Category Archives: Editors’ Select Series

Editors’ Select Series Presentation: Population genomic structure of killer whales (Orcinus orca) in Australian and New Zealand waters

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, Isabella Reeves of Flinders University presents: “Population genomic structure of killer whales (Orcinus orca) in Australian and New Zealand waters

August 19, 2021 6-7:30 pm PDT (1-2:30 AM GMT August 20; 10:30 am-12 pm ASCT (August 20)
Online. Free to attend. 

About this talk:
In Australasia, seasonal killer whale aggregations have been recently discovered and they have known to also reside year-round in New Zealand waters. However, there is currently limited information available about the species in these regions and therefore effective conservation management strategies are lacking. Here, we present the first study on the number of killer whale populations and their connectivity in Australasia using DNA. We discovered a minimum of three populations of killer whales, one in tropical and a second in temperate Western Australia, and a third in New Zealand. They each have distinct female-driven societies and appear to have little movement between them with low number of breeders. These findings can assist conservation management of these animals in the region.

About the presenter:
Isabella is currently a PhD Candidate in the Cetacean Ecology, Behaviour and Evolution Lab and the Molecular Ecology Lab at Flinders University in South Australia. She has over five years of experience researching cetaceans, leading her to obtain a skillset predominantly in photo-identification methods and using genetics to understand population-level questions for conservation. Her research now focusses on using genetics to broadly understand cetacean evolution, with a focus on Australasian 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

Editors’ Select Panel on July 15, 2021: Reintroductions have saved the sea otter throughout North America: why should we care?

We are pleased to announce the next edition of the 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.

Guest, Shawn Larson of Seattle Aquarium presents: “Reintroductions have saved the sea otter throughout North America: why should we care?”

July 15, 2021 5 PM PDT (12 AM UTC)

About this talk:

Sea otters were once abundant throughout the nearshore of the North Pacific. The maritime fur trade left few remnant populations with low genetic diversity. Subsequent reintroductions of otters resulted in several new populations in North America. We sampled sea otters genetically from Bering Island to California to evaluate genetic diversity, population structure and geneflow. Genetic diversity was the highest in reintroduced populations, population structure was greatest between California and all other groups, and geneflow was evident between all populations except for those at the ends of the range. The reintroductions are arguably the greatest success in sea otter conservation.

Dr. Larson shared details about this work during this 1-hour presentation followed by a Q&A session. All are welcome to participate.

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 between July 8–July 31, 2021.

About the presenter:
Shawn Larson, PhD, She/Her pronouns, is Curator of Conservation Research at the Seattle Aquarium. Shawn has been working at the Seattle Aquarium since 1995. Her main duties are leading the rehabilitation program, the water quality/research lab and the conservation research program which includes 10 long term ecological monitoring projects on sea otters, Salish Sea whales, sharks, temperate water rocky reefs, Hawaiian coral reefs, and microplastics. She has been studying marine mammal physiology, genetics, population biology and ecology for 27 years and has published several scientific papers and chapters on marine mammals and was lead editor on a 2015 book published by Elsevier titled Sea Otter Conservation.

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

Editors’ Select Seminar Series: Drones and marine mammals in Svalbard, Norway

We are pleased to announce the May 2021 edition of the 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.

Guest, Albert Palomino-González of Universidad Austral de Chile presents: “Drones and marine mammals in Svalbard, Norway, 9 AM Pacific Time (4 PM UTC)

May 20, 2021 4 PM UTC (9 AM PDT)

About this talk:
The use of drones has risen exponentially in recent years, following an increasingly widespread use among hobbyists and researchers, although their effects on wildlife behaviour are not always well known. Our project studied the impact of drones on different species of arctic marine mammals, including walruses, polar bears, belugas and harbour seals in Svalbard, in order to provide management advice to the local authorities. Over the course of several field expeditions, the team used a range of drone models, and tested different approach strategies and flight altitudes. We also measured the sound emitted by the drones to help us evaluate the impact of different type of flights on wildlife. Overall, harbour seals reacted to the drones from a distance of 80 m, while walruses reacted when flying closer than 50 m. Flying manually, especially overflying or descending over the animals, led to noisier flights and caused more disturbance than when flying in automatic mode. Polar bears noticed the drones at distances over 300 m, especially with calm weather conditions, and belugas reacted strongly when approaching the pods from the front, or at altitudes below 15 m. We recommend following trajectories that can be predicted by the animals, such as straight-line or circular paths, and using flight planner applications in order to minimise abrupt noises. Finally, events that took place and conditions prior to a flight, such as the encounter of a predator, may directly influence how wildlife reacts to drones, so we advise drone pilots to follow a precautionary principle.
Open access all Marine Mammal Science papers is available to current SMM members. Open access to this article will be made temporarily available to the public between 29-May 7 2021.

