of the conference, such as registration and programme will appear on the IOA web site www.ioa.org.uk when details have been finalised.
8th European Congress of Mammalogy (23-27 Sept 2019; Warsaw, Poland)
Please, mark the date and check www.ecm8.org for further details and to register to receive conference announcements. Information will be updated as it gets closer to the meeting.
The European Congresses of Mammalogy aim to bring together mammalian biologists from European and also non-European countries. The relaxed and friendly atmosphere of these congresses provides an excellent opportunity to hear the latest developments in various fields of mammalogy, to share research experience and expertise, and to develop new and closer contacts with colleagues from different countries.
Following the successful congresses in Lisbon (1991), Southampton (1995), Jyväskylä (1999), Brno (2003), Siena (2007), Paris (2011) and Stockholm (2015) it is now the turn of a Central European country to host this exciting event and to invite mammalogists to the 8th European Congress of Mammalogy (ECM8) in Warsaw, Poland.
The congress is going to be held on 23rd – 27th September 2019 at the Faculty of Biology, University of Warsaw.
The Ocean Sciences Meeting (16-21 February 2020; San Diego, California, USA)
Co-sponsored by AGU, the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO), and The Oceanography Society (TOS), this meeting provides attendees the opportunity to bridge disciplines, connect communities, and make lasting partnerships.