Greetings from the President
Greetings SMM Community,
It is hard to believe that one year ago many of us were in Spain sharing our science, reconnecting with colleagues and friends, and looking forward to our coming year of research and conservation. That feels like a lifetime ago and I am sure that we all agree that 2020 was nothing like what we had planned. We have all lost something this year – research opportunities, a sense of normalcy, and, for some, friends, colleagues and family. I hope that as we come to the end of an incredibly challenging year, you are all surrounded by friends and family and making plans for a better 2021. It will be better! Now to a little SMM business…
New Online Events
In the last few months we have rolled out a couple of new ways to engage with each other in the virtual world. The first is our SMM Seminars: Editors’ Select Series. This monthly series, hosted by our editor Daryl Boness, is intended to bring our journal, Marine Mammal Science, to life by sharing some of the papers our great panel of associate editors found particularly interesting. We are early into the effort but we have had two great speakers and excellent turnout. So thank you SMM community for making them successful. And thank you to the presenters and all authors who choose Marine Mammal Science as the final home for your research.
I am very happy that we were finally able to host the special session on unpaid internships. Many thanks to our presenters, organizers, and audience who helped make it a success. More on the panel is covered by our Diversity and Inclusion Committee a little later in this newsletter. This panel was the first of many hard topics I want us to dive into as a marine mammal community. There are so many “wicked problems” (as past-President Dr. Andy Read likes to refer to them) that face us in conservation, ethical dilemmas that confront us in how we as humans interact with marine mammals, and diversity, equity and inclusion challenges that demand attention to improve how we undertake our individual and collective mission. None of these will be solved through a few special sessions on the internet, but like our first special session, our hope is to facilitate a dialog and create greater understanding of the issues. We can help move us all towards solutions and maybe find one or two along the way.
These special sessions will only work if we are tackling topics that are of interest to a broad section of our community, so we are asking for your help to develop ideas. You can propose potential topics for panel discussions by filling out this form. We will then poll the SMM membership to see what topics are of greatest interest. If you are recommending an idea, please strongly consider being willing to help out making it come to fruition. I was surprised at how much time it took to organize even a simple panel. Many hands make light work. Even if your panel idea isn’t selected we might be able to provide support or a forum for you to take the lead on it. This doesn’t have to be driven solely by us! I look forward to seeing your ideas, and remember, it can be about any big topic or challenge relevant to our field. By the way, if you missed any of the sessions or thought they were so good you want to check them out again, they are available on our SMM YouTube Channel.
Time to Join the Board or a Committee?
As we get ready to roll into a new year it is time to start thinking about our next big event, the 24th Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals happening in December 2021. More on information on the conference is below.
There is one portion of the conference that is vitally important to the continuation of our Society – nominations! The Society persists because of the hard work and commitment of your volunteer elected officers and committee chairs and members. It isn’t easy work and I am thankful for all the individuals who have stepped up to nurture and grow our Society over the years. It might be your time to stand for election at the next conference. If you are interested or just curious about what being on the board entails, please do not hesitate to reach out to me or any elected officer. Our contact details can be found here.
If being an elected officer is too much commitment for you, but you would still like to be involved with advancing our Society, please reach out to any of our committee chairs to see if there is an opportunity to join. We are always looking for motivated people who want to help advance our many efforts to support good science, early career researchers, conservation and more.
A Very Important Ask to Our US Membership
As noted above, 2020 has been a testing year for all of us. It has also been hard for non-profits, such as the Society for Marine Mammalogy, as charitable donations have declined while the world navigates financial uncertainty. These donations fund some of our most vital functions like supporting student travel, small grants in aid of research, and our many awards. But if there is one thing that we have learned this year, it is the importance of togetherness and giving in face of adversity. To our members from the United States, you have a unique opportunity to support our global marine mammal community. Visit here to make a US tax-deductible donation to the Society for Marine Mammalogy’s general operating fund or the program of your choice.
