Category Archives: Editors’ Select Series

SMM Seminar Editors’ Select Series: Insights from genetic analyses of Eastern North Atlantic right whales

This series highlights the latest and most exciting marine mammal science published in the Marine Mammal Science Journal. The SMM created this series to give scientists and citizens around the world a chance to engage with marine mammal scientists, learn and ask questions. All are welcome!

Thursday, June 16th at 4 PM ADT (12 PM PDT / 3 PM EDT / 7 PM GMT )
SMM Seminar Editors’ Select Series: Examining the Eastern North Atlantic right whale: insights from genetic analysis
with Dr. Brenna Frasier

This event is free to attend and presented online via Zoom, but registration is required.
Register here:
 https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_hLrr4SKAQi-wLPXyakLgtA
Space on Zoom is limited to the first 500 attendees. The talk will also be streamed live on the SMM Facebook page.

About this talk:
The North Atlantic right whale was once present in both the Western and Eastern North Atlantic, but has been extirpated from the Eastern North Atlantic as a result of over a thousand years of whaling activities. It has not been identified whether the animals that were once present in the Eastern North Atlantic were a distinct population from the small group of animals remaining today in the Western North Atlantic. Whaling records suggest that animals in each of these regions may have had distinct habitats, and possibly distinct populations, but what does genetic data suggest? To address this question, we examined the genetic characteristics of mitochondrial and nuclear DNA from 24 whale bones that range in age from the 4th to the 20th century from around the North Atlantic. The interpretation of the results is challenging, especially in a species that has a long history of commercial whaling. However, all evidence combined suggests that there was some degree of isolation between whales in each of these two regions.

About the presenter:
Brenna Frasier is trained as a biologist and has studied marine mammals for almost 25 years. Her research has focused on DNA analysis (primarily ancient DNA) as a tool to address evolutionary, conservation and species management questions with a particular interest in examining human use of whales over the last millennia, whether for commercial or subsistence use. This has culminated in projects examining 20th century whaling in Antarctica, 16th century Basque whaling of right and bowhead whales along the coast of Canada, and Norse whale-use over the past 1000 years around the North Atlantic. While most of her work has focused on marine mammals such as the North Atlantic right whale, beluga whale and Maritimes walrus, she has also studied a variety of other animals, including the Sable Island horses and several bat species.

Brenna has a passion for facilitating science and natural history learning and communicating science in unique and natural environments which has led to an array of other outreach-based projects including the development of marine mammal and forensic science camps for teens, supporting a local Forest School, writing for an array of audiences and completing field guides to assist in Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) studies on marine mammals in the Canadian Arctic. She is currently the Curator of Zoology of the Nova Scotia Museum, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Open access to this article is made temporarily available in the weeks around the presentation and can be found here. Current SMM members have access to all other Marine Mammal Science papers.

Missed a presentation or want to share this series with a friend? All previous Editors’ Select  presentations are recorded and archived on our YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLUc78IynQlubS2DVS1VZoplf_t42-yZOO

SMM Seminar Editors’ Select Series: Feeding tactics of resident Bryde’s whales in New Zealand

This series highlights the latest and most exciting marine mammal science published in the Marine Mammal Science Journal. The SMM created this series to give scientists and citizens around the world a chance to engage with marine mammal scientists, learn and ask questions. All are welcome.

Thursday, May 19th at 4 pm PDT / 7 pm EDT / 11 pm GMT (Friday, May 20th at 11 am NZST)
SMM Seminar Editors’ Select Series: Feeding tactics of resident Bryde’s whales in New Zealand

This event is free to attend and presented online via Zoom, but registration is required.
Register here:
 https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_90MvXhciTZ61bj-3rNwA-g
Space on Zoom is limited to the first 500 attendees. The talk will also be streamed live on the SMM Facebook page.

About this talk:
Baleen whales are the largest mammals on earth, but many questions about their behaviour remain unanswered as they are submerged in the pelagic environment. Among baleen whales, Bryde’s whales are one of the least known. They are a non-migrating species of baleen whale with a wide distribution. There is a small (∼ 135) year-round population of Bryde’s whales in the Hauraki Gulf, New Zealand. We investigated their foraging behaviour using data collected by an archival tag (DTAG2), boat-based surveys, and drones. Our investigation not only revealed some interesting aspects of their foraging behaviour, but also helped us to understand other aspects of their lives such as rest.