About the presenter:
Albert Palomino is currently a PhD student at Universidad Austral de Chile. He graduated at UiT The Arctic University of Norway from a master’s programme in marine ecology, where he developed the project Drones and Marine Mammals in Svalbard together with researchers from the Norwegian Polar Institute.

His main research interests are the effects of environmental change on marine predator population dynamics and the impact potential of anthropogenic activities on wildlife behaviour.

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 Editor’s Select Series: “What Does It Take to Power a Walrus?” with Dr. David Rosen

We are pleased to announce this 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.

Dr. David Rosen of the University of British Columbia presents: “What Does It Take To Power A Walrus? Predicting the Effect of Climate Change on Food Requirements of an Iconic Arctic Species.”
April 15, 2021 5 PM Pacific Time (1 AM UTC)

About this talk:
Climate change is rapidly altering the Arctic ecosystem, including dramatic decreases in the extent of summer ice. Scientists are trying to predict the effect of these environmental transformations on wildlife. This includes the Walrus, an iconic, ice-dependent species that relies on stable ice surfaces to rest and act as a base for foraging on nearby food beds. Mathematical bioenergetic models are a typical tool that scientists use to predict the food energy requirements of animals under different conditions, and several such models have been constructed for walruses. However, these models are only as accurate as the data that goes into them. This talk will describe several studies that measured the costs of resting in water and swimming in two juvenile walruses on loan to the Vancouver Aquarium. I will describe what it was like to work with these boisterous, large animals on a daily basis, the scientific challenges and opportunities they provided, and what the resulting data tells scientists about the costs of global warming on these animals. Open access to this and all Marine Mammal Science papers are available to current SMM members and will be made temporarily available to public between 15-22 April 2021.

About the presenter:
Dr. David Rosen is Assistant Professor at the University of British Columbia. His current research primarily investigates the bioenergetics (energy requirements and expenditures) of marine mammals. Its focus is to understand the root causes of population changes by investigating the interactions between the physiology of individual animals and biotic and abiotic environmental changes. The work directly contributes to the conservation and management of marine resources, particularly those in Arctic region, where environmental change – including climate change and fisheries impacts – is most evident.

SMM Seminar Editor’s Select Series: The Impact of Warm Water Anomalies on the Guadalupe Fur Seal Foraging Habitats

SMM Seminar Editor’s Select Series: The Impact of Warm Water Anomalies on the Guadalupe Fur Seal Foraging Habitats
with María José Amador-Capitanachi
11 March 2021 at 5 PM Pacific Time (1 AM UTC)

About this talk:
The Guadalupe fur seal (GFS), currently is recovering from near extinction. As this species continues to recover, it is important to understand how its foraging success may be affected by warm water and other oceanographic anomalies in the northeastern Pacific. We assessed the foraging ecology of the GFS over a period that was characterized by normal (2013) ocean temperatures followed by warm conditions (2014–2016). We used scat analysis to identify differences in GFS prey between 2013 and anomalous years. The most important prey species among these years was the jumbo squid, followed by the neon flying squid during warmer years. An additional analysis based on stable isotope suggested a broader northerly or offshore foraging areas during these anomalous conditions. Our findings are an important step toward better understanding the impacts of climate change on the recovery of the GFS.
About the Presenter:
Maria Jose Amador-Capitanachi is an MSc student at the Instituto Politécnico Nacional

SMM Seminar Editor’s Select Series: Re-emergence of Guadalupe fur seals in Oregon and Washington

The SMM Seminar Editor’s 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.