We want to take a moment to inform you about Section 2104 of the CARES Act, which allows donors to deduct cash donations up to $300 without needing to itemize deductions for the 2020 tax year. If you are interested in supporting the SMM through a charitable donation, we the SMM Board and all the members you help, would be incredibly grateful. Please review the linked article that outlines a 100% tax benefit for those donating prior to year’s end. It probably goes without saying but I am required to mention – I am not qualified to give tax advice. Please consult tax professionals for more details.
All right, that is enough from me so I will leave where I started – hoping you are safe and well and that 2021 will be much better for all of us. As always, if you have ideas that would make our Society better or more useful to our members, please let me know. Look out for great things from the Society for Marine Mammalogy in 2021.
With much aloha,
President, Society for Marine Mammalogy
From the Diversity and Inclusion Committee
By Eric Archer and Tara Cox
Thank you to all who joined us on November 25, 2020 for our forum on unpaid positions. In particular we would like to thank our panelists, Drs. Auriel Fournier, Diane Gendron, Tara Cox, and Cindy Peter, who took the time to share their experiences and important perspectives. We’ve had a lot of feedback that these were greatly appreciated and helpful in framing our discussion. For those of you who missed it, a recording of the live event is available here. We covered a lot of ground during the event, and for that we found the discussion to be very productive. However, there were also many comments made and questions posed that we just did not have the time to address. We are in the process of collating them and following up. We hope to share these and continue the conversation over the next 4-6 weeks. We welcome any other input members of the community may have in the interim.
Thank you for being a part of this important conversation.
Auriel Fournier, Diane Gendron, Tara Cox (not pictured above), and Cindy Peter shared their perspectives and experiences regarding unpaid positions during this panel, moderated by SMM Ad hoc Diversity and Inclusion Committee Co-Chair, Eric Archer.
From the Awards Committee
By Lindsay Porter
Although the Awards Committee appears to work more visibly at the Biennial Conference, there are several awards and scholarships that are offered and assessed between meetings. In 2020, the second Louis M. Herman Research Scholarship winner was announced and, in the next few months, a call for applications for the EBS Award will be made. There are also two awards for papers submitted to Marine Mammal Science: the F.G. Wood Award for the best student paper and the John R. Twiss Jr. Award for the best student paper that describes innovative research related to marine mammal habitat and ecosystem conservation. As we are all, perhaps, spending less time in the field, there may be an opportunity for students to prepare manuscripts specifically for our journal awards.
None of the work this committee does would be possible without the dedication and commitment of the Awards team. Many thanks to the outgoing committee members and a warm welcome to our new committee, comprising both new members and those who still wished to contribute.
Awards Committee 2020-2022
Simon Allen, The University of Western Australia, Australia and Bristol University, UK
Luis Bedrinana-Romano, Universidad Austral de Chile, Chile
Kimberley Bennett, Abertay University, Scotland
Daryl Boness, Editor-in-Chief, Marine Mammal Science
Louise Chilvers, Massey University, New Zealand
Alyson Fleming, Smithsonian, USA
Daniela Haro Díaz, Santo Tomás University, Chile
Leslie New, Washington State University, USA
Kelsey Potlock, US Fish and Wildlife Service, USA
Jack Yang, National University of Taiwan, Taiwan
This year, the committee shall be discussing its ability to address some of the challenges identified for early career scientists and scientists from under-resourced nations during the unpaid internship debate.
The Committee always welcomes input from our membership, including suggestions for new awards and scholarships. Please do not hesitate to email us if you wish to play a role in this committee or have suggestions for us: email@example.com.
From the Committe of Scientific Advisors
By Doug Wartzok
As previously announced by our President, Charles Littnan, the SMM Board has agreed to a recommendation from the Committee of Scientific Advisors to amend the Small Grant in Aid of Research (SGIAR) program. Beginning with the 2021 funding cycle, applicants can request a portion of the award to be allocated as a stipend. Specifically, SGIAR guidelines now allow applicants to provide “a detailed one-year, itemized budget identifying and justifying specific requests for equipment, supplies, travel to field sites, operational expenses, and up to 25% of the total budget as a stipend. Total budget is not to exceed US $2,000.”