About the presenter:
After receiving a Master’s in Marine Mammal Science from the University of St. Andrews, Sahar moved to New Zealand to do a PhD at the University of Auckland. She completed her PhD on behavioural ecology of Bryde’s whales and graduated in 2019. Since then, she has been doing something completely different from marine mammal science — she is a co-founder at a tech start-up in New Zealand. However, she hasn’t distanced herself from science; she continues to work on the papers from her PhD and plans to return to the marine science world full-time in the future.

Open access to all Marine Mammal Science papers is available to current SMM members. Open access to this article is made temporarily available to the public in the weeks around the presentation and can be found here.

Missed a presentation or want to share this series with a friend? All previous Editors’ Select  presentations are recorded and archived on our YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLUc78IynQlubS2DVS1VZoplf_t42-yZOO

SMM Seminar Editors’ Select Series: Tagging, Ranging Patterns, and Behavior of Franciscana Dolphins off Argentina and Brazil

The SMM Seminar Editor’s Select Series highlights the latest and most exciting marine mammal science published in the Marine Mammal Science Journal. The SMM created this series to give scientists and citizens around the world a chance to engage with marine mammal scientists, learn and ask questions. All are welcome.

Thursday, 21 April 2022 at 3 pm EDT (12 pm PDT / 7 pm GMT)
SMM Seminar Editors’ Select Series:
Tagging, Ranging Patterns, and Behavior of Franciscana Dolphins off Argentina and Brazil

This event is free to attend and presented online via Zoom, but registration is required.
Register here:
 https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_dTGrhyElS5iYsRTejxMSVQ
Space on Zoom is limited to the first 500 attendees. The talk will also be streamed live on the SMM Facebook page.

About this talk:
Franciscanas are the most endangered cetaceans in the Southwestern Atlantic, where they are exposed to human activities such as artisanal gillnet fishing and coastal development. A need for information on ranging patterns and behavior led to efforts to attach satellite-linked tags to franciscanas in three bays in Argentina and Brazil during 2005-2013. Residency, with small home ranges, occurred at each site. Movements were influenced by tides. The dolphins used the entire water column, exposing them to gillnets regardless of net depth. Definable ranges facilitate relating specific geographically based threats to appropriate population units, increasing the potential for effective conservation.

About the presenter:
Randall Wells is a co-founder and directs the Chicago Zoological Society’s Sarasota Dolphin Research Program, which conducts the world’s longest-running study of a wild dolphin population. He began studying bottlenose dolphins in Sarasota Bay, Florida, as a high school volunteer at Mote Marine Laboratory in 1970. Wells received his Bachelor’s degree in Zoology from the University of South Florida in 1975, his Masters in Zoology from the University of Florida in 1978, his PhD in Biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 1986, and he was awarded a post-doctoral fellowship with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in 1987.  Wells joined the Chicago Zoological Society staff in 1989. Wells’ current research program uses a collaborative approach to examine the behavior, social structure, life history, ecology, health, and population biology of bottlenose dolphins along the central west coast of Florida, with studies focusing on up to five concurrent generations of a locally resident ~170-member dolphin community.  Recent research topics include the effects of human activities on coastal dolphins, such as boat traffic, fishing activities, human feeding of wild dolphins, and environmental contaminants, and the impacts of other environmental disturbances such as red tides. He has also conducted research on a variety of marine mammals including Hawaiian spinner, Atlantic spotted, franciscana and other dolphin species, vaquita porpoises, bowhead, humpback, blue, and gray whales, and manatees. Wells is past-President of the international Society for Marine Mammalogy, and received the society’s Kenneth S. Norris Lifetime Achievement Award in 2021.

Dr. Wells will be joined by his co-authors, Drs. Marta Cremer, Leonardo Berninsone, and Krystan Wilkinson, for a Q&A session following his presentation.

 

Open access to all Marine Mammal Science papers is available to current SMM members. Open access to this article is made temporarily available to the public in the weeks around the presentation and can be found here.

Missed a presentation or want to share this series with a friend? All previous Editors’ Select  presentations are recorded and archived on our YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLUc78IynQlubS2DVS1VZoplf_t42-yZOO

SMM Seminar Editors’ Select Series: Sperm whale echolocation and foraging behavior during different sea states and sonar exposures

The SMM Seminar Editor’s Select Series highlights the latest and most exciting marine mammal science published in the Marine Mammal Science Journal. The SMM created this series to give scientists and citizens around the world a chance to engage with marine mammal scientists, learn and ask questions. All are welcome.