Re-emergence of Guadalupe fur seals in Oregon and Washington with Dr. Erin D’Agnese
11 February 2021 at 4 PM Pacific Time (12 AM UTC)

About this talk:
This talk discusses the health risks facing Guadalupe fur seals (Arctocephalus phillippii townsendi; GFS) as they re-emerge in their historic, pre-sealing, migration range. The continued presence of the species in the Pacific Northwest of the United States, was largely represented by juvenile animals and was seasonally driven. Their stranding numbers were related to the seasonal upwelling present in the area during summer months. Detailed necropsies, histopathology (n=93) and epidemiological analysis found three main causes of death (COD): emaciation (44%), trauma (29%), and infectious disease (19%) and the factors associated with overall strandings and emaciation. Trauma included many cases found associated with fisheries interactions and clustered near the mouth of the Columbia River where high levels of commercial fishing occurs. Re-emergence of GFSs is likely due to conservation efforts, which have been critical for species recovery in the region, continued monitoring is needed as this vulnerable species continues to rebound and faces pressures of increased fisheries in the region.

About the Presenter:
Dr. Erin D’Agnese is a Postdoctoral scholar at University of Washington, with a specialty in One Health research, specifically using molecular methods for wildlife health and conservation.

SMM Seminar Editor’s Select Series: Sex Ratios in Blue Whales

Description:
The SMM Seminar Editor’s 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. Attendance is free, registration is required and all are welcome.

Sex Ratios in Blue Whales from Conception Onward with Dr. Trevor Branch
January 14, 2021 05:00 PM in Pacific Time (1:00 AM UTC)

About this talk:
Deviations from equal sex ratios in mammals can reveal insights into sex‐specific growth, survival, movements, and behavior. In the paper highlighted during this talk, Dr. Trevor Branch assessed blue whale sex ratios from conception to birth using whaling records. In this 1-hour talk and Q&A session, Branch discussed his research and shared assessments on the implications of blue whale sex ratios and deviations.

About the presenter:
Trevor Branch, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor at the University of Washington School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences. Branch and his lab members focus on solving biological problems through data synthesis and mathematical models and work on a variety of fishery, marine mammal and marine research projects.

SMM Seminars: Editors’ Select Series – Assessing the lethality of ship strikes on whales using simple biophysical models

A North Atlantic right whale rests at the ocean’s surface. With an estimated 100 reproductive females remaining, the species could be unable to reproduce naturally in 20 years.

About this presentation:

An interesting pattern of dead whales known to be killed by blunt trauma is that not all of them have broken bones. So if lethal collisions do not need to generate enough force per unit area (i.e. stress) to break bones, we wondered what a lethal amount of stress might be. We used simple models that incorporated whale biology, Newtonian physics and real-life observations to identify this amount of stress and it turns out many of the vessels on the ocean, large and small, can lethally injure large whales. Find out more about this study and get your questions answered during this 1-hour presentation followed by a Q&A session.

Thursday, 10 December, 2020
7:00 PM – 8:15 PM Atlantic Time (11 PM UTC)

Dr. Sean Brillant presented this work on behalf of his co-authors.

About the presenter:

Sean Brillant is the Senior Conservation Biologist for Marine Programs at the Canadian Wildlife Federation. He is a marine biologist with a PhD in experimental ecology and a masters in pollution ecology. Since 1993, Sean has collaborated with wide ranges of resource users, landowners, governments, NGOs, and scientists to solve a variety of environmental issues. In 2007, Sean began working to reduce harmful interactions between human activities and marine wildlife, focusing particularly on entanglements of and ship strikes on whales. Sean is an active member of many local, national, and international initiatives working on marine conservation and education and is based at Dalhousie University in Halifax Nova Scotia, where he is an Adjunct with the Department of Oceanography. Originally from Saint John NB, Sean spent his school years exploring, studying, fishing, and freezing in the Bay of Fundy.

Editors’ Select Series Presentation: “Tiger Stripes” on Estuarine Dolphins? by Elizabeth Titcomb

  

We are pleased to present the inaugural edition of the 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.

Guest, Elizabeth Titcomb of Dolphin Census, presents: “Tiger stripes” on estuarine dolphins?

Thursday, 12 November 12, 2020
7:00 PM – 8:15 PM Eastern Standard Time

About this presentation:
In a long-term photo-identification study on dolphins in the Indian River Lagoon found unusual skin markings that had never-before been reported in cetaceans. The markings resembled parallel linear scars and were predominantly seen in females that had been pregnant, leading us to wonder if they were related to stretch marks seen in other mammals. At the moment, the exact cause for the skin markings is unknown.

Presented by Elizabeth Titcomb of Dolphin Census, find out more about this new mystery and the research that led up to it.