Find out more and follow the SMM-funded research of SMM 2020 SGIAR winners such as Michelle Rosales Inda (pictured above) here.
From the Board of Editors of Marine Mammal Science
By Daryl Boness
We are pleased to see the new Marine Mammal Science Editors’ Select series is off to a good start. The next presentation will be Trevor Branch presenting the research behind Marine Mammal Science paper, “Sex ratios in blue whales from conception onward: effects of space, time, and body size” on January 14, 2021.
Reserve your spot for this free 1-hour presentation followed by a Q&A session here.
If you missed the first two presentations, or would like to rewatch or share, Sean Brillant’s December 10, 2020 presentation, “Assessing the lethality of ship strikes on whales using simple biophysical models” is available here and Elizabeth Titcomb’s November 12, 2020 presentation, ““Tiger Stripes” on Estuarine Dolphins?” is available for viewing here.
Marine Mammal Science Podcast
By Chris Parsons
The Marine Mammal Science Podcast continues to draw strong listenership in 87 countries. Visit our website to peruse past episodes and subscribe. In case you missed it, the most recent episode features Dr. Ashley Scarlett and Dr. Lori Marino in a discussion on Dolphin Brains and Their Intelligence.
We are seeking sponsors to keep this excellent podcast alive! Podcast advertisements are one of the most effective and affordable ways to reach your ideal audience. Contact Charles Littnan (firstname.lastname@example.org) to discuss affordable, tailored sponsorship opportunities that will get your programs and products seen and support this new initiative.
From the 2021 Conference Committee
By Amy Hirons and Jeremy Kiszka
SMM2021 will be the very first fully hybrid live-virtual conference of the Society of Marine Mammalogy, and we anticipate that it will attract the largest number of attendees we’ve hosted to date.
This hybrid live-virtual conference will provide a venue for people to share ideas, discuss important issues, and energize proactive approaches and allow for thousands of marine mammal scientists and enthusiasts who have previously been unable to participate. SMM2021 will reflect the Society’s desire to make the conference truly accessible and inclusive to the widest audience.
Our conference aims to push boundaries and will be more sustainable and inclusive than ever! We are working hard on a blue-green initiative and are dedicated to enhancing the diversity of conference attendees. Rest assured that we will continue to monitor health guidelines related to COVID-19. Our top priority is to provide a safe and healthy environment for all participants at SMM2021.
More information on SMM2021 will be announced in the coming year.
Upcoming Presentations, Conferences and Events
Marine Mammal Science Editors’ Select Series (see seminar flyer above)
Online January 14, 2021, 17:00 Pacific Time
Presenter: Trevor Branch, PhD.
Title: Sex ratios in blue whales from conception onward: effects of space, time, and body size
Free to Attend. Space is Limited. Register Here.
American Cetacean Society Conference
SAVE THE DATE: Online January 30, 2021
The ACS International Conference is going virtual! Amazing speakers, Q&A sessions, organization updates, and more-LIVE streamed to you. Tune in from the comfort of your couch (or kitchen table or bed or wherever you have an internet connection)! The conference will be FREE of charge.
Gianna Minton, PhD
Peter Corkeron, PhD
Louisa Ponnampalam, PhD
J.G.M. ‘Hans’ Thewissen, PhD
Lori Marino, PhD
Michelle Fournet, PhD
Find out more at ACS — updates coming soon!
Mindful Conservation Conference
Online January 4-9, 2021
Do you work in marine conservation or the environment, and the field is getting you down? Is your work environment stressful or toxic? Are all of the paper, grant or job application rejections getting to you? Are you depressed about the state of the planet and feeling frustrated about being able to do little to help?
Then come to the Mindful Conservation Conference. A meeting designed to help those working in marine conservation science or practice, to cope with the trials and tribulations of the career. Several speakers from the field of marine mammal science will be featured, including Drs. Claire Simeone, Chris Parsons, Fabien Ritter and Ashley Scarlett.