Thursday, 24 March 2022 at 9 am PST (12 pm EST / 5 pm GMT)
SMM Seminar Editors’ Select Series: Sperm whale echolocation and foraging behavior during different sea states and sonar exposures — indications of masking?

About this talk:
Marine mammals that rely on sound for important life functions, such as echolocation, have evolved strategies to cope with auditory masking. However, these may not be completely effective or cost-free, raising concern for anthropogenic noise impacts. We investigated whether sperm whales (N=15 individuals with sound- and movement-recording tags) exhibited behaviors consistent with masking during experimental exposures to navy sonar and wind-generated surface noise. Compared to strong variation with depth, foraging and echolocation behavior was relatively stable throughout different sea states and sonar exposures. Nevertheless, small increase in apparent click levels and reduced prey capture attempts were consistent with our hypotheses for masking from sea state and sonar.

About the presenter:
Dr Saana Isojunno is a behavioral ecologist at the University of St Andrews, Scotland, based at the Centre for Research into Ecological and Environmental Modelling (CREEM). She also works closely with the Sea Mammal Research Unit (SMRU). She majored in fisheries and hydrobiology at University of Jyvaskylä, Finland, before she moved to St Andrews where she gained a masters in Marine Mammal Science in 2008 and a PhD in sperm whale foraging behavior and anthropogenic disturbance in 2014. Her research strives to better understand how individuals respond to, and cope with, environmental stressors and human activities. She focuses on applied questions such as the effects of underwater noise and marine renewables while drawing from fundamental science such as the non-consumptive effects of predators on prey.

Open access to all Marine Mammal Science papers is available to current SMM members. Open access to this article is made temporarily available to the public in the weeks around the presentation and can be found here.

Missed a presentation or want to share this series with a friend? All previous Editors’ Select  presentations are recorded and archived on our YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLUc78IynQlubS2DVS1VZoplf_t42-yZOO

SMM Seminar Editors’ Select Series: Ice seals as sentinels for algal toxin presence in the Alaskan Arctic

The SMM Seminar Editor’s Select Series highlights the latest and most exciting marine mammal science published in the Marine Mammal Science Journal. The SMM created this series to give scientists and citizens around the world a chance to engage with marine mammal scientists, learn and ask questions. All are welcome.

Thursday, 17 February 2022 at 7 PM EST (4 PM PST / 12 AM UTC)
SMM Seminar Editors’ Select Series:
Ice seals as sentinels for algal toxin presence in the Alaskan Arctic

This event is free to attend and presented online on Zoom, but registration required.
Register here:
 https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_j-IwEcQQRAGoRFv8mpZIoA
Space on Zoom is limited to the first 500 attendees. The talk will also be streamed live on the SMM Facebook page.

About this talk:
The algal-produced neurotoxins domoic acid and saxitoxin permeate food webs in the Alaskan Arctic and subarctic, potentially threatening the health of high-level consumers. As water temperatures continue to rise in the Arctic due to climate change, marine mammal exposures to these toxins may be increasing as warmer ocean temperatures are more favorable for toxic algal blooms. We analyzed domoic acid and saxitoxin presence and levels in samples from the gastrointestinal tracts of almost one thousand Alaskan ice seals harvested over fifteen years for subsistence purposes. Though no clinical signs of health impacts were reported in harvested seals, one or both toxins were found in all four species studied. Additionally, the number of ice seal stomach content samples containing DA increased over time in seals collected in the Bering Sea, suggesting an increase in toxin prevalence in the region. Increasing toxin exposure in ecologically and culturally critical Alaskan species, including ice seals, raises concerns for potential health impacts if toxins continue to increase in the future.

About the presenter:
Alicia Hendrix is a PhD student in the University of Washington’s Environmental Toxicology program. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Scripps College. Her work has taken her throughout the Americas, studying threats to marine ecosystems as diverse as the Pacific intertidal and the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef with organizations including the Cape Eleuthera Institute and the NOAA Fisheries. Her research interests include toxin and toxicant impacts on wildlife and human health, and methods for promoting ecosystem resilience in the face of new threats. She has mentored or taught students at elementary, high school, and undergraduate levels, and believes strongly in building partnerships with coastal communities to amplify regional voices and knowledge.

Open access to all Marine Mammal Science papers is available to current SMM members. Open access to this article is made temporarily available to the public in the weeks around the presentation and can be found here.

Missed a presentation or want to share this series with a friend? All previous Editors’ Select  presentations are recorded and archived on our YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLUc78IynQlubS2DVS1VZoplf_t42-yZOO

SMM Seminar Editors’ Select Series: Friends Through Thick and Thin: How Injuries Disrupt Bottlenose Dolphin Associations

The SMM Seminar Editor’s Select Series highlights the latest and most exciting marine mammal science published in the Marine Mammal Science Journal. The SMM created this series to give scientists and citizens around the world a chance to engage with marine mammal scientists, learn and ask questions. All are welcome.

Thursday, 16 December 2021 at 4 PM EDT (1 PM PDT / 9 PM UTC)
SMM Seminar Editors’ Select Series:
Friends Through Thick and Thin: How Injuries Disrupt Bottlenose Dolphin Associations

About this talk:
Social connectivity is important for measuring the fitness of common bottlenose dolphins because social relationships can enhance survival, reproduction and foraging success.  Human-related injuries such as boat strikes or fishing gear entanglements can potentially remove an individual from its association network and disrupt these relationships. Using data from the long-term resident dolphin community in Sarasota Bay, Florida, we investigated how these injuries affect the dolphins’ social associations by examining the differences in their social networks before and after injury. We found that while injured dolphins were found in groups of similar size to those prior to their injury, their number of preferential associations (i.e., their best friends) seemed to decline immediately after injury but were often regained within two years following injury. An individual’s strongest associations, namely those between mothers and calves and those between male alliance partners, remained stable before and after injury. Because dolphins rely on these relationships for survival, increased occurrence of injury from boating and fishing may put the animals at greater risk for long-term survival, including making them more vulnerable to predation.

About the presenter and co-authors:
Michelle Greenfield is a veterinary student at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine (2023). She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in ecology and evolutionary biology from Princeton University where she began her research with the Chicago Zoological Society’s Sarasota Dolphin Research Program. Since then, Michelle has continued her studies of marine mammals working with organizations such as Hubbs SeaWorld Research Institute and the United States Navy’s Marine Mammal Program. Her research interests focus on bottlenose dolphin social behavior and regenerative medicine in marine mammals. In addition to her research and clinical work, Michelle is the producer and host of Aquadocs Podcast, a top 50 life sciences podcast and the leading podcast on aquatic veterinary medicine (www.aquadocspodcast.com).

Open access to all Marine Mammal Science papers is available to current SMM members. Open access to this article will be made temporarily available to the public during the week prior to and of the presentation.

Missed a presentation or want to share this series with a friend? All previous Editors’ Select  presentations are recorded and archived on our YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLUc78IynQlubS2DVS1VZoplf_t42-yZOO

 

SMM Editors’ Select Series: Patterns of mortality in endangered Cook Inlet beluga whales with Dr. Tamara McGuire

The SMM Seminar Editor’s Select Series highlights the latest and most exciting marine mammal science published in the Marine Mammal Science Journal. The SMM created this series to give scientists and citizens around the world a chance to engage with marine mammal scientists, learn and ask questions. All are welcome.

Tuesday, 16 November 2021 at 2 PM AKST (3 PM PDT / 10 PM UTC)
SMM Seminar Editors’ Select Series:
Patterns of mortality in endangered Cook Inlet beluga whales:
Insights from pairing a long-term photo-identification study with stranding records with Dr. Tamara McGuire of the Cook Inlet Beluga Whale Photo-ID Project.

About this talk:
To understand why endangered beluga whales in Cook Inlet Alaska are not recovering despite over a decade of legal protections, we need to understand recent demographic patterns and sources of the population’s mortality. We used photographic records of individually identified live belugas collected over 13 years and combined them with stranding data from belugas found dead during the same period to assess mortality patterns.  Dead females and males were evenly represented. For both males and females, mortality rates were greatest in reproductive-aged adults, and there were no very-old adults. Live stranding was the most commonly assigned cause of death, but did not account for the majority of deaths. The cause(s) of most deaths and live strandings were undetermined. Our analysis advances the current understanding of mortality patterns in CIBWs, but linking a greater proportion of carcasses to photo-ID individuals and collecting more data from stranded carcasses would further improve our understanding of the causes of mortality in this population; we conclude with recommendations for achieving this.