Tickets start from $30
Training Course: An Introduction to Basic Statistics for Biologists using R
Online January 18-21, 2021
We will be running an instructor-led online course in January 2021 based around our latest book, An Introduction to Basic Statistics for Biologists using R. It will be held over Zoom video-conferencing and will provide all the practical knowledge and experience you need to get started with analysing biological data using R. As a result, no previous experience with R or statistical analysis is required to do this course.
It will run from the 18th and the 21st of January 2021. The course will consist of four three-hour sessions, and one session will need to be completed each day. However, you will have a choice of completing it between 10:00 and 13:00 Greenwich Mean Time (primarily for those living in Europe, Asia and Africa) or 18:00 to 21:00 Greenwich Mean Time (primarily for those living in North and South America). This choice of time slots for each session allows participants from as wide a range of time zones to participate in the course.
Attendance will be limited to a maximum of 24 people per session. The fees for this course are GBP 250 per person (with a discounted rate of GBP 195 for students, the unwaged and those working for registered charities). To book a place, or for more information, you can either email us at info@GISinEcology.com or click on the link below.
This course will be hosted by Dr. Ross MacLeod, one of the authors of An Introduction to Basic Statistics for Biologists using R.
Marine Mammal Science Journal
Volume 36, Issue 4
Pages: 1078-1366 | October 2020
Maximizing surveillance through spatial characterization of marine mammal stranding hot spots
Jennifer K. Olson, John Aschoff, Alice Goble, Shawn Larson, Joseph K. Gaydos
Pages: 1083-1096, First Published: 05 May 2020
Mating patterns of dusky dolphins (Lagenorhynchus obscurus) explored using an unmanned aerial vehicle
Dara N. Orbach, Jordan Eaton, Lorenzo Fiori, Sarah Piwetz, Jody S. Weir, Melany Würsig, Bernd Würsig
Pages: 1097-1110, First Published: 29 April 2020
Gray whales hear and respond to signals from a 21–25 kHz active sonar
Adam S. Frankel, Peter J. Stein
Pages: 1111-1125, First Published: 10 May 2020
Factors influencing dolphin depredation in coastal fisheries of the northern Aegean Sea: Implications on defining mitigation measures
Androniki Pardalou, Athanassios C. Tsikliras
Pages: 1126-1149, First Published: 15 June 2020
Social behavior increases in multipod aggregations of southern Alaska resident killer whales (Orcinus orca)
Daniel W. Olsen, Craig O. Matkin, Franz J. Mueter, Shannon Atkinson
Pages: 1150-1159, First Published: 04 July 2020
Respiration cycle duration and seawater flux through open blowholes of humpback (Megaptera novaeangliae) and North Atlantic right (Eubalaena glacialis) whales
Maria Clara Iruzun Martins, Carolyn Miller, Phillip Hamilton, Jooke Robbins, Daniel P. Zitterbart, Michael Moore
Pages: 1160-1179, First Published: 29 May 2020
Occurrence, site fidelity, and associations of oceanic common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) off northeastern New Zealand
Jochen R. Zaeschmar, Gabriela Tezanos‐Pinto, Sarah L. Dwyer, Catherine H. Peters, Jo Berghan, David Donnelly, Anna M. Meissner, Ingrid N. Visser, Jody S. Weir, Alastair G. Judkins, Tom Brough, Marta Guerra, Lily Kozmian‐Ledward, Karen A. Stockin
Pages: 1180-1195, First Published: 04 July 2020
DNA metabarcoding of feces to infer summer diet of Pacific walruses