About the presenter and co-authors:
Dr. Tamara McGuire is the Principal Investigator for the Cook Inlet Beluga Whale Photo-ID project. She has studied marine mammals for over 25 years and is interested in habitat use, life history, behavior, and the effects of human activities on endangered and threatened aquatic species and their habitats. She has studied marine mammals in Alaska since 2006, and before that on the Oregon Coast and in the Orinoco and Amazon River Basins. She has worked with Federal, Tribal, and State agencies, NGOs, and private industry. She led the Cook Inlet Beluga Recovery Team and is an advocate for collaborative research. Kim Shelden is a marine biologist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration based at the Marine Mammal Laboratory of the Alaska Fisheries Science Center. She has worked for the Cetacean Assessment and Ecology Program since 1990 studying species present seasonally and year-round in Alaska waters including Cook Inlet belugas, North Pacific right whales, bowhead whales, gray whales, Pacific white-sided dolphins, and harbor porpoise. Dr. Gina Himes Boor is Assistant Research Professor in the Ecology Department Montana State University. Her research focuses on developing models to better understand the demographic and spatial-use patterns that contribute to the decline and recovery of imperiled species. Amber Stephens has studied marine mammals since 1998, including beluga whales, Steller sea lions, harbor seals, narwhals, and Pacific walrus.  A CI on the CIBW Photo-ID Project, her responsibilities include cataloging, field work, public outreach, and website management. John McClung joined the Cook Inlet Beluga Whale Photo-ID Project in 2017 and has over ten years of photo-identification experience of cetaceans including humpback whales, melon-headed whales, and belugas. Prior to receiving his MS in wildlife science from Oregon State University, he served 26 years in the U.S. Air Force. Christopher Garner is a biologist for the Department of Defense at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.  He has studied beluga and harbor porpoise in upper Cook Inlet since 2001 with emphasis on beluga ecology within rivers emptying into a hypertidal region as well as the effects of military activity on marine mammals and their prey. Dr. Carrie Goertz is the Director of Animal Health at the Alaska SeaLife Center where she oversees veterinary care for animals in the aquarium and out in the field, working with sea birds, fish, invertebrates, sea otters, seals, sea lions, beluga, and other marine animals. Dr. Kathy Burek Huntington has been the pathologist for the Alaska stranding program and in particular for the Cook Inlet belugas for 23 years and works collaboratively with the rest of the stranding network throughout Alaska. She is particularly interested in emerging pathogens, harmful algal bloom toxins, pathology, the intersections of these topics with climate change, and mentoring young scientists in pathology. Dr. Greg O’Corry-Crowe is a behavioral ecologist and geneticist focused on marine mammals and conservation. He runs the Wildlife Evolution and Behavior (WEB) program at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute and is a research professor at Florida Atlantic University. Bruce Wright is an ecologist with the Knik Tribe whose work focuses on Alaska marine and terrestrial top predators.

Open access to all Marine Mammal Science papers is available to current SMM members. Open access to this article will be made temporarily available to the public during the week prior to and of the presentation.

Missed a presentation or want to share this series with a friend? All previous Editors’ Select  presentations are recorded and archived on our YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLUc78IynQlubS2DVS1VZoplf_t42-yZOO

SMM Seminar Editors’ Select Series: Patterns of mortality in endangered Cook Inlet beluga whales

You are invited to the next edition of the SMM Seminar Editor’s Select Series. This series highlights the latest and most exciting marine mammal science published in the Marine Mammal Science Journal. The SMM created this series to give scientists and citizens around the world a chance to engage with marine mammal scientists, learn and ask questions. All are welcome.

Join us on Tuesday, 16 November 2021 at 2 PM AKST (3 PM PDT / 10 PM UTC)
for the next SMM Seminar Editors’ Select Series:
Patterns of mortality in endangered Cook Inlet beluga whales:
Insights from pairing a long-term photo-identification study with stranding records with Dr. Tamara McGuire of the Cook Inlet Beluga Whale Photo-ID Project.

Free to attend. Registration required. Presented online on Zoom.
Register here: https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_O7140C1TR7-CREClYeWLkw
Space on Zoom is limited to the first 500 attendees. The talk will also be streamed live on the SMM Facebook page.

About this talk:
To understand why endangered beluga whales in Cook Inlet Alaska are not recovering despite over a decade of legal protections, we need to understand recent demographic patterns and sources of the population’s mortality. We used photographic records of individually identified live belugas collected over 13 years and combined them with stranding data from belugas found dead during the same period to assess mortality patterns.  Dead females and males were evenly represented. For both males and females, mortality rates were greatest in reproductive-aged adults, and there were no very-old adults. Live stranding was the most commonly assigned cause of death, but did not account for the majority of deaths. The cause(s) of most deaths and live strandings were undetermined. Our analysis advances the current understanding of mortality patterns in CIBWs, but linking a greater proportion of carcasses to photo-ID individuals and collecting more data from stranded carcasses would further improve our understanding of the causes of mortality in this population; we conclude with recommendations for achieving this.

About the presenter and co-authors:
Dr. Tamara McGuire is the Principal Investigator for the Cook Inlet Beluga Whale Photo-ID project. She has studied marine mammals for over 25 years and is interested in habitat use, life history, behavior, and the effects of human activities on endangered and threatened aquatic species and their habitats. She has studied marine mammals in Alaska since 2006, and before that on the Oregon Coast and in the Orinoco and Amazon River Basins. She has worked with Federal, Tribal, and State agencies, NGOs, and private industry. She led the Cook Inlet Beluga Recovery Team and is an advocate for collaborative research. Kim Shelden is a marine biologist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration based at the Marine Mammal Laboratory of the Alaska Fisheries Science Center. She has worked for the Cetacean Assessment and Ecology Program since 1990 studying species present seasonally and year-round in Alaska waters including Cook Inlet belugas, North Pacific right whales, bowhead whales, gray whales, Pacific white-sided dolphins, and harbor porpoise. Dr. Gina Himes Boor is Assistant Research Professor in the Ecology Department Montana State University. Her research focuses on developing models to better understand the demographic and spatial-use patterns that contribute to the decline and recovery of imperiled species. Amber Stephens has studied marine mammals since 1998, including beluga whales, Steller sea lions, harbor seals, narwhals, and Pacific walrus.  A CI on the CIBW Photo-ID Project, her responsibilities include cataloging, field work, public outreach, and website management. John McClung joined the Cook Inlet Beluga Whale Photo-ID Project in 2017 and has over ten years of photo-identification experience of cetaceans including humpback whales, melon-headed whales, and belugas. Prior to receiving his MS in wildlife science from Oregon State University, he served 26 years in the U.S. Air Force. Christopher Garner is a biologist for the Department of Defense at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.  He has studied beluga and harbor porpoise in upper Cook Inlet since 2001 with emphasis on beluga ecology within rivers emptying into a hypertidal region as well as the effects of military activity on marine mammals and their prey. Dr. Carrie Goertz is the Director of Animal Health at the Alaska SeaLife Center where she oversees veterinary care for animals in the aquarium and out in the field, working with sea birds, fish, invertebrates, sea otters, seals, sea lions, beluga, and other marine animals. Dr. Kathy Burek Huntington has been the pathologist for the Alaska stranding program and in particular for the Cook Inlet belugas for 23 years and works collaboratively with the rest of the stranding network throughout Alaska. She is particularly interested in emerging pathogens, harmful algal bloom toxins, pathology, the intersections of these topics with climate change, and mentoring young scientists in pathology. Dr. Greg O’Corry-Crowe is a behavioral ecologist and geneticist focused on marine mammals and conservation. He runs the Wildlife Evolution and Behavior (WEB) program at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute and is a research professor at Florida Atlantic University. Bruce Wright is an ecologist with the Knik Tribe whose work focuses on Alaska marine and terrestrial top predators.

Open access to all Marine Mammal Science papers is available to current SMM members. Open access to this article will be made temporarily available to the public during the week prior to and of the presentation.

Missed a presentation or want to share this series with a friend? All previous Editors’ Select  presentations are recorded and archived on our YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLUc78IynQlubS2DVS1VZoplf_t42-yZOO

Editor’s Select Series Seminar: A comparison of Northeast Atlantic killer whale call repertoires

The SMM Seminar Editor’s Select Series highlights the latest and most exciting marine mammal science published in the Marine Mammal Science Journal. The SMM created this series to give scientists and citizens around the world a chance to engage with marine mammal scientists, learn and ask questions. All are welcome.