Sarah A. Sonsthagen, Chadwick V. Jay, Robert S. Cornman, Anthony S. Fischbach, Jacqueline M. Grebmeier, Sandra L. Talbot
Pages: 1196-1211, First Published: 24 July 2020
Maternal behaviors of gray whales (Eschrichtius robustus) on a summer foraging site
Rianna E. Burnham, David A. Duffus
Pages: 1212-1230, First Published: 02 July 2020
Age‐related differences in gut microbial community composition of captive spotted seals (Phoca largha)
Jiashen Tian, Jing Du, Jiabo Han, Xinran Song, Zhichuang Lu
Pages: 1231-1240, First Published: 10 August 2020
Passive acoustic monitoring of the distribution patterns of Irrawaddy dolphins (Orcaella brevirostris) in the middle reaches of the Ayeyarwady River, Myanmar
Zhi‐Tao Wang, Peng‐Xiang Duan, Tomonari Akamatsu, Ke‐Xiong Wang, Ding Wang
Pages: 1241-1253, First Published: 04 July 2020
Ecological implications of unprecedented warm water anomalies on interannual prey preferences and foraging areas of Guadalupe fur seals
María José Amador‐Capitanachi, Xchel G. Moreno‐Sánchez, Phalom Denohi Ventura‐Domínguez, Ariadna Juárez‐Ruiz, Eduardo González‐Rodríguez, Casandra Gálvez, Tenaya Norris, Fernando R. Elorriaga‐Verplancken
Pages: 1254-1270, First Published: 18 July 2020
Common bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) social structure and distribution changes following the 2008 Unusual Mortality Event in the Indian River Lagoon, Florida
Kristin Brightwell, Elizabeth Murdoch Titcomb, Marilyn Mazzoil, Quincy Gibson
Pages: 1271-1290, First Published: 17 July 2020
Reproductive parameters of franciscana dolphins (Pontoporia blainvillei) of Southeastern Brazil
Débora F. Silva, Rodrigo A. Barbosa, Valéria R. M. Conversani, Silvina Botta, Aleta A. Hohn, Marcos C. de O. Santos
Pages: 1291-1308, First Published: 18 July 2020
Physical maturity in common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) from Sarasota Bay, Florida
Rebeccah A. Hazelkorn, Randall S. Wells, Zachary A. Siders, Ruth DeLynn, Gretchen N. Lovewell
Pages: 1309-1321, First Published: 17 September 2020
Reproductive and stress‐related hormones in whiskers from two North Pacific phocids: Harbor and ringed seals
Mandy J. Keogh, Patrick Charapata, Shawna Karpovich, Aubree Jones, Caitlin Sprowls, Christopher D. Marshall
Pages: 1322-1333, First Published: 30 June 2020
Blowhole anomaly in pantropical spotted dolphin (Delphinidae: Stenella attenuata)
Carolina Iozzi Relvas, Michael Moore, Lucas Milmann
Pages: 1334-1338, First Published: 17 June 2020
Southeast Pacific blue whale song recorded off Isla Chañaral, northern Chile
Julie Patris, Susannah J. Buchan, Giselle Alosilla, Naysa Balcazar‐Cabrera, Franck Malige, Hervé Glotin
Pages: 1339-1346, First Published: 07 September 2020
Calibration of aerial photogrammetry to estimate elephant seal mass
Diana C. Alvarado, Patrick W. Robinson, Nicolas C. Frasson, Daniel P. Costa, Roxanne S. Beltran
Pages: 1347-1355, First Published: 14 July 2020
Building genomic infrastructure: Sequencing platinum‐standard reference‐quality genomes of all cetacean species
Phillip A. Morin, Alana Alexander, Mark Blaxter, Susana Caballero, Olivier Fedrigo, Michael C. Fontaine, Andrew D. Foote, Shigehiro Kuraku, Brigid Maloney, Morgan L. McCarthy, Michael R. McGowen, Jacquelyn Mountcastle, Mariana F. Nery, Morten Tange Olsen, Patricia E. Rosel, Erich D. Jarvis
Pages: 1356-1366, First Published: 17 August 2020
About the Society for Marine Mammalogy
The mission of the international Society for Marine Mammalogy (SMM) is to promote the global advancement of marine mammal science and contribute to its relevance and impact in education, conservation and management.