21 October 2021 at 4 PM UTC (9 AM PDT)
SMM Editors’ Select Series Seminar: A comparison of Northeast Atlantic killer whale call repertoires
with Anna Selbmann of University of Iceland

The SMM Seminar Editors’ Select Series highlights the latest and most exciting marine mammal science published in the Marine Mammal Science Journal. This is your chance to engage with marine mammal scientists, learn and ask questions from anywhere in the world. All are welcome.

About this talk:
Killer whale call repertoires can provide information on social connections among groups and populations. Killer whales in Iceland and Norway exhibit similar ecology and behavior, are genetically related, and are presumed to have been in contact before the collapse of the Atlanto-Scandian herring stock in the 1960s. However, photo-identification suggests no recent movements between Iceland and Norway but regular movement between Iceland and Shetland. We used acoustic recordings collected in Iceland, Norway, and Shetland to undertake a comprehensive comparison of the call repertoires of Northeast Atlantic killer whales. Time and frequency parameters of calls from Iceland and Norway were relatively similar but no call type matches were confirmed between Iceland and Norway or Shetland and Norway. Three call types matched between Iceland and Shetland. Therefore, these findings agree with what is currently known of the movement patterns of these whales but argue against past contact between Icelandic and Norwegian killer whales, since call repertoires are thought to be maintained over time.

About the presenter:
Anna Selbmann is currently a PhD student at the University of Iceland investigating killer whale acoustic behaviour and interspecific interactions between pilot whales and killer whales. She gained a BSc in Marine Vertebrate Zoology from Bangor University (UK) in 2015 and completed her Masters of Biology at the University of Iceland in 2019 investigating the call repertoire of Icelandic killer whales and comparing it to the repertoire of Norwegian killer whales.

Missed a presentation or want to share this series with a friend? All previous Editors’ Select  presentations are recorded and archived on our YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLUc78IynQlubS2DVS1VZoplf_t42-yZOO

Editor’s Select Series Seminar: Echolocation behaviour of fish-eating killer whales during pursuit and capture of salmon prey

The SMM Seminar Editor’s Select Series highlights the latest and most exciting marine mammal science published in the Marine Mammal Science Journal. The SMM created this series to give scientists and citizens around the world a chance to engage with marine mammal scientists, learn and ask questions. All are welcome.


Guest, Brianna Wright of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) presents: “Echolocation behaviour of fish-eating killer whales during pursuit and capture of salmon prey

September 23, 2021 4-5:30 pm PDT (11 PM-1230 AM UTC)
Online. Free to attend. 

About this talk:
We used high-resolution acoustic and movement tags (Dtags) to analyse the echolocation behaviour of fish-eating killer whales during pursuit and capture of salmon prey. Whales produced more echolocation trains and had faster clicking rates prior to catching salmon versus afterward, confirming the importance of echolocation in prey detection and tracking. Extremely rapid click sequences (buzzes) occurred in the lead-up to salmon captures at depths typically exceeding 50 m, and were likely used for close-range prey targeting. Distinctive crunching sounds related to prey handling occurred at shallow depths following captures, matching observations that whales surfaced with salmon prior to eating them and often shared their prey.

About the presenter:
Brianna Wright received her B.Sc. majoring in Biology and Anthropology from the University of Victoria in 2007. During her undergrad she also participated in the UVic Biology Co-op program and studied at the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre. From 2008-2010, she worked as a Technician with the Cetacean Research Program of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) before returning to school and completing her M.Sc. in 2014 at UBC’s Marine Mammal Research Unit under the supervision of Dr. John Ford and Dr. Andrew Trites. Brianna’s thesis investigated the fine-scale foraging behaviour of resident killer whales using suction-cup attached tags that recorded dive depth, body position and acoustic behaviour of individual whales. She returned to work with DFO’s Cetacean Research Program at the Pacific Biological Station in Nanaimo in July 2014, and is currently a marine mammal Biologist with this group. She has participated in killer whale and sea otter census surveys and offshore ship and aerial distance-sampling surveys for cetaceans. Analytically, her recent work has focused on spatial density modelling of survey data for cetacean species to estimate their distribution and abundance. She also conducts assessments of killer whale diet composition and prey sharing behaviour through field collection and analysis of prey remains.

Open access to all Marine Mammal Science papers is available to current SMM members. Open access to this article was made temporarily available to the public between September 20-September 30, 2021.

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